Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked country in South Asia and, as of 2010, the world’s most recent nation to become a republic. It is bordered to the north by the People’s Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. With an area of 147,181 square kilometres (56,827 sq mi) and a population of approximately 30 million, Nepal is the world’s 93rd largest country by land mass and the 41st most populous country. Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and the country’s largest metropolitan city.
Nepal is a country of highly diverse and rich geography, culture, and religions. The mountainous north has eight of the world’s ten highest mountains, including the highest, Sagarmatha, known in English as Mount Everest. The fertile and humid south is heavily urbanized. It contains over 240 peaks more than 20,000 ft (6,096 metres) above sea level.
By some measures, Hinduism is practised by a larger majority of people in Nepal than in any other nation. Buddhism, though a minority faith in the country, is linked historically with Nepal as the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Gautam Buddha gave birth to the Buddhist tradition. About half of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
A monarchy throughout most of its history, Nepal was ruled by the Shah dynasty of kings from 1768, when Prithvi Narayan Shah unified its many small kingdoms. In 2006, however, decade-long People’s Revolution by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) along with several weeks of mass protests by all major political parties of Nepal culminated in a peace accord, and the ensuing elections for the constituent assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of the abdication of the last Nepali monarch Gyanendra Shah and the establishment of a federal democratic republic in May 28, 2008. The first President of Nepal, Ram Baran Yadav, was sworn in on 23 July 2008.