General information about Nepal
The official name is the Kingdom of Nepal (Sri Nepala Sarkar). It is located in the central part of the Himalayas, in the north of the Hindustan peninsula. The area is 147,181 km2, the population is 24.2 million people. (2003, estimate). The official language is Nepali. The capital is Kathmandu (672 thousand people, 2001). Public holiday – Birthday of King Gyanendra on July 7 (since 2001). The monetary unit is the Nepalese rupee.
Member of the UN (since 1955), ADB (since 1966), IAEA (since 1970), SAARC (since 1985), WTO (observer), etc.
Geography of Nepal
Located between 80°04′ and 88°12′ east longitude and 26°22′ and 30°27′ north latitude, between China (from the north) and India (from the south, west and east).
The territory is divided into three parts: the central part of the Himalayas (Greater Himalayas); mountainous areas with terraced slopes leading to fertile valleys, where the bulk of the population of Nepal lives; Terai (25-30 km strip of plains along the border with India). Nepal has 8 of the 10 highest mountains in the world, including Chomolungma (8850 m). The lowest point in Nepal is 70 m.
Main minerals: quartz, small deposits of brown coal, copper, cobalt, iron ore. The soils are diverse: black silty soils prevail in the Terai, red soils and brown forest soils in the forest belt, brown pseudopodzolic soils in the mountainous part, and mountain-meadow soils in the Alpine belt.
Five climatic zones: from the subtropical zone in the south to the climate of cold deserts in the north. According to Bridgat, the subequatorial monsoon climate prevails in Nepal. In the eastern part of the country falls 2500 mm of precipitation per year (maximum – during the summer monsoon), in the western – approx. 1000 mm, in hollows – less than 1500 mm. The rivers (Ganges basin) are turbulent, with great potential for generating hydropower. The most significant of the 6 thousand rivers (with a total length of 45 thousand km) are Karnali, Gandak, Kosi, Bagmati. There are no particularly large lakes, the largest are Rara and Phewa Tal.
The flora and fauna are very rich and varied. There are xerophytic, monsoon, evergreen, deciduous broad-leaved and coniferous forests, subalpine and alpine meadows, and cold desert vegetation. Elephants, tigers, leopards, rhinos, wild boars, antelopes live in the forests of the lower slopes of the mountains and in the Terai; many monkeys, birds and poisonous snakes. Representatives of the Tibetan fauna predominate in the mountains. UNESCO has included two national parks in the world heritage list: Chitwan (between the Sivalik and Mahabharat mountain ranges) and Sagarmatha (around Mount Chomolungma).
Population of Nepal
Natural population growth fluctuates: 2.66% in the 1970s, 2.08% in the 1980s, 2.25% in the 1990s and early. 21st century The birth rate is quite high (33.5‰). The highest birth rate is in the Terai, the lowest in the highlands. Mortality 9.62‰, infant mortality 64.2 pers. per 1000 newborns. Average life expectancy is 59.5 years (women 59.8; in cities 71.1 years).
Women make up 50.2% of the population. The share of young people (up to 15 years of age) is slightly less than 40%. Urban population – 14.2% (2001). Among the population over 15 years of age, 50.7% are literate (in cities – 69%; among men – 65.8%, among women – 35.4%) (2000).
Lives approx. 60 ethnic groups speaking 65 languages and dialects belonging to the Indo-European and Sino-Tibetan language families. The main people are the Nepalese, who speak the Nepalese language (the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European family) and live mainly in the central and southwestern parts of the country (more than 11 million). Terai is inhabited by Biharis (of which Maithili – 2.8 million people, Bhojpuri – more than 1.7 million), as well as Tkharas (more than 1.3 million), Awadhis (more than 560 thousand), who speak languages Indo-European family. Tamangs live in the east (more than 1.1 million), in the center (primarily in the Kathmandu valley) – Newars (825 thousand), in the west – Magars (770 thousand) and Gurungs (340 thousand), speaking languages of various groups of the Tibeto-Chinese family of languages. Sherpas (130 thousand), close to the Tibetans, live on the borders with Tibet. Compared to 1981 (58,
80.6% are Hindus, 10.7% are Buddhists (mostly Lamaists), and 4.2% are Muslims. Although Nepal is proclaimed a Hindu state, the proportion of Hindus in the 1990s decreased by more than 6%.