Historical Background of South & South East Asian Countries – 2

Nepal was known to the Ancient Indians. It was mentioned in classical Indian literature. In the 3rd century BC the great Indian Emperor introduced Buddhism into Nepal. Nepal was also in contact with China. About 200 AD a people called the Lichavis took power in Nepal. Under them Nepal flourished and great temples both Hindu and Buddhist were built. However the Lichavis eventually declined and a new era began in 879 AD. They were replaced by a series of kings called the Thakuris.
From the 12th century a series of kings whose surname ended in Malla reigned in Nepal. In the 14th century one of them, Jayasthiti Malla introduced the caste system into Nepal. The power of the Malla dynasty reached a peak in the 15h century under Yaksha Mall. However after his death in 1482 his kingdom was divided between his 3 sons. Nepal was reunited in the 18th century by a man named Prithvi Narayan Shah. He was suspicious of the growing power of the British in India and decided to isolate his nation.
However in the 19th century the Nepalese were forced to come to terms with the British. In 1814-1816 they fought a war after which the present boundaries of Nepal were drawn. Then in 1860 Nepalese soldiers began serving in the British army.
Meanwhile in 1846 a man named Rang Bahadur seized power and declared himself Rana or prime minister. Afterwards the kings of Nepal were only figureheads and the Rana held the real power. Finally in 1923 Britain and Nepal signed a new treaty.
By 1,500 BC people lived in Bhutan by herding animals. Then in the 7th century AD Buddhism was introduced into Bhutan. In the 8th century an Indian named Padmasambhava did much to encourage the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. Ever since Buddhism has been an integral part of the culture of Bhutan.
However for centuries the people of Bhutan were disunited. Then in 1616 Ngawang Namgyal became spiritual leader of Bhutan. He took the title Zhabdrung Rinpoche. Under him Bhutan became a united country.
Ngawang Namgyal also divided the government of Bhutan into spiritual and secular. The Zhabdrung was the spiritual leader while a person called the Desi ran the secular administration.Meanwhile in 1627 two Portuguese Jesuit priests became the first Europeans to visit Bhutan.
The 18th century was an era of political instability in Bhutan when many desi were assassinated. Meanwhile the British were becoming increasingly powerful in India. Bhutan first made a treaty with the British in 1774. However Britain and Bhutan quarreled over the Duars (the lowest hills of Bhutan). War finally broke out in 1864. After the war the British took the Duars.
Anthropologists agree that Bangladesh has historically been a land of many races. Long before the arrival of the Aryans in the 5th and 6th centuries BC, the Bengalees were already racially mixed; on that count, the Aryans described them as “sankaras” or “hybrid people”.
The ancestors of present day inhabitants of Bangladesh have therefore emerged from the fusion of such diverse races as the Austric, Dravidian, Mongoloid, Homo-Alpine, Mediterranean Brown, Aryans and so on. The earliest historical reference to organised political life in the Bangladesh region is traced to the writings on Alexander’s invasion of India in 326 BC. The Greek and Latin historians suggested that Alexander the Great withdrew from India, anticipating a valiant counter attack from the Gangaridai and Prasioi empires located in the Bengal region. Historians maintain that these empires were succeeded by the Maura (4th to 2nd century BC), the Guptas (4th to 5th century AD), the empire of Sasanka (7th century AD), the Pala empire (750 to 1162 AD), and the Senas (1162 to 1123AD).
From the 13th century AD, the Buddist and Hindu rulers were swamped by the flood of Muslim conquerors, and the tide of Islam continued up to the 18th century. Sometimes there were independent rulers in Bengal, like those of the Ilyas Shahi and Husain Shahi dynasties, while at other times, they ruled on behalf of the imperial seat of Delhi. From the 15th century, the Europeans – Portuguese, Dutch, French and British traders – exerted an economic influence over the region. British political rule over the region began in 1757 when the last Muslim ruler of Bengal Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah was defeated at the Battle of Plassey.