The territory of Nepal has been inhabited through large-scale migrations from neighboring regions over the centuries. The inhabitants of the country do not differ in a homogeneous ethnic composition, since there was a mixture of Mongoloid peoples from Tibet and Aryans from northern India. Some d
ifferences in population groups depend on the source of migration and the degree of communication and mixing of different groups of migrants. The Mongolian substrate predominates in the zone of the Greater Himalayas, and the Indo-Aryan in the south of Nepal, while the intermediate territory was the arena of close interaction of different ethnic groups. The country also has a small community of relatively stunted dark-skinned people who may be descendants of the ancient inhabitants of Nepal who had Dravidian roots.
Racial characteristics can be traced in the current social structure of the population: the presence of Indo-Aryan ancestors in the family for centuries in Nepal was considered prestigious, and Hinduism gradually became the dominant religion.
More than 60 ethnic groups live in Nepal. Half of the country’s population is Nepali, which have long inhabited the Kathmandu Valley. Nepali traders are scattered in other areas as well. This ethnos made a great contribution to the development of art (artwork made of metal, painting, sculpture, architecture) and literature in the 13-19th centuries. Nepali is divided into Hindus and Buddhists and is distinguished by a complex social organization. Other relatively numerous nationalities of the country are Gurungs (1.5%) and Magars (2.2%) in the west, Newari (3.4%), Limbu (2.4%), Rai (2%), Sunwari and Tamangi ( 4.9%) in the east. A number of ethnic groups in the north and north-east of the country are united under the name Bhotia; the most famous of these are the Sherpas, who often serve as porters in mountaineering parties and migrated relatively recently from Tibet. The Terai are inhabited by tharu (4.8%), who are classified as the aborigines of these places of Dravidian origin. The southern part of Nepal is inhabited by Indo-Aryan peoples: Maithili (11.5%) and Bhojpuri (7%) (Biharians), as well as Hindustans and Bengalis.
Nepal is the birthplace of the Gurkhas. This is a layer of the country’s Hindu population, for whom military service is a traditional occupation. Fearless and fierce fighters, the Gurkhas are considered good soldiers in the world. Since 1815, when the Gurkhas were first employed by the British East India Company to carry out military duties in Bengal, the exodus of young men has become an important source of replenishment for the Nepalese treasury thanks to remittances and pensions from the British government.