Prithvi Narayan Shah
|Prithvi Narayan Shah
|King of Nepal|
|Predecessor||Nara Bhupal Shah|
|Successor||Pratap Singh Shah|
|Father||Nara Bhupal Shah|
|Born||7 January 1723|
Prithvi Narayan Shah, King of Nepal (1723–1775; Nepali: पृथ्वीनारायण शाह) was the first king of the unified Nepal. He is credited for starting the campaign for a unified Nepal, which had been divided and weakened under Malla confederacy. He was the ninth generation descendant of Dravya Shah (1559–1570), the founder of the ruling house of Gorkha. Prithvi Narayan Shah succeeded his father King Nara Bhupal Shah to the throne of the Gorkha Kingdom in 1743.
His mother was Kaushalyawati Shah but he was cared for by Chandra Pravawati, the first wife of his father. He started taking a general interest in the affairs of the state because his father spent most of his time in the prayer room. He had a great dream to win over Nuwakot, partially because his father had lost a war with Nuwakot. Walking around Gorkha and talking to people about the general concerns of the palace was his passion and this helped him to understand the needs of the citizens of Gorkha.
Unification of Nepal
King Prithvi Narayan Shah's successful entry began with the union of Nuwakot, which lies between Kathmandu and Gorkha District, in 1744. After Nuwakot, he took possession of strategic points in the hills surrounding the Kathmandu Valley. The valley's communications with the outside world were thus cut off. The occupation of the Kuti Pass in about 1756 stopped the valley's trade with Tibet. To stop the trade between the Newar people living in the Kathmandu Valley and the Muslim Mogul empire in India.
After two humiliating defeats, King Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered Kirtipur on his third attempt. Finally, King Prithvi Narayan Shah entered the valley, after conquering Kirtipur. Consequently Jaya Prakash Malla of Kathmandu managed to escape with his wife and took asylum in Patan, Lalitpur. When the conquest was extended to Patan a few weeks later both Jaya Prakash Malla and the King of Patan, Tej Narsingh Malla, took refuge in Bhaktapur, which was also conquered after some time. Thus King Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered the Kathmandu Valley and made Kathmandu the capital of the Nepal in 1769. Once the foundation of the Kingdom of Nepal was thus laid, King Prithvi Narayan Shah turned his attention towards the east. The Sen Kingdom of Choudandi was conquered by 1773 and Vijaypur, another Sen Kingdom was annexed shortly after.
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Death and Legacy
King Prithvi Nārāyaṇ Shah managed to unify small principalities into one nation, Nepal. The unification was crucial as the British colonial forces had already started colonizing small kingdoms that formed present India. King Prithivi Narayan Shah was convinced that the British forces would slowly come for Nepal and as the present day Nepal was divided into more than 50 small principalities it would be very easy for the British to colonize Nepal. His unification campaign was very ambitious, especially as he was the King of a small kingdom surrounded by strong and powerful neighbors. But King Prithivi Narayan Shah was able to unify Nepal and later the Nepali forces were able to fight against British colonial forces and prevent colonization of Nepal. He died before he could effectively organize the administration of his new country. He died in January, 1775, at the age of 52. Upon his death, Prithvi Nārāyaṇ was succeeded by his son, Pratap Singh Shah and his unification camaign was continued by his younger son Bahadur Shah.
In addition to the unification of Nepal, King Prithivi Narayan Shah laid out the guiding principles of governance, nationalism, and foreign policy. In his Divya Upadesh he laid out nine principles that formed the core of Nepali political and national life.
Notes and references
- Acharya, Baburam. Shree Panch BadaMaharajdhiraj Prithivi Narayan Shah ko Sanxipta Jiwani, Part I (in Nepali). p. 42.
- Manandhar, Triratna. Nepal ko Ekikaran (in Nepali). Kathmandu: Sajha Prakashan. p. 215.
- Gyawali, Suryavikram. PrithiviNarayan Shah (in Nepali). Darjeeling: Nepal Sahitya Sammelan.
Nara Bhupal Shah
|King of Gorkha
Himself as King of Nepal
Himself as King of Ghorka
|King of Nepal
Pratap Singh Shah