In South Asia, between China and India, lies Nepal. Here, you’ll find lowlands, as well as the highest mountain peaks in the world. Nepal has endured years of war and many people live in poverty. The country is home to exotic animals, such as tigers, snow leopards, rhinos and fresh water dolphins. These animals are all endangered, though. As the population grows, people cut down forests for homes and farmlands, displacing the animals. When the trees are cut down, the soil blows away so crops don’t grow as well.
Nepal is the birthplace of Buddhism, although many people in Nepal are Hindu. Like India, the people of Nepal have used a caste system – or social ranking system – for many years. Although illegal, the caste system endures, especially in poor, rural areas. The social rankings include the Hindu caste, the Bhotes, the hill tribes, including Sherpas, and the Newar.
- 30.5 million people live in Nepal.
- The country has 54,363 square miles of land.
- Nepali is the official language.
- Hinduism and Buddhism are the major religions.
- The life expectancy is 63 years.
- Poverty: lacking basic resources, including money, food, health care, housing and
- educational opportunities
- Endangered: in danger of becoming extinct
- Displace: leave homeless or without a place
- Birthplace: place of birth
Visit National Geographic to learn more about Nepal.
Question: What do the social castes mean?
Answer: Sherpas live in the mountains and serve as guides for tourists trying to climb Mt. Everest and other high mountain peaks. They are usually Buddhist and love the land. The Bhotes, originally from Tibet, live in the northern mountains, while the Newar are the native people dwelling in the Kathmandu Valley.