Why has no country conquered or colonized Nepal? Nepal lost the Anglo-Nepalese War with East India Company but was not colonized.

  • 1
    Dear down voter please specify the reason for down vote so I can know the flaw in my question.
    – Explorer
    Jul 31, 2017 at 11:35
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    Possibly because its mountainous location makes it hard to get to, and not worth the bother unless you're really into mountain climbing.
    – jamesqf
    Jul 31, 2017 at 16:50
  • @jamesqf agree with you, but East India Company defeated them in war then why not they colonized them like they did to India.
    – Explorer
    Jul 31, 2017 at 17:03
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    Perhaps (as T.E.D. says) there was nothing there that the British particularly wanted. Also, British rule in India was generally a fairly gradual matter. They usually didn't just march in and take over, they would ally with one country against another, take a hand in its administration, and a generation or two later find that they were running the place. (See e.g. Napier's famous one-word apology for having conquered Scind.)
    – jamesqf
    Aug 1, 2017 at 17:00
  • i would say Geography. Fighting in high mountains is not easy, for people not used to the terrain, the altitude, and the climate. Nov 29, 2018 at 15:18

1 Answer 1


There were some times Nepal was partially conquered.

Most were during the early medieval period. Documentation during this period can be problematic, but there are records of the Muraya Empire claiming the southern part of the country in the 3rd Century BCE, the Chalukya's managing to get Hindus installed as kings in the 6th CE, and the Tibetian Empire ruling large parts of the area in the late 8th.

In general, if a country is not invaded, it means that there are no resources worth having that are deemed worth the trouble it would be to take over. The particular war you mentioned with the British is a good example of the principle.

The BEI had started to lose money on their Indian empire once the price for its cotton exports dropped. Nepal's (at the time) western provinces were thought to produce some of the world's highest-quality wool, so the British invaded to take them. They largely succeeded, which is why those provinces to this day are part of India rather than Nepal (to be fair, the Nepalese had only controlled those provinces for about a generation).

They didn't bother taking the rest of Nepal because the western provinces were already very expensive to take, and they had no use for the rest of Nepal.

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    I think your last comment is dangerously incorrect and needs an edit. Britain was presumably happy to let the rest of Nepal be independent, because the Nepalese were happy to allow Gurkhas to serve in East India Company, later British, army units. There is still a Royal Gurkha Rifles regiment in the British army to this day. The Gurkhas were worth far more to the administration of India, and later British army, than wool, and have an enduring reputation for bravery. The British empire wanted to command Gurkhas instead of fight them!
    – user17846
    Sep 24, 2019 at 10:26
  • Basically, it's grossly incorrect to say: "they had no use for the rest of Nepal", given the relationship between British armed forces and the Gurkhas. The rest of your answer is fine, just this one points requires correction.
    – user17846
    Sep 24, 2019 at 10:28
  • @inappropriateCode - You have the order of things exactly backwards there. There were no Gurkhas fighting for the British prior to the war in question, and it was in fact the Anglo-Nepalese war (as highlighted in the 3rd and 4th paragraphs of this answer) that brought the fighting capabilities of the Napali soldiers to the attention of the British in the first place.
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 24, 2019 at 15:23
  • I don't understand, you said it was because of the war that Gurkhas were brought to British attention... I don't deny it, I agree this is the point at which such happened. Which is the point where British authorities realised the Gurkhas were a valuable resource. And thus they had use for the rest of Nepal, as a recruitment centre. I don't understand how I've got the order wrong. I'm saying the relationship since, not before, sorry if that was ambiguous. Point is the most valuable resource from Nepal was clearly its Gurkhas. My objection is the same, last sentence needs correction.
    – user17846
    Sep 24, 2019 at 16:03
  • @inappropriateCode - So your claim is that it was more like "Wow, these Gurkhas we're fighting are really good. We'd better stop fighting them so we can recruit them! Quick...sign a peace treaty!" I'll tell you what, I'll go ahead and add something to that effect if you can find me a reference that backs it up.
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 24, 2019 at 16:56

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