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One exodus after another, the early humans settled in different parts of the earth and modified their environment. In turn, the early humans were also modified to suit their environment. In due course of time, isolation and adaptation resulted in people in different places greatly differing from one another. There are several legends behind the term Kirat. The early ancestors of the Kirats were Silk merchants somewhere in the plains of Mongolia and China. Kiret meant silk farmer and Kireti was silk seller. From Kiret and Kireti, the term Kirat is thought to have evolved. In another legend, it is thought that as population grew, the people lived in forts, and they were called Kiriyat. From Kiriyat evolved Kirat. According to Balchandra Sharma as written in Amarkosha Kirat meant sour and Kiratis were very sour businessmen. Kirats are thought to have spread across the Indian subcontinent and Burma around 15,000 years ago. Different historians give different reasons as to how they got here. Some write that they came with their cattle searching for better pasture, while others are of the opinion that the hunters got here following game. Some also believe that the early settlers were the vanquished from frequent wars in the Caspian Sea region. They must have reached here in several waves and over a period of several thousand years. Limbus are descendents of the Kirats. In their ever easterly migration, they were spread as far as Burma. While they set up their own kingdoms and ruled this part of the world, Aryan civilization was gaining momentum. In the inevitable clash of the civilizations, Kirat kings lost key battles and, slowly but surely, the demise of the Kirat civilization occurred. This is supposed to have taken place around 5th – 6th century B.C. The Kirats migrated north. The group under the leadership of Yalambar entered ‘Nepal Valley’ and founded the Kirat Dynasty. Similarly, Kirats under other leaders settled in different parts of Nepal. The eastern region was divided into 8 kingdoms and ruled by 8 Kirat kings. These groups of Kirats/Limbus are called the ‘Kashi’ gotra Limbus. Another saga describes how the ‘Taisaan’ gotra entered Nepal. They lived in Saan region somewhere in Burma. They were defeated by ‘Kachin’ dynasty and in the decisive battle a thousand Kirat warriors lost their lives. In their honor, the survivors started calling themselves Saan Makwaan (Makwaan, meaning thousand). They migrated west under the guidance of 10 leaders and over the course of 600 years settled in Assam, and eventually entered eastern part of Nepal. Their entry into Nepal is estimated at 100 B.C. – 200 A.D. The first place this group settled in was Bodhe village in Dhankuta. At that time, this region had 8 kingdoms ruled by 8 Kirat kings from the first wave that entered Nepal. Having obtained permission to live in their land, the Saan Makwaan Kirats prospered.
they renamed the region Limbuwan (Li = Bow. They had already attacked Chainpur.S. For a thousand. So the treatment towards the Saan Makwaan grew harsh. Wan = Land). Hence exhaustive negotiations were done. and using all forms of trickery and . Limbuwan had weakened a great deal with many small self-acclaimed kings getting in the way of the unity of the 10 true kings and by frequent wars. while Khambuwan was won with great hardship. Having earned victory with it.e. In his absence. Limbu = Archer. Taxes were raised very high. Instead he was busy seeking help from the British. and in the war between the 8 kings and the 10 leaders. As mentioned before. The main weapon of the Saan Makwaan was the bow and arrow. the 10 Limbu leaders now became 10 Limbu kings and they ruled by re-dividing the 8 Kirat kingdoms into 10 Limbu kingdoms.. Those who failed to pay were severely punished and movements restricted. By the time Gorkha’s borders extended up to Arun River at 1830 B. When Gorkhalis were advancing towards Bijaypur. Bijaypur was the accepted capital of Limbuwan. Bijaypur fell easily.D. The 8 Kirat kings knew that the Saan Makwaan had been kings before and feared that they would be overthrown in the long run. the north-western frontier of Limbuwan. They had a practice of holding a council known as “chumlung” to decide their course of action. Limbuwan was won easily and named thus. not only among themselves. But the descendents of the 10 leaders were prospering more than that of the 8 Kirat kings. Here are other legends as to how the name Limbuwan was derived. three times without making any inroads. They did not know the actual weakened state of affairs of Limbuwan and thus were wary of the famed Limbu warriors. A do or die revolution was declared. Limbu meant easily won in their language. Historians' differing opinions aside. Gorkhalis were exhausted after years of warfare. years the 8 Kirat kings and 10 leaders co-existed in harmony. and the Chinese Emperor. the 10 leaders were victorious. A great king is said to have conquered the region of Limbuwan and Khambuwan. The battle is estimated to have occurred around 1000 – 1100 A. Gorkhalis did not want to engage the whole of Limbuwan. but also against Bhutan and Sikkim. Abu = shooter i. the King of Bijaypur should have called the traditional “chumlung” and brought all Limbu forces under his command to resist the invaders. The 10 leaders decided that it was better to revolt and die than to tolerate such injustice. The “Lasha” gotra Kirats are thought to have entered Nepal from Tibet in various periods of history. in the hope that the Saan Makwaan would flee. Hence they were unwilling to engage the Limbus in a drawn out campaign. Khambu meant won with difficulty.The new and the old wave of Kirats were similar in appearance and spoke the same language.
literary writings etc. that were found were taken to Chainpur and burnt. Limbuwan became a part of Gorkha under the condition that the existing Limbu kings would be allowed to continue taxation and effectively become kings of their own land. Yongyahangs were aided by the King of Sikkim who sent a large force under a very able General. However. Lepchas inhabiting Nepal are considered to be the remnants of the Sikkimese army. Their only remaining territorial rights from their past was stolen by an act of betrayal. genealogies. They were recalled several years later when keeping Limbuwan became extremely difficult for Gorkha due to the lack of taxpayers. the Limbus deserted their homeland and moved to Sikkim and other neighboring areas. the Limbus were guaranteed safety and proper treatment. A year later. religious texts. who were now Kings of Thechambu. The Sikkimese forces abandoned battle after the death of their general. many chose not to return. The Limbu forces were pushed back to Yangrup where they made their last stand. 6 months after the fall of Bijaypur. What sealed the fate of the Limbus was the lack of unity. The backlash of the state against these revolts had been very swift and severe. King Mahendra and his government unilaterally abolished the Kipat System of the Limbu people of eastern Nepal by implementing the Land Reform act. whose ancestors had ascended the throne by defeating one of the 10 true kings of the Meyangbo clan. not all Limbus were pleased to say the least. Several small scale revolutions have taken place since. who avoided a possible annihilation of his forces by averting open warfare and still annexed Limbuwan. Although. abiding by the Treaty. Following the defeat. In 1965. . and many Limbu kings. declared war on Gorkha. fought from the Gorkhali side. Chandra Shumsher ordered a house-to-house search and all Limbu scriptures. The Meyangbo clan. treaty papers. also allied with their mortal enemy against Gorkha. Jung Bahadur Rana took away the ruling rights of the remaining Limbu kings and instead allowed them the use of the title “Subba” thus relegating their status to that of a government employee. while the arrangement was highly pleasing to Prithivi Narayan Shah. This war is considered as the first revolution of Limbus against Nepal state. rejected it outright. This started the infiltration of other nonKirat races into Limbuwan. Many other Limbu kings joined the war. the Treaty of Bijaypur was signed. Therefore. After several victories.diplomacy. the tide turned against the Limbus when the General from Sikkim was killed in battle.S. Many kings (including 4 of the 10 true kings) weren't present at the treaty and after hearing of it. all Limbu clans that had fought against the Gorkhalis were slaughtered indiscriminately. King of Yangrup of the Yongyahang clan. Prithivi Narayan Shah became their overlord. as the Kings were intent on making money by taxing the newcomers. The Treaty of Bijaypur had effectively divided Limbuwan. mostly led by Limbu scholars.. In 1910 B.
Thebe genealogy. Limbus or Gorkhalis. Considering the current world affairs. www. it seems very unrealistic to ever regain past glory and have an independent Limbuwan nation. This is the history of Limbuwan in very brief. For more details regarding the exact dates.wikipedia. it would be wise to remember that Limbuwan's demise was the lack of unity. names of kings and event details. Sources: Meyangbo genealogy. Begha genealogy. readers are suggested to read the proper history books.org . In the modern context.The current Limbuwan revolution is a continuation of the revolution of Limbus to regain their sovereignty. a broader unity is stressed to ward off the foreign vultures eyeing Nepal.
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