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Gurkha (or Gorkha) are Nepalese who take their names from that of the ruling dynasty.

Gurkhas claim descent from the Rajputs of Northern India who entered modern-day Nepal from the west. In the early 1500s they conquered the small state of Gorkha and adopted its name. By the 1769 the Gorkha dynasty had taken over the area of modern Nepal. They made Hinduism the state religion.

In 1814-1816 they waged war with the British East India Company army. The British were impressed by their soldiers and began to regularly hire them as mercenaries to the Gurkha Brigade.

In the mid 1980s some Nepali speaking groups in West Bengal began to organize their own Gurkha state. In 1988 they were given broader autonomy.

Genetically Gurkhas are Tibeto-mongolians. They speak a Rajasthani dialect. They are also famous for their large knife called the kukri..