Gorkhas , the dominant people of Nepaul in India. Little is known of their history until about 1708, when, having consolidated or conquered the petty independent tribes among whom Nepaul was parcelled out, they found themselves masters of the whole of that country, and eventually of almost the entire alpine region, as it is called, of northern India. Having invaded Thibet in 1790, they were defeated by the Chinese, to whom the lamas had applied for assistance, and during a short period they remained in nominal subjection to the celestial empire; but in 1792 their independence was recognized by a commercial treaty with the East India company. A few years later they were involved in a war with the British. (See Nepaul.) The Gorkhas are of Mongol origin, but smaller and darker than the Chinese. They are seldom over 5 ft. high, are hardy and active, and make good soldiers. They form a valuable portion of the native troops enlisted in the British army, and won the enthusiastic praise of the English officers by their uniform fidelity during the sepoy revolt of 1857-'8, and their services in the field, particularly during the Delhi campaign.
They are Hindoos in religion, but unlike Hindoos in appearance, customs, and freedom from caste prejudice.