The Newa (Nepal Bhasa: नेवाः Newā(h), Classical Nepal Bhasa: नेवार Newār or नेवाल Newāl) are the indigenous people of Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley. Newars are a linguistic community with Tibeto-Burman and Indo ethnictiy/race, bound together by a common language.
The term Newar applies roughly to the descendants of citizens of Medieval Nepal (consisting of Kathmandu Valley as the capital and the territory ever changing with farthest extent being Gandaki river to west and Koshi river to the east, Tibet to north and Terai in south). Their common language being Nepal Bhasa (“Newari” according to Statistics Nepal) or the languages progenitor of Nepal Bhasa. According to Nepal’s 2001 census, the 1,245,232 Newa in the country are the nation’s sixth largest ethnic group, representing 5.48% of the population. Nepal Bhasa is of Tibeto-Burman origin (but heavily influenced by Indo-Aryan languages like Sanskrit, Pali, Bengali and Maithili). Nepal Bhasa also contains Austro-Asiatic words and phrases. In 2001 the language is spoken by 825,458 Nepalese as their mother tongue.
The different divisions of Newas had different historical developments before their arrival in the Kathmandu valley. The common identity of Newa was formed after their arrival to the valley. Until the unification of Nepal, with the possible exception of the Muslims under Gayasuddin who attacked and destroyed many parts of the valley, all people who had inhabited the valley at any point of time were either Newa or were progenitors of Newa. So, the history of Newa correlates to a great magnitude to the history of Kathmandu valley prior to the Unification of Nepal.