Bangladesh, officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh (গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ; Gônoprojatontri Bangladesh), is a country in South Asia. Located on the fertile Ganges-Brahmaputra delta, it is part of the ancient and historic region of Bengal. The name Bangladesh means "Country of Bengal" in the official Bengali language. To its south lies the Bay of Bengal, while it is bordered by the Republic of India on the north, west and east, and Burma (Myanmar) to the southeast. It is separated from Nepal and Bhutan by India's narrow Siliguri corridor and is situated in geographical proximity to China. With a population of more than 160 million people, Bangladesh is the world's eighth-most populous country as well as one of the world's most densely populated countries. It has the third-largest population among Muslim nations. The present-day borders of Bangladesh were established during the partition of the British Indian Empire in 1947, when eastern Bengal became part of the newly formed nation of Pakistan. It was separated from West Pakistan by nearly 1,500 km (about 900 mi) of Indian territory. Due to political exclusion, ethnic and linguistic discrimination, and economic neglect by the politically dominant western wing, popular agitation and civil disobedience led to the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. After independence, the new state endured poverty, famine, political turmoil and military coups. The restoration of democracy in 1991 has been followed by relative calm and economic progress. Founded as a secular democracy in 1971, Bangladesh is a unitary multiparty parliamentary republic with an elected national parliament called the Jatiyo Sangshad. It is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the OIC, NAM, the Developing 8 Countries and BIMSTEC. A long-standing proponent of regional engagement in South Asia, Bangladesh pioneered the creation of SAARC. Its armed forces are among the world's largest contributors to United Nations peacekeeping forces. Bangladesh continues to face a number of major challenges, including poverty, corruption, political instability, overpopulation and vulnerability to climate change. However, it has been praised by the international community for tremendous progress on the Human Development Index. Through various acclaimed Bangladeshi public and NGO-led social programs, the country is improving living standards and life expectancy, promoting education and women empowerment, stemming population growth, achieving self-sufficiency in food production, spreading renewable energy and building healthcare infrastructure. The country is undergoing rapid industrialization, with globally competitive industries in textiles, shipbuilding and pharmaceuticals. Dhaka and Chittagong, the country's two largest cities, have been the driving force for much of the recent growth. Bangladesh has been identified as a Next Eleven emerging economy. * |
Main articles: History of BangladeshHistory of BengalBangladesh Liberation WarGangaridaiPtolemy's map
The Grand Monastery of Somapura was one of the great ancient institutions of higher learning of the Indian subcontinent. Bronze Age settlements in the Bengal region date to more than 4,000 years ago, when the region was settled by ancient Dravidian, Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman and Austroasiatic peoples. The exact origin of the word "Bangla" or "Bengal" is unclear, though it is believed to be derived from Bang/Vanga, the Dravidian-speaking tribe that settled in the area around the year 1000 BCE. The Sixty Dome Mosque, part of the medieval Mosque City of Bagerhat, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Gangaridai, or "Nation of Ganges". Early history featured the rise of Vedic states and a succession of Buddhist and Hindu dynasties. During the first millennium BCE, it was home to several janapadas including Vanga, Samatata and Pundravardhana. Bengal was...