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People's Republic of Bangladesh

  • গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ
  • Gônoprojatontri Bangladesh
Amar Shonar Bangla
My Golden Bangla
Location of Bangladesh
and largest city
Official languages Bengali
Ethnic groups
98% Bengali
2% other
Demonym(s) Bangladeshi/Bengali
Government Unitary parliamentary democracy
Abdul Hamid
Sheikh Hasina
Legislature Jatiya Sangsad
26 March 1971
• Current constitution
4 November 1972
• Total
147,570 km2 (56,980 sq mi) (94th)
• Water (%)
• 2011 estimate
161,083,804 (8th)
• Density
964.42/km2 (2,497.8/sq mi) (9th)
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
• Total
$419.2 billion
• Per capita
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
• Total
$173.8 billion
• Per capita
Gini (2005) 33.2
HDI (2011) Increase 0.500
low · 146th
Currency Taka (BDT)
Time zone UTC+6 (BST)
Driving side left
Calling code 880
ISO 3166 code BD
Internet TLD .bd
  1. Adjusted population, p.4,

Bangladesh (officially called People's Republic of Bangladesh) is a country in South Asia. It is next to the North-east Indian provincial regions of India, which converges with Southeast Asia to the east. Its full name is The People's Republic of Bangla-Desh. The capital and the largest city is Dhaka (also spelled 'Dacca'). Bangladesh is surrounded on all three sides by the Republic of India (Bharat), and Myanmar (Burma) on the south-eastern corner, it is near the People's Republic of China, Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal. Its independence was fully realised after it declared it self as independent most of 1971 from Pakistan after a bloody war in which over a million people died. Later by Indian military intervention, by that time the provisional government went into exile in Calcutta, Bengal (India) which they considered their homeland to be under Pakistani military occupation. After the Instrument of Surrender, the Bengali peoples became a sovereign nation and when its founder was released from political imprisonment had returned in 1972. Present-day Bangladesh has an area of 56,977 mi² or (147,570 km²).

The local currency is called Taka. The official language is Bengali.

There are two main rivers in Bangladesh, the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers are holy to Hindus. There are often floods because of these two rivers.


Earliest civilizations

The delta and surrounding hills has been inhabited for hundreds of generations (thousands of years). The area supported agriculture very early on. About 500 BC there was a shift to growing rice. This led to the development of urban areas. Because there were no stone quarries in the area houses were built of wood and mud (including adobe). Because of the monsoon climate very little evidence of the earliest inhabitants remains. From about 300 BC to the 1700s AD the Bengal delta saw the development of writing, the Bengali language, religions and the rise and fall of states. By the 1500s, the area was prosperous and even peasants had plenty to eat.

Political states

For much of its history the area was simply called "Bengal" and was considered a part of India. The last few centuries several foreign powers involved themselves with the area resulting in several wars. The 20th century brought more wars, genocide, and political states. Bengal was under British rule from 1757–1947. It was a part of British India. In 1947 East Bengal and West Pakistan separated from India and formed a new country called Pakistan. But the east and west provinces were on either side of India and separated by 930 miles (1,500 km). In 1949 the Bangladesh Awami League formed to favor separation between east and west Pakistan. In 1955 East Bengal was renamed East Pakistan. Dacca was then the legislative capital of Pakistani Bengal provincial region. The peoples of East Pakistan were mostly ethnic Bengalis who had a different language and culture to the people of western Pakistan. These differences eventually led to the Bangladesh Liberation War. On 16 December 1971, Bangladesh gained independence, with the help of allied forces against West Pakistani forces.

The East Bengal Legislative Assembly was the law-making body of the province of East Bengal. It was later renamed the East Pakistan Legislative Assembly and would be succeeded by the Jatiyo Sangshad in 1971.

After the birth of Bangladesh, Bangla replaced Urdu and English as the sole national and official language, and was the language taught in schools and used in business and government. The Bangla Academy was important in this change. In the 1980s, British-style education was maintained through private English-language institutions attended by upper class children. English continued to be taught in higher education and was offered as a subject for university degrees.

At first, Arabic also lost ground in independent Bangladesh. This trend ended in the late 1970s, however, after Bangladesh strengthened its ties with Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich, Arabic-speaking countries. An unsuccessful attempt was made in 1983 to introduce Arabic as a required language in primary and secondary levels. Arabic is widely studied in Madrassas and Islamic institutions around the country for better understanding of the Quran, Hadith and any other Islamic texts.


Despite many years of independence, Bangladesh is still a poor country and has problems with corruption and political troubles as the other country have. Presently more than half of the people can read and write.

Bangladesh has heavy cyclones and natural disasters, due to this many lives are often lost. The country is one of the most densely populated in the world. Cyclones are very common in the Bay of Bengal during the middle of the year, particularly in the south of country in areas like Sundarban, Chittagong, Cox's Bazaar,or in neighboring Myanmar and Republic of India. Despite the many storms, Bangladesh does not have a very effective storm prevention system, and cyclones usually inflict heavy damage.

Health and sanitation

Bangladesh Dhaka Boshila slum March 2011
Bangladesh Dhaka Boshila slum March 2011. The water seen in the open sewer inlet is the very same water that during a flood raises to knee or even hip high levels, every year. Most slums lack sanitation and other public services. Disease outbreaks are common.

The most difficult problem to tackle in this country is perhaps the environmental sanitation problem. There is a lack of safe drinking water in many areas of the country and in some areas no proper toilets or sewage systems.

  • No toilets resulting in filth and water born disease like diarrhea, dysentery, enteric fever, hepatitis, hook worm infestations.
  • Poor rural housing with no arrangement for proper ventilation, lighting etc.
  • Poor sanitation of public eating and market places.
  • Inadequate drainage, disposal of refuse and animal waste.
  • Absence and/ or adequate health education to the rural areas.
  • Absence and/or inadequate communications and transport facilities for workers of the public health.


Bangladesh is in the Ganges Delta. This is where the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna come together. Most parts of Bangladesh are less than 12 m (39.4 ft) above the sea level. The highest point in Bangladesh is in Mowdok range at 1,052 m (3,451 ft) in the Chittagong Hill Tracts to the southeast of the country. Cox's Bazar, south of the city of Chittagong, has a beach that is uninterrupted over 120 km (75 mi).

A large part of the coastline is a marshy jungle, the Sundarbans. They are the largest mangrove forest in the world.


Bengal Tiger gets down in a shallow canal in Sundarban
A Bengal tiger, the national animal, in the Sundarbans

Bangladesh is located in the Indomalayan realm, and lies within four terrestrial ecoregions: Lower Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests, Mizoram-Manipur-Kachin rain forests, Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests, and Sundarbans mangroves.

Its ecology includes a long sea coastline, numerous rivers and tributaries, lakes, wetlands, evergreen forests, semi evergreen forests, hill forests, moist deciduous forests, freshwater swamp forests and flat land with tall grass. The Bangladesh Plain is famous for its fertile alluvial soil which supports extensive cultivation.

The country is dominated by lush vegetation, with villages often buried in groves of mango, jackfruit, bamboo, betel nut, coconut and date palm. The country has up to 6000 species of plant life, including 5000 flowering plants. Water bodies and wetland systems provide a habitat for many aquatic plants. Water lilies and lotuses grow vividly during the monsoon season. The country has 50 wildlife sanctuaries.

Bangladesh is home to much of the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest, covering an area of 6,000 km2 in the southwest littoral region. It is divided into three protected sanctuaries–the South, East and West zones. The forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The northeastern Sylhet region is home to haor wetlands, which is a unique ecosystem. It also includes tropical and subtropical coniferous forests, a freshwater swamp forest and mixed deciduous forests. The southeastern Chittagong region covers evergreen and semi evergreen hilly jungles. Central Bangladesh includes the plainland Sal forest running along the districts of Gazipur, Tangail and Mymensingh. St. Martin's Island is the only coral reef in the country.

Bangladesh has an abundance of wildlife in its forests, marshes, woodlands and hills. The vast majority of animals dwell within a habitat of 150,000 km2. The Bengal tiger, clouded leopard, saltwater crocodile, black panther and fishing cat are among the chief predators in the Sundarbans. Northern and eastern Bangladesh is home to the Asian elephant, hoolock gibbon, Asian black bear and oriental pied hornbill.

The Chital deer are widely seen in southwestern woodlands. Other animals include the black giant squirrel, capped langur, Bengal fox, sambar deer, jungle cat, king cobra, wild boar, mongooses, pangolins, pythons and water monitors. Bangladesh has one of the largest population of Irrawaddy dolphins and Ganges dolphins. A 2009 census found 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins inhabiting the littoral rivers of Bangladesh. The country has numerous species of amphibians (53), reptiles (139), marine reptiles (19) and marine mammals (5). It also has 628 species of birds.


Bangladesh divisions english
Bangladesh divisions

Bangladesh is divided into seven administrative divisions,: Barisal (বরিশাল), Chittagong (চট্টগ্রাম), Dhaka (ঢাকা), Khulna (খুলনা), Rajshahi (রাজশাহী), Sylhet (সিলেট), and Rangpur (রংপুর).

Divisions are divided into districts. There are 64 districts in Bangladesh.

Dhaka is the capital and largest city of Bangladesh. Other major cities include Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Barisal, Bogra, Comilla, Mymensingh and Rangpur. For more locations see List of settlements in Bangladesh.

City City population (2008 estimate) Metro population (2008 estimate)
Dhaka 7,000,940 12,797,394
Chittagong 2,579,107 3,858,093
Khulna 855,650 1,588,425
Rajshahi 472,775 775,496
Sylhet 463,198
Barisal 210,374
Rangpur 241,310 (2001) 251,699 (2001)


The main religion in Bangladesh is Islam (85%). Many people also follow Hinduism (14%). Most Muslims are Sunni. Islam was made the state religion in the 1980s. Christians make up less than 1% of the population.


The earliest literary text in Bengali is the 8th century Charyapada. Medieval Bengali literature was often either religious or from other languages. The 19th century had poets such as Rabindranath Tagore, Michael Madhusudan Dutt and Kazi Nazrul Islam.

The musical tradition of Bangladesh is lyrics-based with little instruments. Folk music is often accompanied by the ektara, an instrument with only one string. Bangladeshi dance forms are from folk traditions.

Bangladesh makes about 80 films a year. Mainstream Hindi films are also quite popular. Around 200 daily newspapers are published in Bangladesh, along with more than 500 magazines.

Rice and fish are traditional favourite foods. Biryani is a favourite dish of Bangladeshis.

The sari is by far the most widely worn dress by Bangladeshi women.The salwar kameez (shaloar kamiz) is also quite popular among espcially the younger females, and In urban areas some women wear western attire. Among men, western attire is more widely worn.

Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha have major festivals. Buddha Purnima, which marks the birth of Gautama Buddha, and Christmas, called Bôŗodin (Great day), are both national holidays. The most important non-religious festival is Pohela Boishakh or Bengali New Year, the beginning of the Bengali calendar.


Cricket is the most popular sport in Bangladesh. Next is football (soccer). The national cricket team was in their first Cricket World Cup in 1999. In 2011, Bangladesh successfully co-hosted the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 with India and Sri Lanka.

Hadudu (kabaddi) is the national sport in Bangladesh. Other popular sports include field hockey, tennis, badminton, handball, basketball, volleyball, chess, shooting, angling, and carrom.

National symbols of Bangladesh

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