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The People's Republic of Bangladesh is a South Asian country with a large border with India, and a small border with Myanmar. Bhutan, China, and Nepal are nearby but do not share a border with Bangladesh. It has a ragged coastline to the south, on the Bay of Bengal, on the Indian Ocean.

Bangladesh is a low-lying country with a marshy jungle coastline formed where the Ganges River, Brahmaputra River, Meghna River, and their tributaries come together, flowing into a deltaic plain. The country's only hilly areas are in the far southeast, in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, bordering Myanmar and India, and in the Sylhet Division in the northeast.

The climate of Bangladesh is subtropical, with moderately warm temperatures, heavy rainfall during the monsoon season, and high humidity. Tropical cyclones, flooding, tornadoes, and tidal bores are common.

Bangladesh has fertile soil and has traditionally been an agricultural country, but it has been quickly becoming urbanized. Agriculture currently accounts for less than 20-% of the country's gross domestic product. The areas around Dhaka and Comilla are the most densely populated, while the most rural areas are the Sundarbans, a tropical jungle in the southwest, and the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the southeast.

Ethnic Bengalis make up about 98% of the population, while the remainder are mostly Muslims of Indian origins, and some other tribal groups, who inhabit the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Approximately 90% of Bangladeshis are Muslim, mostly Sunni, with Hindus making up most of the remainder, although several Christian congregations have a presence in Bangladesh, as well as Buddhists and animists.

The native language of 98% of Bangladeshis is Bangla, although English is used as a second language by the upper classes, mostly in the country's urban areas. Literacy rates in Bangladesh are relatively low, at about 70%, although its educational system is heavily subsidized, with the government operating several primary, secondary, and higher-secondary schools and contributing financially to many private schools. Bangladesh has thirty-four public universities, more than sixty private and international universities, and about thirty private and public medical colleges.

The area of Bangladesh has been inhabited since the Stone Age, more than 20,000 years ago. Ancient Buddhist and Hindu states ruled the region for many centuries, developing currencies and a system of banking, architecture, education, and art.

Around 1200 AD, Muslim invaders took control over the Bengal region, which encouraged conversion to Islam. Even before then, Sufi religious teachers had converted many Bengalis.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach the area in the late 1400s. They were followed by the Dutch, French, and British. The British East India Company took control of the region in the 1750s after winning a battle with the Bengalis and their French allies in 1757, and Bangladesh became part of the British Empire for nearly two centuries, administered as British India, or Bengal - a larger area that included Bangladesh and India,.

British rule was marked with several Bengali uprisings and rebellions. In 1947, British India was partitioned, and East Bengal was made part of Pakistan. In 1958, a military coup took control of Pakistan and political repression led to the rise of a nationalist movement in East Bengal, which was then known as East Pakistan. In the 1970 elections, a nationalist Bengali party won 167 of 169 East Pakistani seats in the National Assembly, and claimed the right to form its own government.

The Bangladesh Liberation War lasted about nine months, resulting in the deaths of about 30,000 Bangladeshis and 8,000 Pakistanis, but ended with the surrender of over 93,000 Pakistani troops, and the independence of the People's Republic of Bangladesh in December of 1971.

The new country experienced a series of coups, including the assassinations, mass uprisings, and a succession of caretaker governments.

The government of Bangladesh is a parliamentary republic, with a member of parliament serving as prime minister, the head of the government, and as the head of the cabinet. The president is the head of state, a largely ceremonial role. Of its 350-member parliament, 300 are elected, while 50 seats are reserved for female nominees by the political parties.

Dhaka is the largest city in Bangladesh, followed by Chittagong. The third largest city is Khulna, but its population is more than thirteen times smaller than Dhaka. Next are Sylhet, Rajshahi, Comilla, Tongi, Bogra, Mymensingh, Barisal, and Rangpur, with populations ranging from 300,000 to 500,000.


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