Bangladesh is Located in the north-eastern part of South Asia. The majestic Himalayas stand some distance to the north, while in the south lays the Bay of Bengal. West Bengal borders on the west and in the east lies the hilly and forested regions of Tripura, Mizoram (India) and Myanmar. These picturesque geographical boundaries frame a low lying plain of about 1,47,570 square kilometer, criss-crossed by innumerable rivers and streams. Mighty rivers are Padma (Ganges), Brahmaputra (Jamuna), Meghna and Karnafuli.Bangladesh offers many tourist attractions, including archaeological sites, historical mosques and monuments, longest natural beach in the world, picturesque landscape, hill forests and wildlife, rolling tea gardens and tribes. The rich flora and fauna and colorful tribal life is very enchanting. Each part of the country offers distinctly different topography, flavors and delicacies. It is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, freshwater pink dolphins, historical temples made of red earth.Some of popular known tourist attractions are: Srimangal, where miles of tea gardens are located, Mainamati, Mahasthangarh, Paharpur for archaeology, Rangamati, Kaptai and Cox's Bazar for sight seeing, and the Sundarbans for wild life and the largest Mangrove forest of the world, and, Foy's Lake for scenic beauty.
To know more about tourism in Bangladesh, please click here.

Historical Background

Remnants of civilization in the greater Bengal region date back four thousand years, when the region was settled by Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman, and Austro-Asiatic peoples. The exact origin of the word `Bangla’ or `Bengal’ is unknown, though it is believed to be derived from Bang (Sanskrit Vanga), the Dravidian-speaking tribe that settled in the area around the year 1000 BC.

The Kingdom of Gangaridai was founded as early as in the seventh century BC, which later merged with Bihar under the Magadha, Nanda, Mauryan and Sunga Empires. Bengal was later part of the Gupta Empire and Harsha Empire from the third to the sixth centuries AD. Following its collapse, a dynamic Bangalee named Shashanka founded an impressive yet short-lived kingdom. Shashanka is considered the first independent king in the history of Bangladesh. After a period of anarchy, the Buddhist Pala dynasty ruled the region for four hundred years commonly referred to as the `Golden Age of Bengal’. This was followed by a shorter reign of the Hindu Sena dynasty.

Islam was introduced to Bengal in the twelfth century by Arab Muslim merchants and Sufi missionaries, and subsequent Muslim conquests helped spread Islam throughout the region. Bakhtiar Khilji, a Turkic general, defeated Lakshman Sen of the Sena dynasty and conquered large parts of Bengal in the year 1204.

Mujibnagar Monument in Meherpur district, built in commemoration of the formation of provisional government of independent Bangladesh

The region was ruled by dynasties of Sultans and land lord Bhuiyans for the next few hundred years. By the 16th century, the Mughal Empire controlled Bengal, and Dhaka became an important provincial centre of the Mughal administration.

European traders arrived late in the 15th century, and their influence grew until the British East India Company gained control of Bengal following the Battle of Palashi in 1757. The bloody rebellion of 1857, known as the Sepoy Mutiny, resulted in transfer of authority to the Crown, with a British viceroy running the administration in British India.

Between 1905 and 1911, an abortive attempt was made to divide the province of Bengal into two zones, with Dhaka as the capital of the eastern zone. When India was partitioned in 1947 Bengal was partitioned again along religious lines with the western part going to India and the eastern part joining Pakistan as province called East Bengal (later renamed East Pakistan), with its capital in Dhaka. Dissatisfaction with the Centre over economic and cultural issues continued to rise even from the days of partition through the 1950s and 1960s, during which the Awami League emerged as the political voice of the Bangalees under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

A sculpture in commemoration of the great martyrs of the historic language movement of 1952

The 6-points programme launched by Bangabandhu in 1966 crystallised into the demand for autonomy which led to the electoral victory for Awami League in the first ever general election in Pakistan in 1970. Following putting off the summoning of Parliament and consequent decline to hand over power by Pakistani Junta, Bangabandhu made his historic declaration on 7 March, 1971 about the struggle for freedom and the struggle for independence. In the early hours of 26th March 1971, as the Pakistan Army unleashed its genocide across Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman formally declared the independence of Bangladesh and directed everyone to fight till the elimination of the last soldier of the Pakistan Army. Awami League leaders set up a provisional government, which formally took oath at Mujib Nagar in Kushtia district inside Bangladesh on 17 April 1971. The War of Liberation that started with the resistance on 26 March lasted for nine months. The Mukti Bahini (freedom force) was made up of Bangalee regulars and guerrillas. More than 3 million Bangalees were martyred and millions were injured during the war of liberation. The war ended in a decisive victory for Bangladesh when the Pakistan Army surrendered to the joint command of Bangladesh-India forces on 16 December 1971.

When a war ravaged country was going through massive reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts and marching forward as an independent, secular country to fulfill the aspirations of the people, on 15 August 1975, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was brutally murdered along with most of his family members by military adventurists and elements opposed to the guiding ethos of our freedom movement and the tide of history was turned back.

A series of bloody coups and counter-coups in the following three months saw the ascent to power of Maj. Gen. Ziaur Rahman, who founded the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and reinstated religion based sectarian politics. General Zia’s rule ended when he was assassinated in 1981 by  elements of the military. Lt. Gen. Hossain Mohammad Ershad assumed power in a bloodless coup in 1982 and ruled until 1990, when he was forced to resign in the face of a popular anti-autocratic movement. Since then, Bangladesh has reverted to a parliamentary democracy.

In the wake of rampant corruption, disorder and uncertainty about the credibility of general election under a caretaker government that conducted itself in a clearly partisan manner, on 11 January 2007, a new caretaker government was appointed to administer the next general election. The new caretaker government held the general election on 29 December 2008 which were acknowledged internationally as free, fair and credible. The grand alliance led by the Awami League won the election with a landslide victory and formed the government on 6 January 2009.

In the wake of successful completion of the term of the Awami League led Government in 2013, a new free and fair election took place on 5 January 2014. The people of the country reiterated their faith in democracy and the politics of development led by Sheikh Hasina. The grand alliance led by the Awami League won a landslide victory in the election and formed the government to continue her progressive politics of development.

The 5 January 2014 election victory of the grand alliance led by the Awami League has been a reiteration of the people’s faith in democracy and a celebration of an inclusive, secular ethos.

Basic Facts

Official Name: People's Republic of Bangladesh
Nationality: Bangladeshi
Weekends: Friday & Saturday, some govt and non-govt offices remain open on Saturdays.
International Dialing Code: +880
Standard Time : BST (GMT +6 Hours)
Capital City: Dhaka

Demography

Population: 150 million (2011 Census Report by BBS)
Literacy Rate: 60%
Language:
Bangla (national language) spoken by 95%
English is widely understood and spoken.

Religion:
Muslims - 86.6%,
Hindus - 12.1%,
Buddhists - 0.6%,
Christians -0.4%,
Others -0.3%.

Age Structure:
0-14 years#33.8% (male 23,069,242#female 21,995,457)
15-64 years: 62.8% (male 42,924,778; female 40,873,077)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 2,444,314; female 2,069,816)

Population Growth Rate: 1.59%
Birth Rate / 1000 : 25.12 births/1,000 population
Death Rate / 1000 : 8.47 deaths/1,000 population

Gender:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.18 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female

Fertility Rate: 2.72 children born/woman

Ethnic Groups:
Bengalis (98%)
Other indigenous minority (2%) including Chakmas, Marmas, Santals, Garos, Manipuri, Tripura, and Tanchangya.

Geography

Geographical Location:
Latitude between 20°34' and 26°38' North
Longitude between 88°01' and 92°41' East

Area: 147,570 sq. km. (land: 133,910 sq km, water: 10,090 sq km)

Boundaries:
North - India (West Bengal and Meghalaya)
West - India (West Bengal)
East - India (Tripura and Assam) and Myanmar
South-Bay of Bengal.
Total: 4,246 km (border countries: Burma 193 km, India 4,053 km)
Coastline: 580 km

Maritime boundary:
Contiguous zone: 18 nm
Continental shelf: up to the outer limits of the continental margin
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Terrain: Mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast

7 Divisions - Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Barisal, Rangpur
64 Districts
487 Subdistricts/Upazillas

Principal Rivers: Padma, Meghna, Jamuna, Surma, Brahmaputra, Karnaphuli, Teesta, Sitalakhya, Rupsha, Madhumati, Gorai, Mahananda etc.

Climate

Climate Variation: Sub-tropical monsoon

Average Temperature:
Winter 11° C - 20° C (October - February)
Summer 21° C - 38° C (March - September)

Rainfall : 1,100 mm to 3,400 mm (June - August)

Humidity:
Highest 99% (July)
Lowest 36% (December & January)

Economy

Recognitions: Bangladesh is one of the members of the Developing 8 and considered as the Next Eleven Economy of the world in 20 coined by Goldman Sachs.

GDP: $1,044 (per capita in 2013)

Poverty Level: 25% (People living with $2 per day)

Foreign Grant Dependency: 2%

Principal Crops: Rice, Jute, Tea, Wheat, Sugarcane, Pulses, Mustard, Potato, Vegetables.

Principal Industries: Garments & Textiles (2nd largest in the world), Tea, Ceramics, Cement, Leather, Jute (largest producer in the world), Chemical, Fertilizer, Shrimp Processing, Sugar, Paper, Electric and Electronics, Medicine, Fishing.

Principal Exports: Garments, Knitwear, Frozen Shrimps, Tea, Leather and Leather products, Jute and Jute products, Ceramics, IT Outsourcing, etc.

Principal Imports: Wheat, Fertilizer, Petroleum goods, Cotton, Edible Oil etc.

Principal Minerals: Natural gas,oil, Coal, white clay, glass sand etc.

Electricity: 220 Volts AC in all cities and towns

Currency:

Taka (BDT, Symbol = ৳)
1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 in notes and
# 50,25,10,5,1 in coins.

Exchange Rate

Labour Force: 54 million
Male: 40 million
Female: 14 million
(Ref: BES-2011)

Distribution of Labor:

Agriculture: 48.4 percent

Industry: 24.3 percent

Others: 27.3 percent

Transportation Methods: Road, Air, Rail, Waterways (More information)

Export Processing Zones (EPZs): Dhaka, Uttara, Adamjee, Chittagong, Comilla, Ishwardi, Karnaphuli, and Mongla.

 

Historical Dates

Independence Day: 26th March

Victory Day: 16th December

Martyr's Day: 21st February (Also recognized as the International Mother Language Day)

Tourism

Places of Tourist Interest: Dhaka, Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Kaptai, Rangamati, Khagrachari, Bandarban, Kuakata, Bogra, Khulna, the Sundarbans, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Dinajpur and Comilla.

Airports: Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Jessore, Rajshahi, Saidpur, Barisal and Cox's Bazar

More Information : Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation.

Information Technology

Country Domain: .bd
Internet Penetration: 23.38% of the population
Mobile Users: 76.434 million (June 2011 and 15th largest in the world)
Mobile Penetration: 72.08% of the population

Global Rankings

  • 8th largest country in the world in terms of population

  • 4th largest Muslim country in the world in terms of population and 3rd largest Muslim majority country

  • 4th most densely populated country and the most densely populated country in the world having more than 10 million population

  • Situated on the Ganges Delta, the largest delta in the world and also the largest wetland in the world (Ref)

  • Cox’s Bazaar is the longest natural sandy sea beach in world

  • 2nd largest garments exporter in the world (Ref)

  • Largest producer of Jute (2nd largely grown vegetable fiber in the world)

  • Sundarbans (hosted by both Bangladesh and India) has the largest mangrove forest in the world