|Facts & Figures|
President: Abdul Hamid (2013)
Prime Minister: Sheikh Hasina
Land area: 51,703 sq mi (133,911 sq km);
total area: 55,598 sq mi (144,000 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 166,280,712 (growth
rate: 1.6%); birth rate: 21.61/1000; infant mortality rate: 45.67/1000;
life expectancy: 70.65
Capital and largest city (2011 est.):
Dhaka, 15.391 million
Other large cities:
Chittagong, 5.239 million; Khulna, 1.781 million; Rajshahi 932,000
Monetary unit: Taka
More Facts & Figures
Bangladesh, on the northern coast of the Bay of
Bengal, is surrounded by India, with a small common border with Myanmar in
the southeast. The country is low-lying riverine land traversed by the
many branches and tributaries of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers.
Tropical monsoons and frequent floods and cyclones inflict heavy damage in
the delta region.
What is now called Bangladesh is part of the
historic region of Bengal, the northeast portion of the Indian
subcontinent. Bangladesh consists primarily of East Bengal (West Bengal is
part of India and its people are primarily Hindu) plus the Sylhet district
of the Indian state of Assam.
The earliest reference to the region was to a
kingdom called Vanga, or Banga (c. 1000
Buddhists ruled for centuries, but by the 10th century Bengal was
primarily Hindu. In 1576, Bengal became part of the Mogul Empire, and the
majority of East Bengalis converted to Islam. Bengal was ruled by British
India from 1757 until Britain withdrew in 1947, and Pakistan was founded
out of the two predominantly Muslim regions of the Indian subcontinent.
For almost 25 years after independence from Britain, its history was part
of Pakistan's (
West Pakistan and East Pakistan were united by
religion (Islam), but their peoples were separated by culture, physical
features, and 1,000 miles of Indian territory.