The borders of modern Bangladesh were established with the partition of India in 1947, when the region became East Pakistan as a part of the newly formed State of Pakistan following the end of British rule in the region. However, East Pakistan faced political, economic and cultural discrimination from West Pakistan, which led to a nationalist movement and a war of independence in 1971. With the support of India, East Pakistan defeated West Pakistan and declared itself as Bangladesh, meaning “Land of the Bengals”.
Bangladesh is the eighth-most populated country in the world with almost 2.2% of the world’s population. As per the final results of the 2022 Census of Bangladesh, the country’s population is 169,828,911. The country has a very high population density of 1,148 people per square kilometer.
Bangladesh has many historical and cultural landmarks that reflect its rich heritage and diversity. Some of the most famous landmarks are: Ahsan Manzil: A 19th-century palace that was the residence of the Nawabs of Dhaka. Lalbagh Fort: A huge complex in Dhaka, overlooking the Buriganga River, that was built by the Mughal Empire in the 17th century. Sundarbans National Park: The largest mangrove forest in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to many endangered species, including the Bengal tiger. Shahid Minar: A significant monument in Dhaka that commemorates the martyrs of the Bengali Language Movement of 1952. Sixty Dome Mosque: A medieval mosque in Bagerhat that is one of the largest and oldest mosques in Bangladesh and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Official Language
The official language and national language of Bangladesh is Bengali (also known as Bangla), one of the easternmost branches of the Indo-European language family. Bengali is spoken by about 98% of Bangladeshis as their first language. Bengali has a rich literary tradition that dates back to the 8th century and includes works by famous poets such as Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Jibanananda Das. Bengali is written in its own script, which is derived from the ancient Brahmi script.
The culture of Bangladesh is intertwined with the culture of the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent. It has evolved over the centuries and encompasses the cultural diversity of several social groups of Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s culture is influenced by three great religions: Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, with Islam having the most pervading and lasting impact. Bangladesh has a rich and diverse artistic heritage that includes music, dance, drama, literature, painting, sculpture, pottery, textiles, architecture and more. Some of the cultural festivals and celebrations in Bangladesh are: Pohela Boishakh: The Bengali New Year that falls on April 14th and is marked by colorful processions, fairs, music and food. Eid-ul-Fitr: The festival that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, and is celebrated with prayers, charity, feasting and exchanging gifts. Durga Puja: The Hindu festival that honors the goddess Durga and her victory over the demon Mahishasura. It is celebrated with elaborate rituals, offerings, music and dance. International Mother Language Day: The day that commemorates the sacrifice of the Bengali language martyrs who died in 1952 while protesting for the recognition of Bengali as a state language of Pakistan. It is observed on February 21st with floral tributes, cultural programs and a minute of silence at midnight.
The Economic Stability
Bangladesh’s economic resilience has been tested by political instability, weak global markets, and structural constraints. The confrontational political environment has hit the economy hard. Direct production losses are estimated at around 1% of GDP due to disruptions in economic activities caused by political disturbance. Despite these challenges, the Bangladeshi economy is maintaining macroeconomic stability and moving forward. The global recovery, strong domestic demand growth, and sustained macro stability bode well for Bangladesh’s GDP growth and poverty reduction. Bangladesh’s GDP growth rate was 6.8% in 2023, slightly lower than the previous year’s 7.0%. The inflation rate was 5.4%, within the government’s target range of 5.5%. Bangladesh has also made significant progress in human development indicators such as life expectancy, literacy, maternal mortality and child immunization. Bangladesh is pursuing regional and international cooperation to enhance its economic prospects and stability. It is involved in projects such as the Adani Bangladesh project that aims to provide electricity to 40 million people in Bangladesh from a coal-fired power plant in India, the ASEAN-Bangladesh Forum that seeks to boost trade and investment ties with Southeast Asian countries, and the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) that fosters regional integration among seven countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia. THE GDP The GDP of Bangladesh is $352.9 billion as of 2020. THE CURRENCY The currency of Bangladesh is the Bangladeshi taka, with the symbol ৳ and the code BDT. One US dollar is equal to 109.40 BDT as of today. THE FOOD Bangladeshi cuisine is rich in spices, herbs, rice, fish and meats. Some of the traditional dishes are Hilsa/Ilish Curry, Biryani, Chingri Malai Curry, Dal, Panta Bhat, Paratha, Dhokar Dalna and Chachchari/Chorchori. MAJOR CITIES Bangladesh has eleven major cities that are governed by twelve city corporations. The largest city is Dhaka, the capital, with a population of about 21 million. The other major cities are Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Bogra, Sylhet, Comilla, Barisal, Mymensingh, Rangpur and Narayanganj.
MAJOR AIRPORTS, SEA PORTS AND SCHOOLS Some of the major airports in Bangladesh are: Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (DAC) in Dhaka Shah Amanat International Airport (CGP) in Chittagong Osmani International Airport (ZYL) in Sylhet Cox’s Bazar Airport (CXB) in Cox’s Bazar Saidpur Airport (SPD) in Saidpur Some of the major sea ports in Bangladesh are: Chittagong Port Mongla Port Payra Port Matarbari Port Paira Port Some of the major schools in Bangladesh are: Viqarunnisa Noon School and College Dhaka Residential Model College Rajuk Uttara Model College Government Laboratory High School St. Joseph Higher Secondary School