Bangladesh, officially the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is located on the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent along the Bay of Bengal. Relatively unexplored Bangladesh is immensely rich in its geographical and cultural diversity. It is home to a cornucopia of hidden riches and fascinating age-old traditions. Here are some interesting facts about Bangladesh.
Facts about Bangladesh
1. Bangladesh is the 92nd largest country in the world.
Bangladesh has a total area of 148,460 km² (57,320 sq mi), which makes it slightly larger than the US states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey combined.
2. Bangladesh shares a land border with only two nations.
Bangladesh is bordered by India (4,142 km / 2,574 mi) to the west, north, and east, and Myanmar (271 km / 168 mi) to the southeast.
3. Bangladesh has a 580 km (360 mi) long coastline.
All of Bangladesh’s 580 km (360 mi) long coastline lies in the south of the country along the Bay of Bengal, the largest bay in the world.
4. Bengali is the official and national language of Bangladesh.
The sole official and national language of Bangladesh is Bengali (also known as Bangla). It is an Indo-Aryan language descended from Sanskrit. Bengali is the most widely spoken language of Bangladesh with more than 98% of the nation’s population speaking Bengali as their first language. Bengali is written using the Bengali script.
5. Bangladesh is very homogenous.
98% of Bangladesh’s population is of Bengali ethnicity. The remainder of the population is composed of small groups of Chakmas, Biharis, Marmas, Santhals. Tanchangyas. Bawms, Tripuris, Khumis, Kukis, and Garos.
6. Bangladesh is home to the fourth-largest Muslim population in the world.
One of the interesting facts about Bangladesh is that the country is home to the fourth-largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia, Pakistan, and India. Islam is the state religion of Bangladesh and approximately 90-92% of Bangladesh’s population is Muslim. The vast majority of Bangladeshi Muslims are Sunni, followed by minorities of Shia and Ahmadiyya.
7. Bangladesh has been home to several empires.
For centuries, the area that is now Bangladesh was part of the Bengal region of India. It was ruled by a cavalcade of empires including the Mauryans, the Guptas, the Gaudas, the Palas, the Senas, and the Mughals.
The British took control of Bengal following the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and by 1793 took complete control of the region. Bengal was one of the wealthiest regions in the world at the time and the marauding of Bengal significantly contributed to the Industrial Revolution in Britain. When the British established their Raj in India, Bengal was included.
8. Bangladesh was formerly known as East Pakistan.
When British India gained its independence in August 1947, the Muslim-majority section of Bengal became a non-contiguous part of the new nation of Pakistan. It was called “East Pakistan.”
9. Bangladesh gained independence in 1971.
East Pakistan (Bangladesh) was in an odd position, separated from Pakistan proper (known as West Pakistan back then) by a 1,600-kilometer stretch of India (994 mi). Tensions between East and West Pakistan existed right from the get-go due to their vast geographic, economic, linguistic, and cultural differences. Although about 55% of the population resided in East Pakistan, the West held the lion’s share of political and economic power.
In 1970, East Pakistanis secured a majority of the seats in the national assembly. President Yahya Khan postponed the opening of the national assembly in an attempt to circumvent East Pakistan’s demand for greater autonomy.
As a consequence, East Pakistan seceded and the independent state of Bangladesh was proclaimed on 26 March 1971. Civil war broke out, and East Pakistan received assistance from Indian troops in the latter stages of the war. On 16 December 1971, the Pakistan Army surrendered to the Indian Army paving way for the creation of Bangladesh as a separate country.
10. The capital of Bangladesh is Dhaka.
With a population of over 20 million in its metropolitan area, Dhaka is not only the capital and largest city of Bangladesh but it is also one of the largest and the most densely populated cities in the world. Dhaka also serves as the economic, political, and cultural center of Bangladesh.
11. The Bangladeshi taka (BDT) is the currency of Bangladesh.
The Bangladeshi taka came into existence in 1972, a year after the independence when Bangladesh decided to change the Pakistani rupee for its new currency.
12. Bangladesh drives on the left.
Perhaps not surprising for it is a former British colony. Cars in Bangladesh drive on the left side of the road.
13. Bangladesh is home to the world’s largest mangrove forest.
One of the more unique Bangladesh facts. Located in the southwestern corner of Bangladesh, the Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world. The Sundarbans mangrove forest covers an area of about 10,000 km² (3,900 sq mi) and comprises an extensive network of interconnected waterways, stretching inland for about 80 km (50 mi) from the Bay of Bengal.
The Sundarbans also extend into India but about 60% of the forest lies in Bangladesh. Sundarbans means “beautiful forest” in Bengali. The Sundarbans provides a unique ecosystem and a rich wildlife habitat.
14. The world’s third-longest beach can be found in Bangladesh.
Another one of those fun facts about Bangladesh. Cox’s Bazar Beach in southeastern Bangladesh stretches for a whopping 120 km (75 mi) and is the world’s third-longest beach after the Praia do Cassino in Brazil and the Ninety Mile Beach in Australia. Cox’s Bazar Beach is however the world’s longest uninterrupted beach.
15. Cricket is the most popular sport in Bangladesh.
Football used to be the most popular sport in Bangladesh but by the late 1990s, cricket displaced football from the top spot. The Bangladesh men’s national cricket team is one of the top 10 cricket sides in the world.
16. Kabaddi is the national sport of Bangladesh.
Although not as popular as cricket, Kabaddi is the national sport of Bangladesh. Kabaddi is played between two teams on opposite halves of a field or court. Individual players or “raiders” take turns crossing onto the other team’s side and tag any one of the opposing team’s four “stoppers”. Points are scored by tagging as many opponents as possible without being caught or taking a breath before returning to one’s home territory.
17. Capital punishment is legal in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh still enforces the death penalty for serious crimes for anyone over 18.
18. Bangladesh is known as “The Land of Rivers.”
For a relatively small country, Bangladesh has an exceptionally large number of rivers, around 700 according to most estimates. Almost 90% of the country is crisscrossed by an extensive network of rivers varying greatly in length, width, and discharge.
Rivers are often called the lifeblood of Bangladesh. This is especially true for the nation’s rural population, for whom rivers are interwoven with every aspect of their lives. In many places in Bangladesh, rivers are the main form of transport and also the main highway for commerce. The major rivers of Bangladesh are the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna.
19. Bangladesh is exceptionally vulnerable to climate change.
Two-thirds of Bangladesh is less than five meters above sea level, especially in the coastal south, where the terrain is generally at sea level. The country’s low elevation, high population density, and inadequate infrastructure all put the nation in harm’s way of climate change.
Climate change is wreaking havoc with traditional rain patterns in Bangladesh—droughts in some areas, unanticipated inundation in others—and boosting silt-heavy runoff from glaciers in the Himalayas upstream, leading to an increase in flooding and riverbank erosion. Meanwhile, rising sea level is pushing saltwater into coastal agricultural areas and threatening to permanently submerge large tracts.
According to experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), rising sea levels and coastal erosion could lead to a loss of 17% of land surface and 30% of food production by 2050. One in every seven people in Bangladesh will be displaced by climate change.
20. The Bengal Tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh.
The legendary Bengal tiger can be found in the Sundarbans and the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The majestic Bengal tiger represents royalty, fearlessness, and wrath. The exact wild tiger population of Bangladesh is unknown but it’s estimated that there are only 90-160 tigers of them left.
21. Bangladesh is the origin of Muslin.
One of the more unique facts about Bangladesh is that muslin originated in the country. Muslin is a popular lightweight cotton fabric that was first handwoven in the Bengal region around present-day Dhaka. For a long time, muslin was believed to have originated in the city of Mosul, Iraq, from where the fabric gets its name.
22. The water lily is the national flower of Bangladesh.
The water lily features on the national emblem of Bangladesh. It is well-known for its medicinal properties and is mainly used to treat indigestion and chronic diarrhea.
23. The national flag of Bangladesh has two colors.
Bangladesh’s national flag consists of a dark green field with a red disc that is slightly offset from the center. In fact, it’s quite similar in design to the Japanese national flag. The national flag of Bangladesh was officially adopted on 17 January 1972.
The disc represents the sun rising over the country, and its red color is symbolic of the blood that the Bangladeshi people shed during their war of independence. The green on the flag represents Bangladesh’s copious lush-green nature.
24. Bangladesh is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Given Bangladesh’s rich cultural history, it’s no surprise that the country is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These include the Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat, the ruins of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur, and the Sundarbans.
25. Agriculture is the largest sector of Bangladesh’s economy.
Agriculture is the largest sector of the Bangladeshi economy and employs about 45-50% of the nation’s workforce. Bangladesh is among the top producers in the world of rice, farmed fish, potatoes, tropical fruits, and jute.
26. Bangladesh is the world’s second-biggest exporter of clothes.
Bangladesh’s burgeoning garments industry has led it to become the world’s second-biggest exporter of clothes after China. Low wages have helped Bangladesh build its garment industry, with some 4,500 factories employing 4 million workers, the vast majority of whom are women. However, much controversy surrounds the working conditions and unsafe labor practices in these factories.
27. Bangladesh is the most populous country in the world never to have won an Olympic medal.
Bangladesh first competed at the Summer Olympics in 1984. Unfortunately, no athlete from Bangladesh has ever won an Olympic medal so far. Bangladesh has never competed at the Winter Olympics.