Worldwide Locations

Worldwide Locations



Bangladesh has had two incarnations since its independence from Britain. In 1947, it was known as East Pakistan – part of the nation of Pakistan and a Muslim majority area carved out of the state of Bengal by the British.  In 1971 East Pakistani separatist forces led by the Awami League of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, fought a civil war against West Pakistan. Aided by Indian armed forces, Bangladesh became an independent nation in December 1971.

Politically, the nation suffered through 15 years of military rule. While parliamentary democracy was restored in 1990,  a military-backed state of emergency suspended parliamentary elections planned for January 2007. This was done in an effort to reform the political system and root out corruption. Elections were finally held in late December 2008 and were mostly peaceful. Sheikh Hasina Wajed was reappointed prime minister.

Although population growth and widespread poverty have been matters of concern, the various governments have followed market-oriented policies, with steady liberalization in some areas, including telecommunications and divestment of one of the nationalized banks.

A nation of nearly 159 million people, Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The large portions of the country’s population reside in the fertile deltas of the rivers that feed into the Bay of Bengal.  

About a third of Bangladesh floods annually during the monsoon rainy season, hampering economic development. The country’s future growth may be dependent on onshore and offshore gas reserves. Attempts have been made to diversify the country’s economy, with emphasis on industrial development.  Investments have come from overseas to bolster the country’s manufacturing and the energy sector.

However, Bangladesh has come under international scrutiny for mishandling social issues such as traficking of persons for sexual exploitation. More recently, Bangladesh is placed on Tier 2 Watch List because it does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Last updated: August 26, 2010

Sources: BBC, UN Data, International Crisis Group, CIA World Factbook.

    Full Name:  Republic of Bangladesh
    Form of Government:  Parliamentary Democracy
   Year of Independence:  1971 (from West Pakistan)
   Population:  160000000
   Capital:  Dhaka
   Largest City:  Dhaka
   Major Religion:  Muslim 83%, Hindu 16%, other 1% (1998)
   Area:  143,998 sq km (55,598 sq miles)
   Major Languages:  Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English
   Life Expectancy:  65 years (men), 67 years (women)
   Monetary Unit:  1 taka = 100 paisa
   Main Exports:  Garments, fish, jute goods, leather products
   GDP - Per Capita (PPP):  $493.7 (2008 est.)
   Internet Domain:  .bd
   International Dialing Code:  +880