Bangladesh on the world map. Map of Bangladesh with cities
Map of Bangladesh with cities. Where Bangladesh is on the world map. The main geographical facts about Bangladesh - population, country area, capital, official language, religions, industry and culture.
Bangladesh Fact File
Official name People's Republic of Bangladesh
Form of government Republic with single legislative body (National Parliament)
Area 144,000 sq km (55,598 sq miles)
Time zone GMT + 6 hours
Projected population 2015 183,159,000
Population density 926.2 per sq km (2,399.0 per sq mile)
Life expectancy 60.9
Infant mortality (per 1,000) 68.1
Official language Bangla
Other language Other Indo-Aryan as well as Tibeto-Burmese languages, Munda, Mon-Khmer-languages, English
Literacy rate 56%
Religions Muslim 83%, Hindu 16%, other (mainly Buddhist, Christian) 1 %
Ethnic groups Bengali 98%, Biharis and tribal peoples 2 %
Economy Agriculture 57%, services 33%, industry 10%
GNP per capita US$ 1,750
Climate Tropical, with three seasons: cool, dry winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to )une); and cool, wet monsoon ()une to October)
Highest point Mt Keokradong 1,230 m (4,035 ft) Map reference Page 219
Known for tropical cyclones and endemic poverty, the small and densely populated country of Bangladesh lies north of the Bay of Bengal. Most of its frontier is with India and it has a short border with Myanmar (Burma) in the southeast. The name Bangladesh means "the land of the Bengalis", a people who have contributed a great deal to Indian history. Once a part of the Mauryan Empire of the fourth century вс, Bengal has been mainly Muslim since the thirteenth century, though during its more recent history its Muslim people have often been ruled by Hindu overlords. At the time of the partition of India in 1947, this situation led to the founding of East Pakistan, the oriental wing of the Muslim state that was set up following independence from Britain. In 1971 resentment of the power and privileges accorded to West Pakistan resulted in East Pakistan breaking away and forming the independent state of Bangladesh. Since then its history has been one of political coups, dissolved parliaments and civil unrest, compounded by recurring natural disasters. In 1991 the worst cyclone in memory killed over 140,000 people.
Bangladesh is low and flat, its physiography determined by three navigable rivers—the Ganges (Padma), Brahmaputra (Jamuna) and the smaller Meghna. At their confluence they form the biggest delta in the world. The western part of this delta, which is over the border in India, is somewhat higher, and is less subject to flooding. What is called the "active delta"
Bangladeshi women doing agricultural work (top). Bus station in Dacca, Bangladesh (above). The Taksang monastery in Bhutan (right page bottom).
lies in Bangladesh and this region is frequently flooded. During monsoons the water rises as much as 6 m (18 ft) above sea level, submerging two-thirds of the country, and the delta's changing channels are also hazardous to life, health, and property. However, the floods are also beneficial in that they renew soil fertility with silt, some of it washed down from as far away as Tibet. Whole new islands are formed by alluvial deposition, and the highly fertile silt can yield as many as three rice crops a year. The far southeastern region of Chittagong has the only high country in Bangladesh, with forested ridges and rubber plantations.
Bangladesh is a major recipient of international aid. Disbursements of aid are currently running at more than 1,000 times the annual value of foreign investment. Despite the efforts of the international community, however, it remains one of the world's poorest and least developed nations. Rice is the main crop in the country's basically agrarian economy, followed by jute, tea, and sugarcane. Bangladesh is the world's largest supplier of high quality jute. About half the crop is exported in its raw form and the rest is processed for export as hessian, sacking, and carpet backing. A modern paper industry utilizes bamboo from the hills. Other industries include textiles, fertilizer, glass, iron and steel, sugar, cement, and aluminum. Fishing, in the wide net of freshwater rivers and lakes as well as in the Bay of Bengal, is also economically important. An important source of foreign currencies are the money transfers of the many Bangladeshis working abroad. They send substantial amounts to support their families at home. However, there are a number of serious impediments to further progress. They include frequent cyclones and floods, inefficient state-owned enterprises, a labor force growing (as a consequence of a steady population growth) faster than it can be absorbed by agriculture alone, the desolate infrastructure and delays in developing energy resources such as natural gas, which is the only fuel that is gained in any amount worth mentioning. A program intended to achieve a higher liberalization of the economy has been introduced; however, corruption and the meddling and interfering of the military as well as the inertia of political forces have made it hard to bring the program to fruition.
Issues in Bangladesh
After 15 years of military rule multi-party politics returned to Bangladesh in 1990, and the country's first woman prime minister. Begum Khaleda Zia, leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was elected in 1991. However, in the same year the authority of the president was severely curtailed and political factionalism divides the nation. Bangladesh remains politically unstable.
There are few major differences in the national policies of the political parties and the antagonism between them appears to be fuelled largely by the dislike of the country's prominent female politicians for each other (the opposition Awami League is also led by a woman). Despite the fact that women are heading the political system, women in Bangladesh face discrimination in health care, education, and employment. In addition, dowry related violence against women does occur.
Religious divides exist, as elsewhere in the region. Tension between Bangladesh's Hindus and the Muslim majority is a problem, and Buddhist tribes in the southeast are agitating for autonomous rule. Relations with neighboring India are also strained, although in 1996 the countries signed a treaty agreeing to share resources after an Indian dam on the Ganges River reduced water available for irrigation in Bangladesh.
An exodus of refugees from Myanmar (Burma)—as many as 200,000 by early 1992— also stretches Bangladesh's scarce resources.
International aid finances 90 percent of state capital spending and an economic liberalization program has been introduced.