Map - Bangladesh
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Bangladesh ; , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh , is a country in South Asia, located on the fertile Bengal delta. It is bordered by the Republic of India to its north, west and east, by the Union of Myanmar (Burma) to its south-east and by the Bay of Bengal to its south. It is separated from the Democratic Republic of Nepal and the Kingdom of Bhutan by the narrow Indian Siliguri Corridor. Together with the neighbouring Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura, it makes up the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. The name Bangladesh means "Country of Bengal" in the official Bengali language.
The borders of modern Bangladesh took shape during the Partition of Bengal and British India in 1947, when the region became the eastern wing of the newly formed state of Pakistan. Following years of political exclusion, ethnic and linguistic discrimination, and economic neglect by the politically dominant western wing, a surge of popular agitation, nationalism and civil disobedience led in 1971 to the Bangladesh Liberation War, resulting in the separation of the region from Pakistan and the formation of an independent Bangladesh. After independence, the new state proclaimed a secular multiparty democracy. The country then endured decades of poverty, famine, political turmoil and numerous military coups. Since the restoration of democracy in 1991, the country has experienced relative calm and economic progress, though its main political parties remain polarized.
Bangladesh is a parliamentary republic with an elected parliament called the Jatiyo Sangshad. With a population of more than 160 million people in a territory of 56,977 sq mi, Bangladesh is the world's eighth most populous country, as well as one of the world's most densely populated countries. The Bengalis form the country's predominant ethnic group, whereas the indigenous peoples in northern and southeastern districts form a significant and diverse ethnic minority. Bangladesh is dominated by the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta and is subject to annual monsoon floods and cyclones. The delta has a rich and diverse cultural heritage. The four largest religions in the country are Islam (89%), Hinduism (9%), Buddhism (1%) and Christianity (0.5%).
Bangladesh is identified as a Next Eleven economy. According to the United Nations in 2010, the country is making major strides in human development, including significant progress in the areas of gender equity, universal primary education, the empowerment of women, reducing population growth, food production, health and renewable energy. The poverty rate has declined considerably since independence, and per-capita income has doubled from 1975 levels. Major cities such as Dhaka and Chittagong have been the driving forces behind much of the recent growth. However, the country continues to face a number of major political and social challenges, including endemic bureaucratic and political corruption, widespread poverty, political instability, overpopulation and vulnerability to global climate change.
Bangladesh is a pioneer and founding member of SAARC. It is the world’s largest contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations. It is a founding member of the Developing 8 Countries and BIMSTEC and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the OIC, the NAM and the G-77.
Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 US (Author : Oona Raisanen)
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