Bangladesh

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Bangladesh FlagVital Statistics

  • Official Name:
    • People’s Republic of Bangladesh
  • Area:
    • 144,000 square kilometers
  • Capital:
    • Dhaka
  • Bangladesh ConstitutionGovernment:
    • parliamentary democracy
  • Currency:
    • Taka (approximately 80 Taka=USD 1)
  • Language:
    • Bangla
  • National Days:
    • National Martyrs Day (February 21)
    • Independence Day (March 21)
    • Victory Day  (December 16)
  • Population:
    • 162 million (2011 Estimate)
  • Ripening RicePrincipal Crop:
    • Rice
  • National Bird:
    • Magpie Robin
  • Fish MarketNational Fish:
    • Hilsa
  • National Fruit:
    • Jackfruit
  • Favorite Meal:
    • Fish Curry
  • Seasons (6 seasons, each 2 months long):

The Land

Sailboat on RiverBangladesh is a beautiful, sub-tropical country crisscrossed by hundreds of rivers and dotted with thousands of small ponds.  This nation sits on the great river deltas that join here and flow south to the Bay of Bengal.  India wraps a giant arm around most of Bangladesh, and Myanmar lies to the southeast.

 

From March to October the climate is hot and humid.  The monsoon rains begin in June and last until October.  The heavy rainfall causes catastrophic floods and storms, while the winter season, November through February, has very little rain; the weather is usually cool and pleasant.

 

Formerly called East Pakistan, Bangladesh was born out of blood and ashes of the War for Independence in 1971.  The new leaders adopted a parliamentary form of government, which is striving to correct the problems of overpopulation, hunger, poverty, disease, unemployment, illiteracy and devastating floods.  Bangladesh continues to be one of the world’s poorest countries.

 

Field IrrigationBangladesh relies heavily on agriculture, fertile soil being its chief natural resource. Because of the warm temperatures year long, farmers can grow up to three crops yearly.  Rice is the major  crop; in fact, Bangladesh is one of the world’s leading rice-growing countries.  Other export products include paper, tea, wood, fish and leather, tobacco, and jute.  The country has also developed burgeoning garment and ceramic industries.

 

The heart of Bangladesh is in its 68,000 rural villages, few of which have plumbing or electricity.  Most Bangladeshis are poor farmers who struggle to feed themselves and their families.  Most landless manual laborers work for less than US $2.00 a day.  Although the lifestyle is quite simple, general living conditions have improved somewhat with the advent of electricity, radio, television, cell phones, internet, and improved farming methods. Money sent home from overseas workers does more for Bangladesh than all foreign aid put together.

 

The People

Children at FairThough this land is small, Bangladesh is home to over 162 million people, making it the most densely populated rural nation in South Asia.  The 2009 census estimates this agricultural nation to be home to 999 people in a square km (2639 people per square mile), half of whom are under the age of 15. 

 

 

 

Ninety-five percent of Bangladesh’s population belongs to the Bengali ethnic group. Cultural arts have flourished for hundreds of years in stories, ballads, poetry, dance, and drama. Bengalis are people-oriented and excel in hospitality.  They spend leisure time chatting with friends and relatives. 

 

 

 

Tripura Girl with BasketBangladesh has several minority ethnic groups.  Many tribal peoples live in the jungle-covered Chittagong Hill Tracts.  Originally these groups migrated from Burma, Thailand, Assam or elsewhere in Southeast Asia.  The largest groups of the southeastern region of Bangladesh include Chakmas, Marmas, Mru, and Tripuras.  Each tribe has its own customs, religion, and culture.  Tribals are traditionally Buddhist or animistic.  None practice Islam nor speak Bangla as their native language.

 

 

 

 

The Religionspie chart displaying religion diversity

The people of Bangladesh are deeply religious.  85% of Bangladeshis are Muslim; 12% are Hindu; 3% are Buddhist; 1/2 of 1% are Christian.  Mosques, temples and shrines to revered saints fill the cities and dot the countryside.  The year is punctuated with religious festivals and holidays.