Bangladesh (/ˌbæŋɡləˈdɛʃ, ˌbɑːŋ-/; Bengali: বাংলাদেশ Bangladesh [ˈbaŋladeʃ] (listen), <small>lit.</small> "The country of Bengal"), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh (গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ Gônoprojatontri Bangladesh), is a country in South Asia. It shares land borders with India and Myanmar. Bangladesh is the 92nd-largest sovereign state in the world, with an area of 147,570 square kilometres (56,980 sq mi). It is also the world's 8th-most populous country, as well as one of its most densely-populated. Dhaka is its capital and largest city, and is also the economic, political and the cultural center of Bangladesh, followed by Chittagong, which has the country's largest port. Bangladesh forms the largest and eastern part of the Bengal region. The country's geography is dominated by the Bengal delta, the largest delta in the world. The country has many rivers and 8,046 km (5,000 mi) of inland waterways. Highlands with evergreen forests are found in the northeastern and southeastern regions of the country. The country also has the longest sea beach and the largest mangrove forest in the world. The country's biodiversity includes a vast array of plants and wildlife, including the endangered Bengal tiger, the national animal.
In the ancient and classical period of the Indian subcontinent, the territory of Bangladesh was home to many principalities, including Gangaridai, Vanga, Pundra, Gauda, Samatata and Harikela. It was also a Mauryan province. The principalities were notable for their overseas trade, which involved contacts with the Roman world, the export of fine muslin and silk to the Middle East, and spreading philosophy and art to Southeast Asia. The principalities dominated the Bengal delta with powerful navies. The Pala Empire, the Chandra dynasty and the Sena dynasty were the last pre-Islamic Bengali middle kingdoms.
Islam became the largest religion in Bengal during the period spanning the Delhi Sultanate and the Bengal Sultanate. During the Mughal era, described as the "Paradise of Nations", Bengal Subah generated 12% of the world's GDP, larger than the entirety of western Europe. The province of eastern Bengal alone accounted for 40% of Dutch imports from Asia. The region was later administered by the United Kingdom as part of the Bengal Presidency (1757–1905; 1912–1947) and Eastern Bengal and Assam Province (1905–1912) in British India. During British India notable personalities of Bengal Renaissance played a pivotal role in the anti-colonial movement. Bengal had the largest GDP in the British Raj. In 1947, the Bengal Legislative Council and the Bengal Legislative Assembly voted on the Partition of Bengal, while a referendumcaused the Sylhet region to join East Bengal. The area became part of the Dominion of Pakistan and was renamed East Pakistan. Beginning with the Bengali Language Movement in 1952, the pro-democracy movement in East Pakistan thrived on Bengali nationalism, resulting in the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.
Bangladeshis include people from a range of ethnic groups and religions. Bengalis, who speak the official Bengali language, make up 98% of the population. The politically dominant Bengali Muslims make the nation the world's third largest Muslim-majority country. While recognising Islamas the country's established religion, the constitution grants freedom of religion to non-Muslims. A middle power, Bangladesh is a unitaryparliamentary democracy and constitutional republic in the Westminster tradition. The country is divided into eight administrative divisions and sixty-four districts. It is one of the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world, and is listed among the Next Eleven countries. It has one of the fastest real GDP growth rates in the world. Its gross domestic product ranks 39th largest in the world in terms of market exchange rates and 29th in purchasing power parity. Its per capita income ranks 143th and 136th in two measures. In the field of human development, it made substantial progress. The country continues to face challenging problems, including poverty, corruption, terrorism, illiteracy, and inadequate public healthcare. Bangladesh is a member of the UN, the WTO, the Commonwealth of Nations, the IMF, the World Bank, the ADB, the OIC, the IDB, the SAARC, the BIMSTEC and the IMCTC.
The etymology of Bangladesh (Country of Bengal) can be traced to the early 20th century, when Bengali patriotic songs, such as Namo Namo Namo Bangladesh Momo by Kazi Nazrul Islam and Aaji Bangladesher Hridoy by Rabindranath Tagore, used the term. The term Bangladesh was often written as two words, Bangla Desh, in the past. Starting in the 1950s, Bengali nationalists used the term in political rallies in East Pakistan. The term Bangla is a major name for both the Bengal region and the Bengali language. The earliest known usage of the term is the Nesari plate in 805 AD. The term Vangaladesa is found in 11th-century South Indian records.
The term gained official status during the Sultanate of Bengal in the 14th century. Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah proclaimed himself as the first "Shah of Bangala" in 1342. The word Bangla became the most common name for the region during the Islamic period. The Portuguese referred to the region as Bengala in the 16th century.
The exact origin of the word Bangla is unknown, though it is believed to come from "Bung/Bang", a son of Hind (son of Hām who was a son of Noah) who colonised the area for the first time.The suffix "al" came to be added to it from the fact that the ancient rajahs of this land raised mounds of earth 10 feet high and 20 in breadth in lowlands at the foot of the hills which were called "al". From this suffix added to the Bung, the name Bengal arose and gained currency". This is also mentioned in Ghulam Husain Salim's Riyaz-us-Salatin.
Other theories point to a Bronze Age proto-Dravidian tribe, the Austric word "Bonga" (Sun god), and the Iron Age Vanga Kingdom. The Indo-Aryan suffix Desh is derived from the Sanskrit word deśha, which means "land" or "country". Hence, the name Bangladesh means "Land of Bengal" or "Country of Bengal".