Located in South Asia, Bangladesh became an independent country in 1971. It forms a significant part of the region of Bengal. It shares a lot of features with India ranging from the origin to cultural beliefs. Despite being a densely populated country in the world, most of the population speaks the same language.
What’s impressive is the fact that the country has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with the current GDP ranked 39th worldwide. The per capita income, however, is 143rd largest. Here are some of the most mind-blowing facts about Bangladesh.
1. Its capital is the most densely populated on earth
Before we move on, it’s worth stating that by density, we mean the ratio of the geographical area to the number of people. For instance, Russia covers the largest area on earth, but the population is quite low (144 million) in comparison. Now, consider Dhaka – Bangladesh’s capital city – which is reported to have at least 44,000 people in every square kilometer.
It is one of the factors that make Dhaka the 5th largest city worldwide. However, when put into perspective, it really isn’t the most positive fact about Bangladesh. You can imagine the commotion that one will have to adapt to when visiting the city. In fact, to show how bad things are, the tenth-largest city hosts under 10,000 people in every square kilometer.
2. Bangladesh is former East Pakistan
Sometimes people confuse between Indians, Pakistanis, and Bandgladeshis because of the unlimited similarities. Well, that’s because they all originated from one country, British India or British Raj. This region was under the rule of Queen Victoria up until 1947 when the British Colonial Government came to an end.
The subcontinent was then divided into two countries, which split in the same year to the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. The former is the present Republic of India, while the latter was later partitioned 24 years later. Since 1948, the Bangladeshi culture – predominant in the eastern part of the country – was oppressed. As such, East Pakistan split from West Pakistan in 1971, forming two countries – Bangladesh and Pakistan.
3. The longest-serving female prime minister leads Bangladesh
It might come as a surprise given the position of women in the Islamic culture, but Sheikh Hasina has defied the odds. She is by far the most active female politician in the country. Perhaps that’s down to the fact that her father was the nation’s first president. Having began her career in the 20th century, Sheikh Hasina has held some of the highest posts in Bangladesh.
Her most significant breakthrough came in 1996 when she took office as the country’s Prime Minister. Her term, however, came to an end in 2001, but that was not the end. She was reelected eight years later, and she is still in office at the time of writing this article (2020), a fun fact about Bangladesh. Her third and fourth reelections (2014 and 2018), however, attracted a lot of criticism owing to claims that the results were rigged.
4. It has a UNESCO-listed mangrove ecosystem
This is one fact that sparks both sadness and happiness because of the work of nature. First, before this ecosystem came to existence, it took a lot of soil deposits, which is something that still happens even today. The annual summer rains come with a lot of tragedies for the citizens of Bangladesh.
For one, a lot of flooding is experienced, but it has a silver lining attached to it. These occurrences lead to soil deposits, and that has since created one of the most fertile lands in the world. As such, it comes as no surprise that UNESCO has listed the site as one of the most extensive forests in the world, covering an area of 140,000 hectares.
5. Bangla is the reason for International Mother Language Day
Every year we have several things to celebrate about and one – which might not be popular – is the International Mother Language Day. It is celebrated on the 21st day of every February to mark the death of Bangladeshi students who died protesting for their language.
As earlier stated, Bangladeshi culture faced a lot of oppression from the Pakistani government between 1848 and 1971. In 1952, the government ruled that Bangla was not allowed as an official language, and that did not go well with the people on the eastern side of the country. As such, Bangladeshi students protested against this move, and they ended up losing their lives hence the annual commemoration.
6. It has the third-longest beach in the world
A fun fact about Bangladesh is that this country boasts of the longest uninterrupted beach in Asia. The stretch runs for about 120km, which is the third-longest on earth. There are a lot of things to enjoy while at Cox Bazar beach, but it’s not your typical type of beach. Since it is mostly used by the Muslim community (which has one of the most conservative cultures), you’ll rarely see any bikinis. Swimmers go into the water with most of their bodies covered in clothes – quite surprising, right?
7. Bangladesh is home to the innovator of microcredits
In the modern economy, especially in developing countries, microcredit has become one of the big players. In such systems, one can borrow as low as less than $100 for emergency expenses. Although it has become very popular in the 21st century, this form of crediting started way back in 1976 by a Bangladeshi, Muhammad Yunus.
Bangladeshis pride themselves as one of the greatest innovators in the finance arena. Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank, which was an expansion of his microcredit business. In 2006, Muhammad Yunus, together with his bank, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as an appreciation for their efforts to help people develop through microcredit finance, an interesting fact about Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is one of the fastest-developing economies in the world. Considering the tragedies that it had to go through while still under Pakistan, you’ve got to appreciate how much the country has developed. Some years back, it was regarded as one of the poorest countries, but it is determined to scratch off that part of the history.
I hope that this article on Bangladesh facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!