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Bangladesh Information - Page 2
The area which is now Bangladesh has been under the control of many different empires.

In the fourteenth century, armies of Timur, also known as Tamburlaine, (Uzbekistan) conquered Bengal; in the sixteenth century the Mughal Empire extended its control to the area. Bobur, a descendant of Genghis Khan, was the first of the Mughal monarchs, ruling from 1526 to 1530. Dhaka became the capital of the province in 1608.

European involvement began with the Portuguese in the fifteenth century. In 1600, the Queen of England, Elizabeth I, gave the monopoly of British trade with India to the East India Company. After the Battle of Plassey in 1757 the Company became the real rulers of Bengal. Following the "Indian Mutiny", or the First War of Independence, in 1857, the British Government took control of the country away from the East India Company.

After World War II there was a demand for India's independence from the British Empire. Independence was granted to India in 1947. The Muslim League had pressed for a separate Muslim state which also led to the creation of Pakistan. Pakistan was in effect two separate countries: West Pakistan between Iran and the western border of India and East Pakistan on the eastern side of India.

The first step towards independence for the Eastern Wing of Pakistan (later Bangladesh) was the Language Movement of 1952 which aimed to recognize Bangla as a state language. Political and economic problems prompted Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, known as the Father of the Nation, to put forward his six points which in effect were the structure for East Pakistan's future independence.

In the 1970 elections the Awami League emerged as a major party in the Pakistan Parliament. However, the ruling military did not allow the party to form a government. After a period of civil unrest and civil war Bangladesh became a separate country (1971). Thus Pakistan became two separate countries: Pakistan in the West and Bangladesh in the East.

Bangladesh has suffered from economic difficulties. This was not always so: the Bay of Bengal was a centre of maritime trade in the sixteenth century.

The rivers are an important means of communication and transport, although travel is difficult when flooding occurs.

Bangladesh's annual floods bring benefits as well as danger: the flooding rivers deposit rich silt on the fields, renewing their fertility. Farmers grow their crops on mounds built above the level of the floodwaters. All the land suitable for growing agricultural produce is under cultivation so there is no room to grow more crops. New farming technology is the only way to increase the yield of food grown in the country.

Bangladesh's working population relies heavily on agriculture. Rice is grown as a staple food and other agricultural produce includes wheat, sugarcane, oilseeds, pulses, potatoes, bananas, coconuts, mangoes, spices and tobacco. Tea is an major export. Fish and shellfish, such as shrimps and prawns, are a cash crop.

Other important industries are forestry and the exploitation of the country's resources of natural gas and coal.

Bangladesh is developing its industrial base. Jute (used for sacks, carpet backing, and similar coarse materials) is manufactured in modern mills as well as made by villagers. The production of paper newsprint, clothing, processed food, chemical fertilizer, light engineering and cement are all important to the economy.

Money remitted from Bangladeshis working abroad is an important source of foreign exchange. (2009)

There are many artists from Bangladesh such as Murtaza Baseer, Mohammed Kibria and Abdur Razzak.

Bangladesh has a proud literary heritage. One well known writer, Rabindranath Tagore, who wrote poems, plays and novels in Bengali, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 and was knighted by the British.

Sports such as cricket, hockey and football are popular in Bangladesh. Badminton, basketball and tennis are also played. Swimming in the rivers and coastal waters is a popular pastime.

All religious holy days are observed. Other public holidays include Independence Day on 16 March, National Revolution Day on 7 November and Liberation Day on 16 December.

News is available from Newslink.

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