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Introduction: Europeans began to set up trading posts in the area of Bangladesh in the 16th century; eventually the British came to dominate the region and it became part of British India. In 1947, West Pakistan and East Bengal (both primarily Muslim) separated from India (largely Hindu) and jointly became the new country of Pakistan. East Bengal became East Pakistan in 1955, but the awkward arrangement of a two-part country with its territorial units separated by 1,600 km left the Bengalis marginalized and dissatisfied. East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan in 1971 and was renamed Bangladesh. A military-backed, emergency caretaker...

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Economic Overview: Bangladesh’s economy grew by 6.4 per cent in 2010, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast GDP growth in Bangladesh at 6.3 per cent in 2011. The Bangladesh economy has grown at an average rate of 5 to 6 per cent per year since 1996. However, Bangladesh’s growth rate remains significantly below the levels required to meet the millennium target of halving the number of people below the poverty line by 2015. The Bangladesh economy benefits from strong inflows of foreign aid and remittances.

Sustained economic growth and inwards investment have contributed to a gradual increase in the relative weighting of ...

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People: The area that is now Bangladesh has a rich historical and cultural past, combining Dravidian, Indo-Aryan, Mongol/Mughul, Arab, Persian, Turkic, and west European cultures. Residents of Bangladesh, about 98% of whom are ethnic Bengali and speak Bangla, are called Bangladeshis. Urdu-speaking, non-Bengali Muslims of Indian origin, and various tribal groups, mostly in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, ...

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History: Before the independence of India and Pakistan, the territory formed part of the Indian provinces of Bengal and Assam. Following partition in 1947, East Bengal, with a Muslim majority population, emerged as the eastern wing of Pakistan.

During the period of East and West Pakistan there was a growing sense of Bengali nationalism, stimulated in part by the insensitivity of the central Government in West Pakistan, particularly on language (Urdu was declared the official language although few in East Pakistan spoke it).

In the 1970 General Election, the Awami League (AL), a Bengali nationalist party led by ...

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Bangladesh, formerly the East Wing of Pakistan, emerged as an independent nation in December 1971. The exclamation on the occasion -- "Joi Bangla! Joi Bangla!" (Victory to Bengal! Victory to Bengal!) was a collective and plaintive cry following a particularly bitter and bloody struggle for freedom. These words echoed the cultural and ethnic disposition of the new state -- in short, the ethos of ...

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Area Handbook Series
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