Bangladesh, officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India and Burma and by the Bay of Bengal to the south. The capital (and largest city) is Dhaka, located in central Bangladesh. The official state language is Bengali. The name Bangladesh means "Country of Bengal".
The People's Republic of Bangladesh is one of the world's most densely populated countries. Apart from the hilly regions in the far NE and SE, most of the land is flat and covered by fertile alluvium spread over the land by the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers. Floods occur, seasonally, around these rivers and along the coast, 575km [357mi] long, when tropical cyclones (the name for hurricanes in this region) drive seawater inland.
Bangladesh has a typical monsoon climate characterized by rain-bearing winds, moderately warm temperatures, and high humidity.Storms of very high intensity often occur early in the summer (in April and May) and late in the monsoon season (September to October, and sometimes November). These disturbances may produce winds with speeds exceeding 100 miles (160 km) per hour, and they may generate waves in the Bay of Bengal that crest as high as 20 feet (6 metres) before crashing with tremendous force onto the coastal areas and the offshore islands, causing heavy losses of life and property.
On 26 March 1971, Bangladesh became independent from East Pakistan. Bangladesh became a sovereign state with its own parliament, the Jatiyo Sangsad, on 17 December 1971 and adopted the taka as its currency.
The region has produced large quantities of agricultural goods, including much of the world’s jute, but has never received substantial investment in such basic items as transportation facilities and industrial plants. Bangladesh’s per capita gross domestic product in the early 2000s was only about $2300 per year, among the lowest in the world. In the early 2000s the annual national operating budget was estimated a close to $7 billion in expenditures; the public debt was about 40% of GDP.
The national language, Bengali, of the Indo-European family, is the first language of more than 98% of the population. It is written in its own script, derived from that of Sanskrit. Urdu is the language of several hundred thousand persons, many of whom emigrated from India in the late 1940s. A number of languages akin to Burmese are also spoken.
Poverty declined from 57% of the population in 1990 to 31.5% in 2010. Broad-based private sector led growth and macroeconomic stability contributed to significant decline in rural and urban poverty. Bangladesh is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015.
The majority of Bangladeshis are Muslim. However, most still very much mix this with pre-Islam folk traditions. There is a strong tradition of music, dance, and literature that includes classical devotions of Hindu and Muslim music.
The literacy rate in Bangladesh is very low, with significant disparity between female and male literacy rates. However, with the inception of Universal Primary Education program, the literacy rates have been going up. The education system is broken down into 4 levels, primary from grades 1 to 5, secondary from grades 6 to 10, higher secondary from from grades 11 to 12, and tertiary.
Cricket is enormously popular in Bangladesh, and Indian satellite TV is practically nonstop. The national sport of Bangladesh is kabaddi, in which two teams battle each other by capturing members of the opposing team. Women do not play much sport, except for badminton, which is one of the country's most popular sports.
There are two major political parties in Bangladesh: the Awami League (AL), and the Bangladesh National Party (BNP). The influence of Islam on politics is a source of contention within the governance structure of the country. on first glance, Bangladesh's political system might seem incomprehensible to outsiders, but given the historical backdrop of the country such confusion is not unexpected and is evidence that the country has yet much progress to make.