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গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ

Gaṇaprajātantrī Bāṃlādeś
People's Republic of Bangladesh
Flag of Bangladesh
Coat of arms of Bangladesh
flag emblem
Official language Bengali
Capital Dhaka
State and form of government parliamentary republic
Head of state President
Abdul Hamid
Head of government Prime Minister
Hasina Wajed
surface 147,570 km²
population 164.7 million (2020)
Population density 1240 inhabitants per km²
Population development +1.0% (estimate for 2019)
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nom.)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 303 billion ( 42nd )
  • $ 869 billion ( 31. )
  • 1,816 USD ( 151. )
  • 5,217 USD ( 143. )
Human Development Index 0.632 ( 133th ) (2019)
currency Taka (BDT)
independence March 26, 1971 (from Pakistan )
National anthem Amar Shonar Bangla
National holiday March 26th ( Independence Day )
December 16th ( Victory Day )
Time zone UTC + 6
License Plate BD
ISO 3166 BD , BGD, 050
Internet TLD .bd
Phone code +880
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Physical-political map of Bangladesh
Physical-political map of Bangladesh
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Bangladesh ( Bengali বাংলাদেশ Bāṃlādeś [ˈbaŋlaˌd̪eʃ] ; composition of bangla 'Bengali' and desch 'country') is a state in South Asia . It borders the Gulf of Bengal to the south, Myanmar to the southeast and is also enclosed by the Indian states of Meghalaya , Tripura , West Bengal , Mizoram and Assam . With around 165 million inhabitants (2017) on an area of ​​147,570 km², it ranks eighth among the largest countries in the world in terms of population and seventh among the countries in terms of population density . In terms of area, however, it ranks 92nd among the medium-sized countries. The capital Dhaka is one of the fastest growing megacities in the world; other megacities are Chittagong and Khulna .

Bangladesh occupies the eastern part of the historical region of Bengal , which became the eastern part of Pakistan in 1947 when British India was divided under the name East Pakistan due to the Muslim majority of the population . In 1971, as a result of the Bangladesh War , East Pakistan gained its independence under the name of Bangladesh . The name of a citizen of the country is Bangladeshi .

The country is naturally shaped by the monsoons , the delta of the rivers Brahmaputra , Ganges and Meghna with their extensive marshland and Sundarbans as well as its location by the sea and the mostly flat lowlands. The combination of these features ensures frequent floods and severe flooding in the densely populated country. Rising global sea ​​levels are likely to exacerbate the problems.

Thanks to an economic upswing, Bangladesh was able to improve its social and economic indicators significantly, but it still ranks among the poorest countries on the Asian continent. Thanks to its growing economy and young population, it is now one of the up-and-coming next-eleven markets. The United Nations Development Program classifies Bangladesh as a country with medium human development.


Bangladesh borders the Indian states of West Bengal , Assam , Meghalaya , Tripura and Mizoram (clockwise, starting in the west) as well as Myanmar and the Bay of Bengal (part of the Indian Ocean ). The total length of the border is 4246 km, of which 193 km with Myanmar and 4053 km with India. The coastline is 580 km.

Natural space

Most of Bangladesh is formed by the delta of the Brahmaputra , Ganges and Meghna rivers ; a swamp area criss-crossed by many oxbow lakes, ponds and small islands, which is regularly inundated by river floods during the monsoon season . Around 90 percent of Bangladesh consists of flat lowlands, and the capital Dhaka is only six meters above sea level. Only the southeastern part of the country with the hills and mountains of the Chittagong Hill Tracts deviates from this appearance.


Since the natural tree population has been largely decimated in the course of intensive arable farming, only 15 percent of the land is forested. Tropical rainforests exist mainly in the south-eastern hill country, while extensive mangrove vegetation predominates in the catchment area of ​​the river deltas . These areas called Sundarbans (after the up to 25 m high Sundari trees ) are the largest mangrove forests on earth with an area of ​​about 10,000 km². They make up around half of the remaining forest area in the country.


The climate of Bangladesh is tropical with increasing rainfall from west to east. Bangladesh is in the area of ​​influence of the southwest monsoon, so that an average of 1500 to 2250 mm annual rainfall is reached. In the east, at the foot of the Tripura Lushai Mountains, 3,000 to 4,000 mm fall. There is the Mowdok Mual, the highest point in Bangladesh ( 1045  m ). More than half of the annual precipitation falls from June to August. In March / April and October there are frequent tropical cyclones over the Bay of Bengal with often catastrophic consequences, as the associated floods inundate large parts of the country. A fifth of the country is inundated annually, and in extreme floods it is 35%. The average daily maximum temperature is 25 ° C in January and 35 ° C in April. The rest of the year the temperature is 30 ° C. In Bangladesh there are three distinct seasons: from late May to early October the monsoon season, from mid-October to late February the "cool" season and the "hot" season between March 15 and May 15.

Effects of climate change

Bangladesh is particularly affected by global warming : Due to the geographic conditions - the majority of the country is only slightly higher than sea level - the large population of around 160 million people and the fact that the population only lives on a small area of ​​land 80% of the population lives below the poverty line, there are special challenges to adapt to the consequences of global warming . If the sea ​​level rises by one meter without coastal protection measures, around 18% of the entire area of ​​Bangladesh would be inundated, causing around 38 million people to lose their homes and become climate refugees . In the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC from 2013, an increase of between 0.26 m and 0.98 m was expected by the year 2100, depending on the underlying scenario, and a further increase for the following centuries due to the long-term effects of greenhouse gas emissions. In the long term, it is assumed that the sea level will rise by around 2.3 m per additional degree Celsius of warming. The actual sea level rise in the region is 1.06 - 1.75 mm p. a. From 1977 to 2010 Bangladesh grew by 169 km² net due to changes in the coastline.

Due to the rising sea level, an increasing inland salinization of groundwater and arable land can be observed. In addition, around 65% of the population live in the river delta, which is often affected by flooding . Due to the increased melting of the Himalayan glaciers and a change in precipitation in the catchment area of ​​the rivers as a result of global warming, the risk of flooding will increase in the future. In the north-west, on the other hand, there would be a decline in precipitation and more severe drought, which in turn would impair the water supply there. Both soil salinization and changes in the monsoons are expected to decrease crop yields by up to 30% by 2050. Since social tensions already exist in the affected area and the climate change-induced migration towards Dhaka and other urban centers leads to an overload of urban infrastructures, it is also feared that these will develop into open violent conflicts due to the deteriorated living conditions as a result of climate change. Conflicts over fertile areas in rural Bangladesh are also linked to climate change. Indigenous peoples such as the Santal or the residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts are often victims of attacks. In 2019, it was forecast that by 2030, Bangladesh's gross domestic product will shrink by 4.3% due to climate change. The consequences will particularly affect already disadvantaged population groups.

Natural disasters

Due to its location near the equator by the sea in a tectonically turbulent zone (relative to the Himalayas), Bangladesh is hit by natural disasters at irregular intervals. These include cyclones and the storm surges that are sometimes associated with them, as well as landslides and earthquakes.

Route of the 1970 Bhola cyclone, the most devastating cyclone in Bangladesh in the 20th century
Larger recent cyclones in Bangladesh
date Max. Wind speed
(km / h)
Height of the
storm surge (m)
May 11, 1965 161 3,7 07,6 19,279
15th Dec 1965 217 2.4 03.6 873
1st Oct 1966 139 6.0- 06.7 850
Nov 12, 1970 ( Bhola ) 224 6.0-10.0 approx. 300,000
May 25, 1985 (1B) 154 3.0- 04.6 11,069
Apr 29, 1991 ( 02B ) 225 6.0- 07.6 138,882
May 19, 1997 (01B) 232 3,1 04,6 155
Nov 15, 2007 ( Sidr ) 223 3,363
May 25, 2009 ( Aila ) 092 190


The king or Bengal tiger is one of the national animals of Bangladesh.

Deer, bears, leopards, rhesus monkeys and elephants can be found in the rainforests near Chittagong . A total of around 750 species of birds, 250 species of mammals and 150 different reptiles and amphibians are known in Bangladesh. The country's reptiles include crocodiles, pythons and cobras. In addition, around 250 species of freshwater fish live in the waters of Bangladesh and around 350 species of marine fish live on the coast; Fishermen on the hunt for lobster and shrimp often bring home a large catch, which on the one hand serves as food for the local population and on the other hand is also used for export. Probably the best-known animal of Bangladesh, the Bengal tiger, even Indian or Bengal tiger called. This species of tiger lives in the southeast of Bengal. Male specimens can grow to a length of 3 meters, weigh a quarter of a ton and reach a shoulder height of one meter. Red and gold fur with black stripes is the hallmark of this tiger, whose belly area is colored white. White Bengal tigers have also been spotted here and there. Bengal tigers eat around nine kilos of meat a day. An estimated 670 tigers live in the protected mangrove forest area of ​​the Sundarbans in Bangladesh .

Administrative structure

Chittagong (Division) Barishal (Division) Khulna (Division) Rajshahi (Division) Sylhet (Division) Rangpur (Division) Dhaka (Division) Maimansingh (Division) Myanmar Indien Nepal Bhutan
Administrative units of Bangladesh
Administrative division into districts and sub-districts (Upazilas) in 2013

Bangladesh is divided into eight administrative units ( divisions ) , which in turn in 64 districts ( Districts ) , divided areas are subdivided. The districts are further subdivided into districts ( Upazilas ). All divisions are named after their capital.

The divisions are:

Divisions of Bangladesh 2017
division Capital Area in km² Population 2016 Population
density Ew./km²
Barishal Barishal 13,297 9,145,000 688
Chittagong Chittagong 33,771 31,980,000 947
Dhaka Dhaka 20,551 40,171,000 1,955
Khulna Khulna 22,272 17,252,000 775
Maimansingh Maimansingh 10,569 12,368,000 1,170
Rajshahi Rajshahi 18,197 20,412,000 1,122
Rangpur Rangpur 16,317 17,602,000 1,079
Sylhet Sylhet 12,596 11,291,000 896

In 2015, the Bangladeshi government announced that two more new divisions would be formed, Faridpur from parts of Dhaka and Kumilla from parts of Chittagong.


The capital Dhaka , the largest city in the country before Chittagong and Khulna, had 5,378,023 inhabitants in the city proper (9,912,908 in the agglomeration ) at the census on January 22, 2001 . In 2010 the number of residents is estimated at around 15 million. Almost half of them live in slums. As one of the fastest growing cities in the world, Dhaka is one of the megacities .

The biggest cities are (2011 census):

  1. Dhaka : 8,906,039 inhabitants
  2. Chittagong : 2,592,439 residents
  3. Khulna : 1,400,000 inhabitants (2014 census)
  4. Rajshahi : 448,087 inhabitants
  5. Sylhet : 369,425 inhabitants (2007 census)


Population pyramid 2016: The birth rate in Bangladesh fell significantly


Fertility rate
(children per woman)
in Bangladesh 1950–2020
Time period Fertility rate
1950-55 6.36
1955-60 6.62
1960-65 6.80
1965-70 6.92
1970-75 6.91
1975-80 6.63
1980-85 5.98
1985-90 4.98
1990-95 4.06
1995-2000 3.43
2000-05 2.93
2005-10 2.48
2010-15 2.23
2015-20 2.05
Population development (in millions)
Population density according to the 2011 census

With nearly 165 million inhabitants (2020) is Bangladesh in the list of country populations in eighth place and with a population density of 1,084.2 people per square kilometer of the most populated densely surface state of the world. For a long time, Bangladesh had a high birth rate. Through self-help initiatives of the population, which were supported by development aid organizations, the total fertility rate could be reduced between 1979 and 1999 from 7.0 to 3.3 children per woman. According to United Nations estimates, the total fertility rate in the 5-year period between 2015 and 2020 was only around 2.05 children. According to a forecast by the United Nations, the population will grow to over 200 million by 2050 and then begin to stagnate.

Surveys from 1999 showed that the people in Bangladesh, with 3.3 children per woman at the time, had far more children than they actually wanted (on average only 2.3 children). Due to the widespread poverty in Bangladesh , some women did not have access to safe and effective family planning methods.

In 2017 0.9% of the population was born abroad. During the riots against Rohingya in neighboring Myanmar, around 850,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh by the end of 2017. Bangladesh itself is a country of emigration. In 2016, 7.5 million native Bangladeshis lived abroad, mostly in India, the Arab Gulf States, the United States and Europe.

In 2011, 28.4 percent of the population lived in cities. According to World Bank figures, poverty in Bangladesh fell from 48.9% to 24.3% of the population between 2000 and 2018, while extreme poverty fell from 33.7% to 12.9%.

In almost all parts of the country the population density is over 500 inhabitants / km². Only in the districts around Chittagong (except Cox's Bazar ) is it between 75 inhabitants / km² and 500 inhabitants / km². The areas with the highest population density include Narsingdi and Narayanganj with over 2000 inhabitants / km² and the capital Dhaka with more than 7000 inhabitants / km².


In contrast to the other countries in South Asia , Bangladesh is ethnically relatively uniform: Bengali , which is one of the Indo-Aryan languages , is spoken by around 98% of the population as their mother tongue. The Bengali language played a central role in the struggle for independence and, as the country's official language, is still of great importance for national identity today.

English is widespread among the middle and upper classes as an educational language and is used as an administrative and business language - in contrast to neighboring India, however, English has no official status as an official language. A total of 39 different languages ​​and idioms are spoken.

The Bihari (1%) are one of the few minorities who came to what was then East Pakistan from Bihar due to religious conflicts following the division of British India when it gained independence . They mostly speak Urdu . There are also two matrilineal minorities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the south-east and north of the country : the Khasi (the Khasi is a Mon-Khmer language ) and the Garo (the Garo is a Tibetan-Burmese language ). Both ethnic groups were separated from their tribal communities in the neighboring Indian state of Meghalaya when the border was drawn in 1972.


Source: 2011 census
The Bait ul-Mokarram in Dhaka is Bangladesh's largest mosque
Shiva temple within the Dhakeshwari temple complex
Buddhist Temple ( Buddha Dhatu Zadi ) in Balaghata, Bandarban District
Gable cross of the Roman Catholic present-day Holy Rosary's Church ("Church of the Holy Rosary") in Dhaka, founded by Portuguese missionaries in 1677


The majority of the population, around 90 percent, profess Islam . A large part of them are Sunni , with Shiites in a minority. Islam is the state religion in Bangladesh. A procedure to delete this passage from the constitution, which had been pending for 28 years, was rejected by the state's high court in 2016. The Hinduism is nearly nine percent and Buddhism represented less than one percent. In the longer historical overview, the relative proportion of Muslims has continuously increased, while the proportion of Hindus has decreased. According to the official population statistics of 1941, ie in the last census year before the partition of India, 70.3% Muslims and 28.0% Hindus lived in the area that would later become Bangladesh. After Bangladesh gained independence in 1974, the figure was 85.4 percent Muslim and 13.5 percent Hindu, compared to 90.4 percent and 8.5 percent in 2011. The divisions Khulna , Rangpur and Sylhet had the highest proportion of Hindus in all statistical surveys since 1974 (in 2011 between 12.8 and 14.1%). Most of the Buddhists live in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and in 2011 made up about 3 percent of the population in the Chittagong Division.

Religions in Bangladesh 1974–2011
Total population
(in 1000)
Muslims Hindus Buddhists Christians Other
(in 1000)
% Number
(in 1000)
% Number
(in 1000)
% Number
(in 1000)
% Number
(in 1000)
1974 071,478 061,039 85.4 09,673 13.5 439 0.6 216 0.3 111 0.2
1981 087,120 075,487 86.7 10,570 12.1 538 0.6 275 0.3 250 0.3
1991 106,315 093,881 88.3 11,179 10.5 623 0.6 346 0.3 286 0.3
2001 124,355 111,393 89.6 11,608 09.3 774 0.6 389 0.3 191 0.2
2011 144.044 130.205 90.4 12,300 08.5 890 0.6 447 0.3 202 0.2


Islam as the state religion versus secularism

The first constitution of Bangladesh from 1972 enshrined secularism as one of its basic principles. After the assassination of President Mujibur Rahman in 1975, the military regime (1975–1977) under General Ziaur Rahman replaced the term “secularism” with the passage “Absolute trust and belief in Almighty Allah should be Be the basis of all actions ”. On June 9, 1988, the Bangladeshi parliament, which was completely under the influence of the military regime of General Ershad , passed the 8th Amendment to the Constitution, in which Islam was declared the state religion of Bangladesh. The addition read: "The state religion is Islam, but other religions can also be practiced in peace and harmony in the republic." The religious minorities in the country and the opposition Awami League protested in vain against this departure from the principle of secularism. These regulations initially remained untouched after the end of the military government in 1990.

On August 29, 2005, the Bangladesh Supreme Court ruled that military governments were illegal between August 15, 1975 and April 9, 1979. This also annulled the 5th amendment to the constitution introduced by this and the secular constitution in the form from 1972 was restored in these sections. Representatives of the two then conservative governing parties, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami, objected to this and went into revision. However, on February 3, 2010, the Appeals Department of the Supreme Court reiterated the previous decision, thereby eliminating the 5th Amendment. The judgment was published on July 28, 2010.

The 8th amendment to the constitution (Islam as the state religion) remained unaffected by this judgment. Critics described it as a contradiction if, on the one hand, the state defined itself as secular, but on the other hand, Islam should be the state religion, and they also called for the 8th amendment to be repealed. In 2011, the Supreme Court even asked the government to justify why the eighth amendment should continue to exist after the fifth was repealed. As early as 1988, 15 prominent figures from Bangladesh had brought a constitutional complaint against it. The complaint made no progress for a long time, but was reactivated again after the 2010 ruling. In a brief hearing before the Supreme Court on March 27, 2016, the court dismissed the complaint and confirmed the further validity of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution.

Role of Islam in legislation and society, other religions

Sufism is widespread among Muslims , and the Tablighi Jamaat also has a large following in Bangladesh. The influence of Islamic fundamentalists has also been growing since the 1980s .

At the beginning of the 20th century, 33.9 percent of the population were Hindus. Since then, this proportion has fallen sharply. Before the partition of India in 1947, 28 percent of the population were Hindu, but then almost four million Hindus fled to India. During the war of independence in 1971, the Pakistani army and the local Islamist militias that supported it, acted particularly brutally against the religious minorities who were collectively accused of supporting the independence movement. Many Hindus were among the at least 500,000 dead (maximum estimates up to 3 million) in the war.

About 0.3 percent of the population belong to Christianity (mostly Roman Catholic). Animism is rather rare; its share is estimated at around 0.1 percent.

Although Islam has some role in legislation, there is no formal implementation of Sharia law in Bangladesh . Islamic legal concepts only apply to Muslims. Family law differs somewhat between the individual religions. Male Muslims are allowed to take up to four wives with the written consent of the first wife. This seldom happens in reality, and there is strong social pressure against polygamy . Hindus are only allowed to divorce under certain conditions (involuntary childlessness, abuse, mental illness). Hindu widows are allowed to legally remarry. There are also no legal restrictions on marriages of people of different religions. However, the legal provisions can only be used if the marriage has been officially registered, which is not an obligation. The many child marriages are criticized. Over 60% of girls are married before they have reached the legal age of 18 years. A change in the law in 2017 stipulates that girls can be married off immediately after their birth.

Members of religious minorities are also represented in the government of Bangladesh (in 2012, 5 out of 51 ministers were non-Muslim: 2 Buddhists, 2 Hindus, 1 Christian). Non-Muslims are also represented in higher administration. However, there are no official statistics that allow a statement to be made about the extent to which these minorities are represented in accordance with their share of the population.

The Vested Property Act of the 1960s, which was in force until 2001, allowed the government to expropriate land from "enemies of the country" (in practice these were practically exclusively Hindus). Typically these were Hindus who had fled to India and whose supposedly ownerless land was confiscated by the state. As a result, 2.6 million acres (10,500 km²) came into government ownership over the years . The affected Hindus tried to take legal action to regain their land. With the Vested Properties Return (Amendment) Bill in 2011, the government was required to publish lists of confiscated land that can be used to make claims for restitution.


Islamist political parties have received up to 15% of the vote in parliamentary elections in Bangladesh in the past. By far the largest Islamist party is Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), which supported the Pakistani side in the War of Independence and was therefore banned for several years. Since around 2009, JI leaders have been indicted by a special court set up by the Bangladeshi government for their involvement in human rights crimes during the War of Independence, and some have been sentenced to death and long prison terms. This has led to the radicalization of some of the supporters. Militant Islamist groups such as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh have been active since the late 1990s at the latest and have carried out bomb attacks on state institutions. The worldwide activities of al-Qaeda and the so-called “ Islamic State ” have also led to increased Islamist activities in Bangladesh. It is controversial to what extent these are copycat acts and how far these two organizations have spread in the country.

Since around 2013, Islamist assassinations of secularists have become a growing problem that has attracted the world's attention. Most of the murder victims were bloggers in social networks , journalists or book authors who had publicly admitted and propagated atheism. The victims were typically ambushed by a group of Islamic extremists and brutally hacked to death with machetes in front of those around them. One of the most famous victims was Avijit Roy (died February 26, 2015). Since around 2015 there have also been increased attacks on members of religious minorities (Hindus, Christians, Buddhists).


Literacy rate in the districts of the country (2011)
Front view of the Islamic University of Technology main building and student center

In Bangladesh, the median school attendance for people over the age of 25 increased from 2.8 years in 1990 to 5.2 years in 2015. The country has achieved significant successes in primary education, the school enrollment rate is around 95 percent, even if a large proportion then leaves school without a qualification. Despite compulsory schooling, the state is not able to provide an adequate educational infrastructure. There is therefore a large number of private schools and schools run by non-governmental organizations. In addition to mostly Bengali-speaking state schools, there are an increasing number of English-speaking private schools. Bangladesh's public education system follows the British model introduced in England in 1947. There is an official five-year school attendance and attendance at public schools is free. However, many students leave school without a qualification. The number of pupils in secondary education is therefore falling, and the proportion of girls in the higher grades is much lower than that of boys. Therefore, for girls from the 6th grade, part of the monthly costs is covered by the state. In 2015, 38.5% of all Bangladeshis over the age of 15 were illiterate. Among women, the rate was 41.5%, among men, 35.4% could not read or write.

Curzon Hall , University of Dhaka

The state education system comprises four main levels: the five-year elementary school is followed by the three-year middle school from sixth to eighth grade. Then comes the two-year training at a high school, which is concluded with a Higher Secondary School, HSC exam. Successful completion of the Higher Secondary School entitles you to attend a state college or university . There are over 105 recognized state and private universities in Bangladesh. A bachelor's degree takes four years and a master's degree takes six years. Afterwards there is also the possibility of doing a doctorate. The universities in Bangladesh are heavily politicized. Student riots and violent clashes between students occur regularly, often remotely controlled by the two major parties, the BNP and Awami League, as well as the religiously oriented Jamaat-e-Islami.

In addition to the state schools, there are thousands of Madaris or Koran schools, which are largely financed by Saudi Arabia. As a rule, they also offer free basic education to children from poor families who would not be able to attend a state educational institution. Their teaching content is only partially under state control.


Development of life expectancy over time
Period Life expectancy in
Period Life expectancy in
1950-1955 40.7 1985-1990 57.0
1955-1960 44.2 1990-1995 60.0
1960-1965 47.2 1995-2000 63.7
1965-1970 49.3 2000-2005 66.7
1970-1975 46.3 2005-2010 69.1
1975-1980 52.2 2010-2015 71.2
1980-1985 54.3
Development of child mortality (deaths per 1000 births)

The average life expectancy at birth between 2010 and 2015 was 71.2 years (men 69.8 years, women 72.9 years). In the mid-1950s, life expectancy was 40 years and has increased by a good 30 years since then. A high proportion of young children (2011: 36.8%) in Bangladesh are underweight. The HIV infection rate is low. Child mortality has been greatly reduced. In 1960, 26 percent of children died before their 5th birthday, compared to 3.4 percent in 2016.

Overall, 84% of the population have access to drinking water (as of 2014). However, only about every second (54%) has access to sanitary facilities (as of 2014). In 2015, 15.1% of the population were malnourished. In 2000 it was still 20.1% of the population.


Regional history up to the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan

Historical map of East Bengal and Assam (1907)
Location of West and East Pakistan (1971) within Asia
The Jatiyo Sriti Shoudho (German National Martyrs Monument ) in Sabhar near Dhaka commemorates the victims of the struggle for independence

Bangladesh formed part of British India until 1947 . After the division of the country into a predominantly Hindu, secular state ( India ) and a Muslim state ( Pakistan ) the division was in the course of Bengal in 1947 which is also predominantly Muslim East Bengal Pakistan (as East Pakistan ) slammed, from which it was separated geographically by India . Despite the common Islamic religion, West Pakistan and East Pakistan were separated by linguistic and cultural differences. The first serious conflict between the two parts of the country occurred when the Pakistani government tried to introduce Urdu as the sole state language. This led to the emergence of the Bengali language movement , which resulted in Bengali being introduced as the second state language alongside Urdu from 1956 . In spite of this, East Pakistan was still at a disadvantage in terms of the common state. The fertile East achieved surpluses with its jute and rice exports , which benefited almost exclusively from the western part, where they were in turn primarily spent on the military. In the Pakistani-Indian Kashmir War in 1965, in particular , it became clear that, on the one hand, West Pakistan made no efforts to secure East Pakistan militarily, and on the other hand, the Kashmir issue in East Pakistan hardly aroused any interest. The Bengali were severely underrepresented in both the military and the state administration. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman , the charismatic leader of the East Pakistani Awami League , therefore called for extensive autonomy for Bengal (East Pakistan).

After the resignation of President Muhammed Ayub Khan on March 25, 1969, his successor General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan saw no other way out of Pakistan's political crisis than to call for long-delayed state elections (until then there had only been elections for the provincial councils ). These 1970 elections led to a landslide victory for the Awami League in East Pakistan, which also won the majority of seats in the Pakistani parliament. The electoral victory of the Awami League was favored by the devastating cyclone in November 1970 , to which the Pakistani leadership had only inadequately reacted. According to political logic, the Awami League should have formed the new government of all of Pakistan. This met with resistance in West Pakistan, especially from the election winner there, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto ( Pakistan Peoples Party ) and the Pakistani army . They decided to bloody suppression of separatist efforts, which resulted above all in the elimination of the Bengali elites, mass killings of supporters of the independence movement and religious minorities as well as mass rape to terrorize the Bengali population ( genocide in Bangladesh ). Just one day after the army came to power, Mujibur Rahman proclaimed the country's independence. Millions of people fled to neighboring India because of the terror of the Pakistani army and its local auxiliaries, which were mainly directed against the Hindu minority. Ultimately, India intervened militarily in the conflict in the Bangladesh war and brought about a decision in favor of the separatists (December 3 to 16, 1971). On December 16, 1971, East Pakistan also gained independence under international law and gave itself the name Bangladesh . After arriving from Pakistani custody, Rahman announced on January 10, 1972 in Dhaka in front of an audience of millions the rupture of the formerly state-unified parts of West and East Pakistan. Two days later he presented a government in which he exercised the role of prime minister. According to the government of Bangladesh, up to three million Bangladeshi people died in the war of independence and more than 20 million refugees fled to India. From the spring of 1972, Bangladesh was gradually recognized by the majority of the international community; Pakistan recognized the country in February 1974.

Democratic intermediate phase and military dictatorship

After its independence, Bangladesh became a parliamentary democracy with Mujibur Rahman as prime minister. In 1973 the Awami League won an absolute majority. In 1973, 1974 and early 1975 famines occurred nationwide. Mujibur Rahman introduced a one-party regime and renamed the Awami League in Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BAKSAL, "Awami League of the Workers and Peasants of Bangladesh"). On August 15, 1975, Mujibur Rahman and much of his family were killed in a military coup. A series of coups and counter-coups followed over the next three months until General Ziaur Rahman (also known as Zia ) came to power. He reintroduced a multi-party system and founded the BNP ( Bangladesh Nationalist Party ). Zia was killed by competing military personnel in 1981. In 1982 General Hossain Mohammad Ershad came to power in a bloodless coup and in 1986 founded a new state party, the Jatiya Party, to support his rule . There were numerous protests and strikes against martial law and the Islamization of society, which the government was pursuing. Social tensions also arose with the 500,000 Biharis living in Bangladesh , most of whom had to live in camps. General Ershad tried by privatizing state-owned companies to create incentives for foreign investors and to reduce unemployment by around 30 percent. Ershad ruled until a popular uprising in 1990.

Change of power and democratization

After the popular uprising in 1990, Bangladesh returned to parliamentary democracy. Governments led by the BNP and the Awami League took turns at irregular intervals. From 1991 to 1996 and from 2001 to 2006 Khaleda Zia (BNP), Zia's widow, was Prime Minister and from 1996 to 2001 Hasina Wajed (Awami League), a surviving daughter of Mujibur Rahman, was Prime Minister. Hasina Wajed has been Prime Minister since the 2008 election .

The parliamentary elections due at the beginning of 2007 could not be held on time due to massive unrest, so that a transitional government under the economist Fakhruddin Ahmed took over the official business, largely under pressure from the military . This transitional government implemented various reforms and tried to fight rampant corruption. More than 100 top politicians were charged with corruption. Also, Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia were arrested temporarily. The government's aim was to use threats of punishment to induce these two politicians to flee abroad and then refuse them to return to Bangladesh. The two remained in the country, however, and the plan of the transitional government to get rid of the two leading, allegedly corrupt, top politicians in this way failed. Most of the other corruption charges also fizzled out. In the field of economic policy and the reform of state institutions (e.g. the central electoral commission), however, the transitional government acted relatively successfully. Although the emergency government was able to gain some popularity among the population, student protests formed in August 2007, which soon spread to the whole country. At the end of August, the government was therefore forced to impose a curfew. New elections were announced for the beginning of 2008.

The 2008 election was clearly won by the Awami League under Hasina Wajed . She then had more than three quarters of the seats in parliament. The 2014 election was boycotted by most of the opposition parties and the Awami League was able to repeat its election victory. However, due to the opposition boycott, voter turnout was only an estimated 30%. The two major political camps (the ruling Awami League on the one hand and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)) have been irreconcilable ever since. The BNP called for early elections and called for regular strike actions to force them, which was rejected by the Awami government. The domestic political climate was also heated up by the high -profile trials against the leaders of the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami for war crimes in the 1971 Bangladesh war. Several death sentences were carried out during the trials. A court in Dhaka sentenced 19 people to death on October 11, 2018 for attacking future Prime Minister Hasina Wajed with a hand grenade at an Awami League rally on August 21, 2004. Those convicted included leading opposition politicians. In addition, Tarique Rahman, son of former Prime Minister and opposition leader Khaleda Zia, who lives in exile in Britain, was sentenced to life imprisonment along with 18 other opposition activists. Since 2013 there have been repeated Islamist-motivated murders of secularists or bloggers with a secular worldview , which received worldwide attention. Under the Awami League government since 2008, there has been a significant improvement and intensification of mutual relations with neighboring India, which resulted, among other things, in the Indian-Bangladeshi border treaty that was finally ratified on May 7, 2015 .

According to the judgment of foreign observers, the 2018 parliamentary election could no longer be described as truly free and democratic, as it was completely under the dominance of the Awami government of Prime Minister Wajed. The leading opposition politician and BNP leader Khaleda Zia was sentenced to prison for corruption in 2018, but was later given bail. It was largely sidelined politically. In the election, the Awami League won over 90% of the parliamentary seats.


Political indices
Name of the index Index value Worldwide rank Interpretation aid year
Fragile States Index 85.7 out of 120 39 of 178 Stability of the country: big warning
0 = very sustainable / 120 = very alarming
Democracy index 5.99 out of 10 76 of 167 Hybrid regime
0 = authoritarian regime / 10 = complete democracy
Freedom in the World Index 39 of 100 - Freedom status: partially free
0 = not free / 100 = free
Freedom of the press ranking 49.37 out of 100 151 of 180 Difficult situation for freedom of the press
0 = good situation / 100 = very serious situation
Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 26 of 100 146 of 180 0 = very corrupt / 100 = very clean 2020

Political system

Front view of the National Parliament House of Bangladesh

According to the constitution of 1972 (amended in 2004), Bangladesh is a republic with a unicameral parliament. The parliament of Bangladesh is called Jatiyo Sangshad (German: "National Assembly") and has 350 members, 300 of which are directly elected in individual constituencies by simple majority . The 50 additional seats are reserved for women who are indirectly elected by the 300 MPs according to the proportion of seats in the parties. The legislative period lasts five years. The general right to vote applies from the age of 18.

The history of women's suffrage has been in stages. In 1937, the Government of India Act , which had been passed in 1935, entered into force and included the right to vote for literate women who had an income and paid taxes. When Pakistan became an independent rulership in 1947, this right was confirmed and applied to Bangladesh, then East Pakistan . In 1956, when Bangladesh was still part of Pakistan, women were given universal suffrage . In 1971, as a result of the separation of East Pakistan from Pakistan, Bangladesh gained independence. A new constitution was passed on November 4, 1972 and came into force in December 1972, guaranteeing universal suffrage for all citizens aged 18 and over.

The country's head of government is the prime minister, who is elected by parliament. As head of state, the president performs ceremonial duties. He is also elected by parliament for a five-year term. A one-time re-election is possible.

Parliamentary elections

For the concrete election results, see the section on recent history

The 300 directly elected members of parliament ( Jatiya Sangsad ) are elected in as many constituencies using simple majority voting according to the British model. On the one hand, this leads to a clear majority in elections, on the other hand, even small shifts in votes can lead to massive changes in the distribution of seats. For example, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) won only a few more votes than the Awami League (40.97% versus 40.13% ) in the 2001 general election , but gained almost two-thirds of the seats in parliament. In previous parliamentary elections, the electoral system often led to super majorities in parliament, which enabled the ruling party to change the constitution, which at least made the abuse of power easier.

Traditionally, there are only a few female candidates in elections. In order to increase the proportion of women in parliament, the rule was introduced that the elected parliament could elect additional female members. The number of these additional female MPs was initially 15, then from 1979 to 1987, and from 1990 to 2000 30, from 2005 45 and from 2018 then 50. The nominal strength of the parliament is currently 350 MPs.

Political parties

Begum Khaleda Zia in Pre-budget Press Meet.jpg
Sheikh Hasina - 2009.jpg
Hasina Wajed
(Awami League)

Since democracy was re-established in 1990, Bangladesh has practically been a two-party system. The current relative majority voting system based on the British model strongly favors larger parties. On one side is the Bangladesh Nationalist Party , a moderately Islamic, conservative party led by Khaleda Zia , the widow of military ruler Ziaur Rahman (president 1977–1981 and party founder). It is opposed to the Awami League , which sees itself as a socialist- secular party and whose chairman is Sheikh Hasina Wajed , a daughter of the first prime minister and party founder Mujibur Rahman , who was murdered in the military coup in 1975 . Smaller parties are the Jatiya Party and the Islamist Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami . However, the Jamaat was withdrawn from parliamentary elections in 2013 as a political party. There are also a number of small left-wing socialist, communist and Islamist or Islamic party groups.

Politics is largely shaped by personal animosity between the two party leaders Khaleda Zia and Hasina Wajed. During the other party's reigns, they often exercised fundamental opposition, accusing the other party of electoral fraud and corruption, and refusing to cooperate constructively. In the context of this opposition, there were often street riots, blockades and general strikes, which destabilized the country.

Foreign policy

Locations of the diplomatic missions of Bangladesh

Bangladesh pursues a balanced foreign policy . In accordance with its geographical location, the importance of foreign development aid and the country's economic and political interests, Bangladesh pursues constructive cooperation within the regional framework, within the Islamic world as well as with Western countries. Since many of the country's pressing problems ( water balance , energy supply , access to maritime resources) can only be solved with immediate and regional neighbors, relations with India and Myanmar play a prominent role. India played an important role in the emergence of independent Bangladesh. However, the relationships are not without problems. India almost completely encloses Bangladesh geographically and has a decisive influence on important factors that determine the future fate of Bangladesh. India controls the upper reaches of all major rivers that flow through Bangladesh. The exploitation of the gas reserves suspected in the Bay of Bengal is also dependent on an agreement with India on the border line. A number of other difficult issues such as transit rights, illegal border crossing and migration, water distribution, counter-terrorism measures and smuggling are discussed in regular government meetings. Since the end of the colonial era, around 200 enclaves have made the borderline extremely complex. Starting in 1993, India built a 3200 kilometer long structure to fortify the main border line. Starting in 2011, Bangladesh and India resumed negotiations to exchange enclaves. A border treaty was signed on May 7, 2015 , according to which Bangladesh received 111 Indian enclaves and India in return 52 Bangladeshi enclaves on its territory. This established a regulated limit. 53,000 residents of the affected areas could decide which of the two states they wanted to belong to.

Relations with China are good and are primarily characterized by the commitment of the Chinese government and Chinese companies to expand the infrastructure in Bangladesh. China is the second largest trading partner after India and the most important supplier of military equipment. There is a special relationship with the Arab Gulf states, in which more than half of the more than 7 million Bangladeshi guest workers work. Their remittances are the most important source of foreign currency for Bangladesh after the export revenues of the textile industry. Bangladesh is also a founding member of SAARC ( South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ).

There are also close ties to Great Britain and the USA, if only because of the large number of Bangladeshis living there (500,000 and 150,000 migrants, respectively).

Human rights

Bangladesh has the highest marriage rate for girls under the age of 15 in the world. According to a UNICEF study, 29 percent of them are married under the age of 15, and 2 percent are married under the age of 11. For girls, child marriages mean dropping out of secondary education, neglect and domestic violence by spouses and parents-in-law as well as serious damage to health up to and including death from premature pregnancies. According to Human Rights Watch , despite promises to the contrary , the government of Bangladesh has not taken sufficient measures to prevent child marriages.

In 2017, the human rights organization Freedom House rated Bangladesh as a “partially free” society. In terms of freedom of the press, the country was rated “not free”. On the Freedom House scale from zero (worst) to one hundred (best), Bangladesh received a value of 47 and was ahead of Pakistan (43) and neighboring Myanmar (32), but well behind India (77). One of the main points of criticism is the repeatedly flaring up intolerance towards religious and ethnic minorities. The former include primarily the Hindus, but also Christians and Buddhists.

The high number of kidnappings, probably for political motives, in which state organs appear to be involved, is considered worrying. On February 24, 2017, a group of experts from the United Nations called on the Bangladeshi government to take measures to put a stop to the disappearance of politically unpopular people and to clarify the fate of those who disappeared. The number of disappeared people rose from a few isolated cases a few years ago to over 40 cases in February 2017. The kidnappings particularly affected people connected to the opposition. Prominent people kidnapped were Hummam Quader Chowdhury (kidnapped August 3, 2016, re-emerged March 2, 2017), the son of BNP politician Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury , Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem (kidnapped on August 9, 2016), lawyer and son of the prosecution Jamaat politician Mir Quasem Ali and Brigadier General Abdullahil Amaan Al Azmi (kidnapped August 22, 2016), son of Jamaat politician Ghulam Azam , who was also sentenced to death but who had previously died, were executed for war crimes . Family members of the abductees suspected that special units of the Bangladeshi police operating in plain clothes were responsible for the kidnappings. The aforementioned Hummam Quader Chowdhury declared after his reappearance that he could no longer remember any circumstances of his abduction. Western media and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have also repeatedly taken up the issue and called on the Bangladeshi government to comply with and enforce the rule of law.

Journalists have recently been the victims of intimidation and violence from various religious and political groups. In 2015, several liberal bloggers were murdered by Islamists.

In 2017, at least one journalist in Bangladesh was killed as a result of his activities , according to Reporters Without Borders . Another eight journalists were in custody.

In 2018 there were violent attacks on journalists and a partial internet throttling in connection with school and student protests .

Religious freedom
Districts with rioting against Hindus in 2013

Freedom of religion is formally guaranteed by the constitution ( see above for the contradiction between secularism and Islam as the state religion ). But there is de facto religious intolerance. Religious persecution occurs mainly because of Islamic oppression. In the case of apparently religiously motivated outbreaks of violence, economic motives and interethnic conflicts often also play a role. Religious minorities are threatened by irregular outbreaks of violence, especially during political events (elections).

In 2016, the Pew Research Center rated government restrictions on religious freedom as “high”. The restrictions due to social pressure were rated as "very high". A 2016 report by Minority Rights Group International concluded that the government had to do more to protect religious minorities.

Community leaders who work with Islamic leaders carry out extrajudicial fatwas against women or other minorities, even though they are prohibited by law. There is a law in the Criminal Code that criminalizes "intentionally malicious" statements about religion. The interpretation of this vague provision is subject to the courts. Allegedly “un-Islamic” statements were removed from school books.

2016 was a year of particularly severe persecution. Due to government measures, the situation improved the following year. In June 2016, Bengali Muslims burned down 300 houses of the mostly Buddhist Chakma . In November 2016, 30 Hindu houses were set on fire by a Muslim mob in Rangpur and 600 houses of the mostly Christian Santal were robbed and set on fire. Some people were also killed and many injured. About 7000 Santal were evicted to get to the disputed land. On the Open Doors World Persecution Index , Bangladesh has long been one of the 50 countries with the strongest persecution of Christians . Converts from Islam are particularly hard hit by religious intolerance . The pressure comes particularly from families, neighbors and religious leaders. If they are discovered, converts are often threatened with divorce and disinheritance, or they and possibly their families are isolated and in some cases forced to flee. Militant groups threaten them with death.

Armed Forces and Defense

The Bangabandhu (F-25) , a frigate of the Bangladesh Navy (2012)

The 2019/2020 annual budget shows military spending of 3.87 billion US dollars, which corresponds to 8.3 percent of the total budget.

The armed forces of Bangladesh comprise around 450,000 soldiers. In August 2015, 9,432 members of the Bangladeshi armed forces and police were deployed as United Nations peacekeeping forces (including 8,135 soldiers, 74 military advisers and 1,223 police officers), placing Bangladesh in first place.

UN missions in which Bangladeshi military or police forces were or are involved
Bangladeshi “blue helmets” in action

The soldiers deployed are largely considered to be disciplined and reliable, and military leaders from Bangladesh have been appointed commanders of peace missions several times. Bangladesh receives US $ 200 million annually in compensation for these missions (as of 2006), which represents an important source of income for the country and the armed forces. Furthermore, the resulting interest of the armed forces of Bangladesh in a good relationship with the UN is considered to be important domestically stabilizing factor.

Participation of Bangladesh in UN missions in April 2016
UN mission soldiers Military observer police officers
MINURSO (Western Sahara) 20th 7th -
MINUSCA (Central African Republic) 929 11 -
MINUSMA (Mali) 1442 3 139
MINUSTAH (Haiti) 112 - 308
MONUSCO (Democratic Republic of the Congo) 1712 17th 180
UNAMID (Darfur, Sudan) 372 8th 314
UNIFIL (Lebanon) 286 - -
UNMIL (Liberia) 259 6th 3
UNMISS (South Sudan) 484 6th 23
UNOCI (Ivory Coast) 235 13th 150


Economic growth of Bangladesh (before 1971 East Pakistan) as a percentage of the gross domestic product according to data from the World Bank . The severe slumps in 1971 and 1972 were the result of the cyclone in East Pakistan in 1970 and the war of independence.
A business district in Dhaka

As in many other developing countries, Bangladesh's economy has been on a solid growth path in recent years. In the decade 2005–2014 economic growth averaged around 5.6% annually. The even higher growth rates of over 7 percent in 2016 and 2017 already corresponded to the economic growth of neighboring India. 2011 the Bangladesh government proclaimed goal of the country by 2021 into a middle-income country ( middle-income country to transform). To this end, the government targeted economic growth rates of 7 to 8% in the years 2012 to 2015. This goal was not fully met and the rate ranged between 6 and 7%. A lack of political stability (especially in the past), inadequate infrastructure in every respect (roads, rail transport, port facilities, electricity, internet) and an inefficient bureaucracy are seen as major obstacles to growth. The latter also includes widespread corruption and nepotism in politics and administration. According to economic experts, significantly more should be invested in education than before. The strengths are the young population, the textile sector, which is competitive due to the low wages, and an emerging IT industry. Remittances from over 7 million Bangladeshis abroad make an important contribution. According to official figures, there were 550,000 Bangladeshis living in Saudi Arabia alone in 2017 (the actual numbers may have been higher). In 2016/2017, US $ 12.8 billion were transferred from foreign Bangladeshis to Bangladesh. The majority of these accounted for transfers from the Arab Gulf states.

Agriculture is still very important ; 42.7% of all employed people work in the agricultural sector. Its contribution to GDP is only 14.8%, while industry generates 28.8% and the service sector 56.5%.

The main products of agriculture are rice and jute . The country is the fourth largest rice producer (as of 2016). Wheat , corn and vegetables are of growing importance . Other products are sugar cane , wood and tea . Jute was an important export product, but it is increasingly being replaced by plastics as a packaging material.

Bangladesh owns natural gas and coal as its own fossil fuels , which are mainly extracted in the northeast of the country for its own use.

The industry in Bangladesh produces textiles , jute and jute products, leather , leather products and ceramics . The country became the second largest textile producer in the world (see textile industry in Bangladesh ). There is also a steel mill, shipyards and chemical companies as well as pharmaceutical companies .

The dismantling yards near Chittagong are engaged in ship scrapping.

The internationally operating airline Biman Bangladesh Airlines is 100% owned by the state.

With a GDP per capita of around 1,900 US dollars in 2019, Bangladesh is one of the poor countries.

As mentioned several times above, a major problem facing the state is corruption .

In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Bangladesh was ranked 99th out of 137 countries (2017-2018). In 2019, the country ranked 121st out of 180 countries in the Index for Economic Freedom .

labour market

The 2017 unemployment rate is only around 4%, but the vast majority of jobs are informal and underemployment is widespread. Estimates assume an underemployment rate of up to 40%. In 2016, 42.7% of the total workforce worked in agriculture, 36.9% in the service sector and 20.5% in industry. The total number of employees is estimated at 66.7 million for 2017, 29.1% of them women. Several million workers have emigrated. Low-skilled emigrate mainly to the Gulf States and higher-skilled to the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

Foreign trade

Textile factory in Dhaka

In 2016/17, Bangladesh exported goods worth US $ 38.50 billion (3.0 trillion taka, US $ 1 ≈ 78 taka). Textile articles made up 87.0% of this (2.6 trillion Taka). The next most important item in quantitative terms was leather goods, hats and similar accessories with 2.85%. The textile products are mainly produced on behalf of foreign companies (mainly from Germany and the United States ). During the same period, goods to the value of US $ 60.4 billion (4.7 trillion taka) were imported, of which 22.3% textiles, 16.0% machines, 13.6% petroleum products, 7.2% metals and metal goods , 7.0% vegetables, 6.9% vehicles, 6.8% chemical products, 5.9% fats and oils, 4.9% plastic articles, etc.

The European Union is Bangladesh's most important economic partner, ahead of India, China and the USA. More than three quarters of all export goods from Bangladesh come from the European and North American markets. Bangladesh benefits from the European Union's Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative , which gives Least Developed Countries (LDCs) unhindered access to the European Union market. The textile sector in particular benefits from this: around 60% of textile exports go to the EU .

State budget

The state budget in 2016 included expenditures equivalent to US $ 35.3 billion ; this was offset by revenues of the equivalent of 23.7 billion US dollars. This results in a budget deficit of 5.0% of GDP . The national debt was 33% of GDP.

Government expenditure was distributed among the individual departments as follows (in% of GDP):


Three-rail track on a Bangladeshi railway line

Bangladesh's infrastructure is in poor condition, including frequent and severe flooding during the monsoon season . The road network has a length of 21,269 kilometers, of which only about 5 percent (1063 kilometers) are paved (see also the list of national roads in Bangladesh ). This is why many serious accidents occur in road traffic. In 2013, there were 13.6 road deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants in Bangladesh. For comparison: In Germany there were 4.3 deaths in the same year. These numbers give an even clearer indication of a lack of road safety when you put them in relation to the country's low motorization rate. In 2010 there were only 3 automobiles for every 1000 inhabitants in the country.

The rail network operated by the national railway company Bangladesh Railway covers 2885 kilometers (as of 2015). Currently there is a dualism of two gauges that goes back to the British colonial era - in the west of the country and south of the Padma the railway lines are built in Indian broad gauge , in the east, however, in meter gauge . This brings with it significant logistical problems, since locomotives and railroad cars cannot be used equally on all routes. Efforts were and are therefore being made to upgrade all lines to three- rail tracks . In the long term, a switch to Indian broad gauge is planned.

There are three international airports ( Dhaka , Chittagong and Sylhet ), several domestic airports (see: List of airports in Bangladesh ) and two seaports (Chittagong, Mongla ). The state airline is Biman Bangladesh Airlines .


public holidays

date German name Local name Remarks
21st of February Martyrs Day /
International Mother Language Day
শহীদ দিবস
Śahīd Dibas
Memory of the victims of the language protest in Dhaka in 1952 as part of the Bengali language movement
26th of March Independence day স্বাধীনতা দিবস
Sbādhīnatā Dibas
Commemoration of the official proclamation of Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan on March 26, 1971
1st of May First of May মে দিবস
Me Dibas
Labor Day
December 16 day of the victory বিজয় দিবস
Bijaẏ Dibas
A public holiday; Victory over Pakistan in the Bangladesh war .
25 December Christmas বড়দিন
The feast of the birth of Jesus Christ .

The religious holidays follow the Islamic lunar calendar . They therefore shift back about eleven days each year compared to the Gregorian calendar .

date German name Local name Remarks
10th and 11th Dhu l-hijjah Festival of Sacrifice

Eid ul-Adha

Celebration of the end of Hajj . In memory of the story of Abraham , a sacrificial animal (sheep, billy goat, camel, bull, etc.) is slaughtered.
1st and 2nd Shawwal Feast of the breaking of the fast


Celebration of the end of Ramadan .
12. Rabīʿ al-awwal Birthday of the prophet


Birthday of the Islamic prophet Mohammed .
9th and 10th Muharram Ashura day


Commemoration of the martyr death of Imam al-Husain ibn ʿAlī .
27. Rajab Ascension of Muhammad



Bangladesh has typical South Asian cuisine. Mainly rice dishes are served, which come up with a certain spiciness. Often dishes are prepared with meat, chicken or fish, but also with vegetables. Rice dishes are just as common in combination with seafood, especially with crabs. Sweets are often consumed, although the ingredients and flavor can vary widely. There are also often dairy-based desserts, for example sandesh or pithas. As a rule, you can get tea or lassi as a drink . There is also a large number of other milk and fruit juice drinks.


Bengali literature is around 1000 years old and flourished in the Mughal Empire. In modern times she became internationally known through the works of Michael Madhusudan Dutt , Rabindranath Thakur , Kazi Ahdul Wadud , Kankim Chandra Chattopadhyai , Mir Mosharraf Hossain and the rebellious poet Kazi Nazrul Islam , who composed 3000 songs. The strict lyrical anecdotes of the poet Jasimuddin maintained the connection to the troubled masses through their descriptions of the hard life in the country. Contemporary Bengali literature received creative impetus from a new generation of writers such as the poet Shamsur Rahman , who wrote 60 volumes of poetry, Humayun Ahmed and Begum Sufia Kamal . The vibrant Bengali literary scene is experimenting with social and critical realism.


As residents of a country with heavy rainfall, mighty rivers, and lush greenery, Bangladeshis have a strong connection with nature. Their music is emotional, ecstatic and romantic, there is a song for every occasion, every mood and season. Modern Bengali music comes from two different schools. The first, a mixture of East and West, was initiated by Rabindranath Thakur, the second led by Kazi Nazrul Islam. Music also plays a major role in the lives of the people in Bangladesh, basically there is no house in which a song does not sound.


Feature film production from Bangladesh
year number
1975 034
1985 063
1995 k. A.
2005 102

The Bangladesh film industry is centered in the capital Dhaka. Before the partition of India in 1947, films in the Bengali language were mostly produced in Calcutta (Kolkata). The largest part of the Bangladeshi film production are entertainment films in the typical South Asian style with dance and singing interludes. Some of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers include Zahir Raihan , Alamgir Kabir , Humayun Ahmed , Tanvir Mokammel, and Tareque Masud . Since 2003, the country has been submitting films for the Oscar for best foreign language film .


Bangladesh's national cricket team celebrate scoring a wicket against Zimbabwe , 2009

The national sport of Bangladesh is kabaddi , while the most popular sport is cricket . The national cricket team is one of twelve teams currently involved in test cricket . They contested their first world championship in 1999 and co-hosted the tournament in 2011 and the sole host of the Twenty20 World Championship in 2014 . Their most successful performance at the World Cup was when they reached the quarter-finals in 2015 . At the Asia Cup , Bangladesh has reached the final three times so far ( 2012 , 2016 and 2018 ). In 2020, Bangladesh won the ICC U19 World Cricket Championship for the first time and thus its first ever ICC tournament title. National cricket is organized by the Bangladesh Cricket Board , which organizes numerous competitions in the country, including the international Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). The women's national team, which has existed since 2007, won the Asian Cup in 2018 and made it to the finals of the Asian Games twice (2010 and 2014 ).

Football is also an important sport in Bangladesh and is organized by the Bangladesh Football Federation . The most important national competition is the Bangladesh Premier League . The greatest success of the national team was winning the South Asian Championship in 2003 . The women's national team was able to move into the finals of the South Asian Cup in 2016 .

Other popular sports include hockey , tennis , badminton , handball , basketball , volleyball , chess , sport shooting, and fishing .

Books on the history of the country

Web links

Commons : Bangladesh  - Album containing pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Bangladesh  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikivoyage: Bangladesh  Travel Guide
Wikimedia Atlas: Bangladesh  - geographical and historical maps

Individual evidence

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  2. Population growth (annual%). In: World Economic Outlook Database. World Bank , 2020, accessed February 13, 2021 .
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  9. John A. Church et al., Chapter 15: Sea Level Change . In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis . Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC , (2013), Link
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Coordinates: 24 °  N , 90 °  E