27 interesting facts about Bangladesh

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From the world’s longest beach to the most densely populated country, these are the most interesting facts about Bangladesh.

The Bengal Tiger of Bangladesh
The Bengal Tiger in the Sundarbans mangrove forest (Shutterstock)

Fast facts

Official name: People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Capital city: Dhaka
Population: 162,650,853
Area: 148,460 sq km
Major languages: Bangla/Bengali
Time zone: UTC+6 (Bangladesh Standard Time)
(Source: CIA World Fact Book)

Interesting facts about Bangladesh

1. Bangladesh in southern Asia was ruled by a mixture of Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim dynasties until around 1700 when the British established a stronghold in the region.
(Source: Britannica)

2. Islam was introduced in Bangladesh around the 9th century, but it was the Mughal dynasty that spread Islam widely through the country and ruled a united Indian state from the 16th to the 18th century.
(Source: Britannica)

3. Today, nearly 90% of Bangladeshis are Muslim with the legal system a mixture of Islamic law and English common law.
(Source: CIA World Fact Book)

Aerial shot of rows of men praying at a mosque
People praying at a mosque in Chittagong, Bangladesh (Shutterstock)

4. In 1757, the British defeated the local army of Nawab Siraj-ad-daula at the Battle of Plassey to begin 190 years of colonial rule in the region.
(Source: History Today)

5. In 1947, British rule over India ended and the predominantly Muslim states of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (now Pakistan) were established on either side of India, separated by more than 1,500km of Indian territory.
(Source: BBC News)

6. The flag of Bangladesh, like that of Pakistan, is dark green. It symbolises the Islamic faith as well as the rich vegetation of the country and the hope placed in their youth. The red circle slightly off-centre represents the bloodshed of the fight for independence. The circle is also said to represent “the rising sun of a new country.”
(Source: Britannica)

The flag of Bangladesh
The flag of Bangladesh (Shutterstock)

7. In 1971, Bangladesh became fully independent following a nine-month war with Pakistan, with India backing Bangladesh against Pakistan.
(Source: BBC News)

8. Bangladesh was under military rule for 15 years before democracy was restored in 1990.
(Source: BBC News)

9. The world’s largest mangrove forest is in Bangladesh. With a total area of 10,000 km2, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sundarbans mangrove forest lies on the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal.
(Source: National Geographic)

A map of Bangladesh
A map of Bangladesh (Shutterstock)

10. The Bay of Bengal is the largest bay in the world. The bay occupies an area of around 2,173,000 square km.
(Source: National Geographic, Britannica)

11. The vast majority of Bangladesh’s exports – nearly 95% – come from textiles (knitwear and leather). Textiles account for over $37 billion of the country’s $39.2 billion total exports.
(Source: OEC)

12. Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with 1,240 people per square km of land area. Several intriguing facts about Bangladesh are population-related.
(Source: World Bank)

Several interesting facts about Bangladesh are population related
Several interesting facts about Bangladesh are population-related (Shutterstock)

13. Likewise, Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital city, is the world’s most densely populated city with 44,500 people per sq km.
(Source: The Guardian)

14. Bangladesh has a very rural and agricultural-based population. 70% of its population and 77% of its workforce live in rural areas. Nearly 50% of the country’s workforce is directly employed by agriculture.
(Source: World Bank)

15. Bangladesh is the most vegetarian country in the world with its population consuming only 4kg of meat per person per year.
(Source: The Telegraph)

16. Similarly, Bangladesh is one of the least obese countries in the world. A 2017 study ranked Bangladesh as the third least obese nation after India and Vietnam.
(Source: World Health Organisation)

17. Bangladesh ‘recycles’ the most ships in the world by tonnage. The city of Chittagong is famous for its dangerous shipbreaking yard, where 80 shipbreaking yards are located along a 13km stretch of coast.
(Source: National Geographic)

The Chittagong shipbreaking yard
The Chittagong shipbreaking yard (Shutterstock)

18. Bangladesh has the world’s largest population of the endangered Bengal Tiger – in the Sundarbans mangrove forest.
(Source: Smithsonian)

19. The Bengal Tiger is Bangladesh’s national animal. The national cricket team is known as the Tigers.
(Source: BBC World Service, International Cricket Council)

20. Kabaddi is Bangladesh’s national sport. In the 1979s the government was keen to promote a sport that broke with the country’s colonial past and had roots in the country, so kabaddi, an ancient Indian sport that’s a “mix of red rover, wrestling, and tag,” was selected over cricket or football.
(Source: ESPN, The Guardian)

21. At just 85m, Bangladesh has one of the world’s lowest average elevations.
(Source: The Telegraph)

people wading through flooded streets in Dhaka
Floods in Dhaka (Shutterstock)

22. As such, Bangladesh is one of the countries most at risk from rising sea levels. At least 300m people risk losing their homes to flooding.
(Source: The Guardian)

23. Known as the ‘Banker to the Poorest of the Poor’, Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work towards eradicating poverty using microlending. To date, he’s the only Bangladeshi to have won a Nobel Prize.
(Source: Nobel Prize)

24. One of the country’s most famous sites is the Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat. Hidden by jungle for centuries, the medieval Muslim town is renowned for its density of Islamic religious monuments.
(source: UNESCO)

The Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat
The Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat (Shutterstock)

25. Bangladesh was once home to the world’s only third-order enclave. Dahala Khagrabari was an Indian enclave surrounded by a Bangladeshi enclave surrounded by an Indian enclave surrounded by another state (Bangladesh). In 2015 Dahala Khagrabari was finally ceded to Bangladesh.
(Source: National Public Radio (NPR))

26. The world’s longest natural sea beach, Cox’s Bazar, is in Bangladesh. The popular tourist destination has 120km of unbroken beach.
(Source: Reuters)

27. Finally, one of the most interesting facts about Bangladesh is that it’s the world’s least touristy country. With over 160 million residents, but only around 125,000 annual visitors, citizens of Bangladesh outnumber tourists by 1,273 to one.
(Source: The Telegraph)

Every effort has been made to verify these facts about Bangladesh using primary sources. However, if you find an error or have any questions, please contact us.