Bangladesh turns 50!

Tasnim Shamma, Lilburn GA, USA

In 1757, British colonizers defeated Nawab rulers to gain control of the Bengal region. A couple of centuries later in 1947, the British lost their power, but divided the Bengal region into three parts before they left: India, Pakistan, and East Bengal. In 1955, East Bengal was under Pakistani rule and was renamed East Pakistan. And then on March 26, 1971, a politician from East Pakistan (Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) declared independence. Nine months later, the Bangladesh Liberation War was over and East Pakistan was renamed Bangladesh.

This year, the country is celebrating its 50th birthday, so we’ve put together a list of 50 facts to know about this nation. Read to the end for a pop quiz and a free printable!

50 Facts About Bangladesh

  1. Continent: Asia
  2. Capital: Dhaka
  3. Official Language: Bangla
  4. Former Names: East Bengal, East Pakistan
  5. Independence Declared: March 26, 1971
  6. Length of Bangladesh Liberation War: Nine months
  7. Victory Day: December 16, 1971
  8. Flag Colors: Red and Green
  9. Population: 164.6 Million
  10. Ranking In World’s Most Populous Countries: #8
  11. Country Size: 56,977 square miles (about the size of the US State of Iowa)
  12. Shares Land Border With: India and Myanmar
  13. Closest Ocean: Bay of Bengal (Northeastern Part of the Indian Ocean)
  14. Highest Peak (Unofficial): Saka Haphong (Mowdowk Range) at 3,488 feet in Bandarban, Bangladesh near its border with Myanmar
  15. National Fish: Ilish (Hilsa)
  16. National Bird: Doel (Magpie Robin)
  17. National Poet: Kazi Nazrul Islam
  18. National Flower: Water Lily (Shapla)
  19. National Tree: Mango tree
  20. National Fruit: Jackfruit
  21. National Sport: Kabaddi
  22. National Anthem: Amar Shonar Bangla (My Bengal of Gold)
  23. National Monument: National Martyrs' Memorial (Jatiyo Sriti Soudho)
  24. National Mosque: Baitul Mukarram (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
  25. Religions: Muslim (89%); Hindu (10%); Catholic/Buddhist/Other (0.9%)
  26. Major Indigenous Ethnic Groups: Chakma, Marma, Tripura
  27. First Nobel Prize Winner: Social Entrepreneur Dr. Muhammad Yunus (2006)
  28. Film Industry: Dhallywood
  29. First Month Of Bengali New Year: April (Boishakh)
  30. Number of Seasons: 6
  31. Number Of Rivers (including tributaries): 310
  32. Threat Level From Climate Change: Extreme Risk
  33. Percentage Of Country Less Than 5 Meters Above Sea Level: 66%
  34. World’s Longest Natural Sea Beach: Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh
  35. World’s Largest Contiguous Mangrove Forest: Sunderbans, Bangladesh (Forty percent of the forest is in neighboring India)
  36. Rank Among World’s Largest Clothing Exporters: #2 (After China)
  37. Country It Accepts Most Imported Goods From: China
  38. Top Imports: Milk and Cream, Sugar, Rice, Wheat
  39. Country It Exports Most Goods To: United States
  40. Top Exports: Garments, Frozen Fish, Jute, Tea, Leather Products
  41. Currency Name: Taka
  42. Average Worker Earnings: About $1.65/Day or $50/Month
  43. Percentage Living Below The Poverty Line: 23.2%
  44. Founding Father: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
  45. Four Major Political Parties: Bangladesh Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Jatiya Party and Jamaat-e-Islami
  46. First female Leader Elected: 1991 (Khaleda Zia)
  47. Current Prime Minister: Sheikh Hasina
  48. Current President: Md. Abdul Hamid
  49. World’s Largest Refugee Camp: Kutupalong in Cox’s Bazaar
  50. International Mother Language Day: February 21 (Following Bangladesh’s lead, UNESCO made it a global day in 1999) (Background: In 1952, citizens of then-East Pakistan, held protests to have Bangla and not Urdu recognized as the official language)

Test your memory with this POP QUIZ and for a chance to win prizes! Make sure to hit “see score” to check your answers and access additional material.

Happy 50th, Bangladesh! And here's a FREE PRINTABLE to share with your kids in honor of Bangladesh's 50th independent year.

Tasnim Shamma is a first generation Bangladeshi-American. She was born in Dhaka, raised in Queens, NY and now living in Lilburn, GA. She is taking a break from her radio news broadcasting career to chase around two toddlers and read books from to them in English and Bangla!