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Country information - Bangladesh
Country name - conventional long form : People's Republic of Bangladesh
Country name - conventional short form : Bangladesh
Country name - local long form : Gana Prajatantri Banladesh
Country name - local short form : Banladesh
Country name - former : East Bengal, East Pakistan
Government type : parliamentary democracy
Capital - name : Dhaka
Capital - time difference : UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
National holiday : Independence Day, 26 March (1971); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is Victory Day and commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh
Population : 153,546,896 (July 2008 est.)
Nationality - noun : Bangladeshi(s)
Nationality - adjective : Bangladeshi
Languages : Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English
Currency (code) : taka (BDT)
Currency code : BDT
Major infectious diseases - degree of risk : high
Major infectious diseases - note : highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)

Bangladesh is located Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India. The climate is tropical; mild winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October). The terrain is mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast.


This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends.
Background : 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 caretaker regime suspended planned parliamentary elections in January 2007 in an effort to reform the political system and root out corruption; the regime has pledged new democratic elections by the end of 2008. About a third of this extremely poor country floods annually during the monsoon rainy season, hampering economic development.

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