Bangladeshby Douglas A. Phillips, Charles F. Gritzner
Approximately the size of the state of Iowa, Bangladesh is home to more than 147 million people. This equates to 2,600 people per square mile, which is one of the highest rates of population density in the world. Formerly part of the Bengal Province of British India, Bangladesh was integrated into Pakistan after British India was partitioned in 1947. In 1971, East Pakistan (as Bangladesh was then called) declared its independence and was subsequently invaded by West Pakistan. During the ensuing Bangladesh Liberation War, hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis were killed, but thanks to help from neighboring India, Bangladesh achieved independence in December 1971. Over the past 35 years, turmoil has marred Bangladeshi politics- there have been 13 heads of government and four successful military coups during that period. In addition to its political instability, Bangladesh has also had to deal with a problem beyond its control-geography. Located in South Asia, along the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh is subject to torrential rainfall often caused by tropical cyclones (hurricanes). To compound matters, much of the country is at or slightly above sea level, which makes it prone to flooding.
About the Author:
Douglas A. Phillips is a former president of the National Council for Geographic Education
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