Facts and Figures

People's Republic of Bangladesh

Capital: Dhaka

  • Population 162 million

  • Area 143,998 sq km (55,598 sq miles)

  • Major language Bengali

  • Major religion Islam, Hinduism

  • Life expectancy 69 years (men), 70 years (women)

  • Currency: Taka (BDT)

Some key dates in the history of Bangladesh:

1947 - British colonial rule over India ends. A largely Muslim state comprising East and West Pakistan is established, either side of India. The two provinces are separated from each other by more than 1,500 km of Indian territory.

1971 - Independence after a nine-month war, with India backing the Bengali nationalists against Pakistan.

1973 - First parliamentary elections give the Awami League a landslide victory.

1975 - A military coup sees founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members killed, putting an end to civilian rule.

1979 - Second parliamentary elections brings former army chief Ziaur Rahman's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to power.

1981 - Ziaur Rahman assassinated during abortive military coup.

1982 - General Ershad assumes power in army coup. He suspends the constitution and political parties.

1991 - The country returns to a parliamentary system of government.

2014-17 - Bangladesh faces a campaign of high-profile violence by Islamists against bloggers, atheists and secular intellectuals.