52 Facts About Bengal


Bengal, then known as Gangaridai, was a leading power in ancient South Asia, with extensive trade networks forming connections to as far away as Roman Egypt.

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The region reached its highest prosperity under the Bengal Sultanate, founded in 1352, which became one of the world's richest trading nations.

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Bengal's economy underwent a period of proto-industrialization during this period.

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Bengal made significant contributions to the world's first Industrial Revolution, but later suffered its own deindustrialisation.

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West Bengal subsequently became a part of India and East Bengal a part of Pakistan, although it won its independence as Bangladesh in 1971.

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Name of Bengal is derived from the ancient kingdom of Banga, the earliest records of which date back to the Mahabharata epic in the first millennium BCE.

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West Bengal is on the eastern bottleneck of India, stretching from the Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the south.

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North Bengal is a term used for the north-western part of Bangladesh and northern part of West Bengal.

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North Bengal is noted for its rich cultural heritage, including two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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Northeast Bengal refers to the Sylhet region, comprising Sylhet Division of Bangladesh and the Karimganj district in the Indian state of Assam.

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South Bengal covers the southwestern Bangladesh and the southern part of the Indian state of West Bengal.

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The Bangladeshi part includes Khulna Division, Barisal Division and the proposed Faridpur Division The Indian part of South Bengal includes 12 districts: Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly, Burdwan, East Midnapur, West Midnapur, Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum, Nadia, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas.

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Southeast Bengal is noted for its thalassocratic and seafaring heritage.

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Southeast Bengal is considered a bridge to Southeast Asia and the northern parts of Arakan are historically considered to be a part of it.

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Littoral Sundarbans in the southwestern part of Bengal is the largest mangrove forest in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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The Bengal tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh and India.

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Ancient Bengal was divided between the regions of Varendra, Suhma, Anga, Vanga, Samatata and Harikela.

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Ancient Bengal was considered a part of Magadha region, which was the cradle of Indian arts and sciences.

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Under Mughal rule, Bengal was a center of the worldwide muslin and silk trades.

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From Bengal, saltpetre was shipped to Europe, opium was sold in Indonesia, raw silk was exported to Japan and the Netherlands, cotton and silk textiles were exported to Europe, Indonesia, and Japan, cotton cloth was exported to the Americas and the Indian Ocean.

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Since the 16th century, European traders traversed the sea routes to Bengal, following the Portuguese conquests of Malacca and Goa.

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Bengal played a major role in the Indian independence movement, in which revolutionary groups were dominant.

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Bengal was central in the rising political awareness of the Muslim population—the All-India Muslim League was established in Dhaka in 1906.

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The western joined India while the eastern part joined Pakistan as a province called East Bengal (later renamed East Pakistan, giving rise to Bangladesh in 1971).

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Calcutta, the former capital of the British Indian Empire, became the state capital of West Bengal and continued to be India's largest city until the late 20th century, when severe power shortages, strikes and a violent Marxist-Naxalite movement damaged much of the state's infrastructure in the 1960s and 70s, leading to a period of economic stagnation.

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West Bengal politics underwent a major change when the Left Front won the 1977 assembly election, defeating the incumbent Indian National Congress.

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Since the 2000s, West Bengal has experienced an economic rejuvenation, particularly in its IT industry.

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East Bengal, which was later renamed to East Pakistan in 1955, was home to Pakistan's demographic majority and played an instrumental role in the founding of the new state.

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Bengal reoriented the country's foreign policy towards the West and restored free markets and the multiparty polity.

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Bengal was eventually succeeded by his army chief Hussain Muhammad Ershad.

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Bengal region had been part of major empires and kingdoms like Gangaridai, Nanda Empire, Maurya Empire, Gupta Empire, Pala Empire, Sena dynasty, and Bengal Sultanate.

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Politically both Bangladesh and Indian Bengal are socialist, with left wing parties dominating the region's politics.

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West Bengal is a constituent state of the Republic of India, with local executives and assemblies- features shared with other states in the Indian federal system.

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Bengal region is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

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West Bengal has one of the lowest total fertility rates in India.

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Region is one of the largest rice producing areas in the world, with West Bengal being India's largest rice producer and Bangladesh being the world's fourth largest rice producer.

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Bengal region is located at the crossroads of two huge economic blocs, the SAARC and ASEAN.

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Bay of Bengal is strategically important for its vital shipping lanes and its central location between the Middle East and the Pacific.

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The Bay of Bengal Initiative, based in Dhaka, brings together Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka to promote economic integration in the subregion.

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Culturally, Bengal is significant for its huge Muslim and Hindu populations.

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Bengal was home one of the world's earliest coin currencies in the first millennium BCE.

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The Mother Bengal represents not only biological motherness but its attributed characteristics as well – protection, never ending love, consolation, care, the beginning and the end of life.

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Islamic Bengal was noted for its production of the finest cotton fabrics and saris, notably the Jamdani, which received warrants from the Mughal court.

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Bengal was home to the largest mosque in South Asia at Adina.

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Bengal region has a rich heritage of Indo-Saracenic architecture, including numerous zamindar palaces and mansions.

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Gupta dynasty, which is believed to have originated in North Bengal, pioneered the invention of chess, the concept of zero, the theory of Earth orbiting the Sun, the study of solar and lunar eclipses and the flourishing of Sanskrit literature and drama.

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Bengal was the leader of scientific endeavours in the subcontinent during the British Raj.

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Bengal was the first person from the Indian subcontinent to receive a US patent, in 1904.

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Bengal's most significant contribution is the eponymous Raychaudhuri equation, which demonstrates that singularities arise inevitably in general relativity and is a key ingredient in the proofs of the Penrose–Hawking singularity theorems.

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Bengal was among the first recipients of the Fundamental Physics Prize "for opening the path to the realisation that all string theories are different limits of the same underlying theory".

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Folk music in Bengal is often accompanied by the ektara, a one-stringed instrument.

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Medieval Bengal was shipbuilding hub for the Mughal and Ottoman navies.

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