In the ancient and classical period of the Indian subcontinent, the territory of Bangladesh was home to many principalities, including the powerful Gangaridai, whose military power led Alexander the Great to withdrew from India. It was later dominated by the Vanga, Pundra, Gauda, Samatata and Harikela. It was also a Mauryan province. The principalities were notable for their overseas trade, which involved contacts with the Roman world, the export of fine muslin and silk to the Middle East, and spreading philosophy and art to Southeast Asia. The principalities dominated the Bengal delta with powerful navies. The Pala Empire, the Chandra dynasty and the Sena dynasty were the last pre-Islamic Bengali middle kingdoms.
Islam was introduced during the Pala Empire, through trade with the Abbasid Caliphate, but following the early conquest of Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji and the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, it fully spread across the entire Bengal region. During the Bengal Sultanate, founded in 1352, Bengal was a major trading nation in the world and was often referred by the Europeans as the richest country to trade with. Later, it was absorbed into the Mughal Empire in 1576, although part of the region was overran by the Suri Empire. The Bengal Subah, described as the Paradise of the Nations, was the empire’s wealthiest province, and became a major global exporter, a center of worldwide industries such as cotton textiles, silk, shipbuilding, making worth 12% of the world’s GDP, a value bigger than the entirety of western Europeand its citizens’ living standards were among the world’s most superior. Bengal accounted for 40% of overall Dutch imports from Asia, for example, including more than 50% of textiles and around 80% of silks. Bengal’s economy have waved the period of proto-industrialization.The region was later administered by the United Kingdom as part of the Bengal Presidency (1757–1905; 1912–1947) and Eastern Bengal and Assam Province (1905–1912) in British India. During British India, notable personalities of Bengal Renaissance played a pivotal role in the anti-colonial movement. Bengal had the largest GDP in the British Raj. In 1947, the Bengal Legislative Council and the Bengal Legislative Assemblyvoted on the Partition of Bengal, while a referendum caused the Sylhet region to join East Bengal. The area became part of the Dominion of Pakistan and was renamed East Pakistan. Beginning with the Bengali Language Movement in 1952, the pro-democracy movement in East Pakistan thrived on Bengali nationalism, resulting in the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.
Bangladeshis include people from a range of ethnic groups and religions. Bengalis, who speak the official Bengali language, make up 98% of the population. The politically dominant Bengali Muslims make the nation the world’s third largest Muslim-majority country. While recognising Islamas the country’s established religion, the constitution upholds secularism as a fundamental state policy and grants freedom of religion to everybody. A middle power, Bangladesh is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional republic in the Westminster tradition. The country is divided into eight administrative divisions and sixty-four districts. It is one of the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world, and is listed among the Next Eleven countries. It has one of the fastest real GDP growth rates in the world. Its gross domestic product ranks 39thlargest in the world in terms of market exchange rates and 29th in purchasing power parity. Its per capita income ranks 143th and 136th in two measures. In the field of human development, it made substantial progress. The country continues to face challenging problems, including poverty, corruption, terrorism, illiteracy, and inadequate public healthcare. Bangladesh is a member of the UN, the WTO, the Commonwealth of Nations, the IMF, the World Bank, the ADB, the OIC, the IDB, the SAARC, the BIMSTEC and the IMCTC.