Bangladesh is a small Asian country that lives in the shadow of India. Mostly flat, with a few hills the country sits on the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean. Bangladesh consists mostly of a low-lying river delta located on the Indian subcontinent with a largely marshy jungle coastline on the Bay of Bengal. The country usually has a tropical mild winter (October to March), hot, humid summer (March to June) and a humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October).
People in this extremely poor country are often landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land. Nearly two-thirds of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector with rice as the single-most important product. Most Bangladeshis (about 83%) are Muslims, but Hindus constitute a sizable 16% minority. Bengali is the official national language, but English is generally spoken in urban areas and used in (higher) education and government.
The area that is now Bangladesh - like India and many of its other neighbors - came under British rule in 18th century. A mounting clash between Muslims and Hindus lead to a nationalistic battle that eventually caused a deep chasm in Britian's mighty empire. In 1947 British rule came to an end with the creation of Hindu-dominated India and Muslim-dominated Pakistan. But clashes between Hindus and Muslims in Pakistan continued. Wars ensued. On Dec. 16, 1971, when Bengali East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan creating the independent nation of Bangladesh. The new country changed its name to The People's Republic of Bangladesh on Jan. 11, 1972 and became a parliamentary democracy under a constitution.