Bengals history can be traced back to the 16th century. Bengal was absorbed into the Mughul Empire in the 16th century, and Dhaka, the seat of a nawab (the representative of the emperor), gained some importance as a provincial center. But it was a remote country and hard to govern the region. Portuguese traders and missionaries were the first Europeans to reach Bengal in the latter part of the 15th century. They were followed by representatives of the Dutch, the French, and the British East India Companies. By the end of the 17th century, the British presence in India was centered in Calcutta. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the British gradually extended their commercial contacts and administrative control beyond Calcutta to Bengal. In 1859, the British Crown replaced the East India Company, extending British dominion from Bengal, which became a region of India, in the east to the Indus River in the west. As Bangladesh continued to be colonialized by the British in the late 19th century, English nationalism was expanding, mostly by force. The British established and organized a social structure unmatched in Bengal, and Calcutta became one of the most important centers for commerce, education and culture in the subcontinent. However, many Bangladeshi historians blame the British agricultural policies and promotion of the semi-feudal system for draining the region of its wealth and damaging its social fabric. The British presence was a relief to the minority Hindus but a catastrophe for the Muslims. The Hindus cooperated with the British, entering educational institutions and studying the English language, but the Muslims refused to cooperate, and rioted whenever crops failed or another local product was rendered unprofitable by government policy. This resulted in building animosity from the Muslims and the Hindus. The groups were seeking ways to have forms of self government under British rule. This led instead of cooperation from the two parties, a deeper division. In 1947 Bengel gained its independence due to European colonialism running its course at the close of world war two. After years of cultural wars between the Hindus and Muslims, Bangladesh became its own country separate from Pakistan in 1972. However, this “new” country was decimated and riddle by famine and poverty without governmental guidance. The country experienced martial law and a brief period of democracy. It took many years to establish governmental rule but finally Begum Khaleda Zia was sworn in on October 10, 2001 as the Prime Minister of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh.
Currently, Bangladesh is home to approximately 156,000,000 people, giving the Iowa-sized nation the eighth highest population in the world. Bangladesh labors under a population density of almost 3,000 per square mile. Based on the CIA estimate, Bangladesh would be the 8th most