Bangladesh is one of the world's most densely
populated countries. The poor nation is crowded into a
vast delta landscape with mighty rivers such as the
Ganges. The earth is fertile but low-lying, and the
country is often flooded by monsoon rains and ravaged by
cyclones and river waves. Democracy is fragile but works
well. Two women have long replaced each other in power.
Agriculture and the textile industry dominate the
economy and dependence on aid is great.
Brief profiles of Bangladesh, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Bangladesh is located in South Asia almost
completely surrounded by India. To the south-east is a
short border to Burma and to the south lies the Bay of
Bengal which is part of the Indian Ocean. The country is
about a third as large as Sweden and is largely a huge
The rivers Padma (which Ganga's main flow is called
here), Jamuna (which is Brahmaputra in Bangladesh),
Meghna and their many tributaries form on their way to
the sea the vast delta. The fertile agricultural
landscape rarely rises higher than ten meters above sea
level. This means that large parts of Bangladesh are
susceptible to flooding in connection with monsoon rains
as well as in cyclones and river waves that sweep in
from the Bay of Bengal.
Particularly severe flooding in the monsoon rains hit
Bangladesh in 1988, 1998 and 2004, when most of the
country was submerged and millions of people became
homeless. The worst cyclones in modern times occurred in
1970, when half a million are estimated to have
perished, and in 1991 around 140,000 people were killed.
Also in 2007, a severe cyclone pulled in over the
country and destroyed homes and rice fields. However,
the death toll was "only" a few thousand, thanks to
improved preparedness that allowed a few million people
to get to safety.
The severe soil erosion and the constant changes in
the course of the river courses that are the result of
the floods also pose problems. In addition, Bangladesh
is particularly exposed to the sea level rise that
follows in the wake of climate change.
In the north, the terrain is slightly more hilly. To
the northeast, the Sylhet Mountains reach 250 meters in
height. Previously, these mountains were wooded, but
nowadays they are partly covered by tea plantations.
The Chittagong Hills in the southeast are different
from the rest of the country through their wooded high
mountains and deep valleys. The highest peak in the
mountain range reaches just over 1,200 meters above sea
On the south-west coast is the largest coastal
mangrove forest in the world and one of the last jungle
areas in South Asia, the Sundarbans. The area is a
national park which is on the UN World Heritage List and
which is among other places the residence of the
endangered Bengali tiger.
Bangladesh has a tropical monsoon climate with three
seasons. From June to October, the southwest monsoon
brings large amounts of rain. Bangladesh is one of the
countries in the world that receives the most rainfall,
over 2,500 millimeters per year, and most of it falls
during the monsoon period.
After the rainy season, dry air blows down from the
inland to the north, providing a cooler climate from
November to March. Between March and June it is hot and
Cyclones often arise that can create waves of several
meters high in the Bay of Bengal and cause great
destruction as they sweep far inland over the lowland.
The cyclones usually occur between August and November.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
147 570 km2 (2018)
Swedish +5 hours
Adjacent country (s)
India, Myanmar (formerly Burma)
Capital with number of inhabitants
Dhaka 17,600,000 (with suburbs in 2015), 7,000,000
(without suburbs in 2011)
Other major cities
Chittagong 2,600,000, Khulna 660,000, Sylhet 480,000
Keokradong (1,231 m asl)
Jamuna (Brahmaputra), Padma (Ganges), Meghna
Average Precipitation / month
Dhaka 5 mm (Jan), 567 mm (July)
Average / day
Dhaka 19 °C (Jan), 29 °C (July)
Death sentences against Awami allies
Eight members of the Awami Association's student organization are sentenced
to death for a 2012 murder, and 13 members of the organization are sentenced to
life in prison for the same crime. The murder was committed in connection with a
strike and was filmed by TV. The film shows the students chasing the murder
victim, who they mistakenly believe is a political opponent, and then chops him
to death with machete.
First execution after ICT judgment
Abdul Kader Mullah (see February 2013 and September
2013) is executed. It is the first execution to be executed after a
judgment in ICT and it triggers a wave of violence across the country, with at
least seven deaths.
The GDP alliance boycott the election
The BNP- led opposition alliance decides to boycott the election in protest
of the government retaining power during the election campaign and not allowing
a transitional government to be appointed.
Elections will be held in January 2014
The Election Commission announces elections until January 5, 2014. The
opposition organizes a transport strike and violent clashes occur between police
and protesters. More than 20 people are killed in the unrest.
The minimum wage is raised, continued strikes
The minimum wage is increased by 77 percent, to the equivalent of SEK 450 a
month. Factory workers continue to demonstrate for a larger pay rise.
Just over 150 new death sentences for border guard rebellion
A civil court sentenced more than 150 border guards to death for
participating in the mutiny in February 2009.
Two new death sentences in ICT
Chowdhury Muin-Uddin, leader of Bangladeshi in the UK, and American
Ashrafuzzaman Kahn are both sentenced to death by ICT for crimes committed
during the War of Independence in 1971. Both are abroad and sentenced in their
First death sentence against a GDP politician
The seventh person to be judged by ICT is BNP politician Salauddin Quader
Chowdhury. He is sentenced to death for, among other things, murder and
religious persecution during the Liberation War of 1971. He is the first sitting
MP to be sentenced by the ICT. The BNP politician and former minister Abdul Alim
are sentenced to life imprisonment for, among other things, a massacre of
hundreds of Hindus.
Jamaat leaders sentenced to death
The Supreme Court tightens the sentence for Abdul Kader Mullah, high-ranking
leader of the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami (see February 2013),
who is now sentenced to death. The message prompted Jamaat to announce a two-day
protest strike and unrest erupting in several parts of the country.
Grameen Bank's founder is charged with tax fraud
The government orders "legal action" against Muhammad Yunus, founder of
Grameen Bank (see March 2010 and December 2010).
The government accuses him of tax evasion and orders the tax authorities, the
central bank and the banking inspection to intervene "in accordance with current
Jamaat is prohibited from participating in the elections
The Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami is forbidden by a court to stand in the upcoming
elections, as the party's statutes are considered to be contrary to the
More ICT judgments against Jamaat
During the month, ICT convicts two new convicts: Ghulam Azam (see May
2012), who led Jamaat-e-Islami from 1969 to 2000, sentenced to 90 years
in prison and Secretary-General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid (see July
2010) sentenced to death.
Foreign clothing companies enter into new agreements
Seventy foreign clothing companies, including Swedish H&M, enter into a
legally binding agreement to carry out inspections in the Bangladeshi factories
they contract and to pay for the reinforcements in the factories that the
inspections show must be made.
ICT's third death sentence
ICT condemns Jamaat-e-Islami's Vice President Muhammad Kamaruzzaman to death
for crimes against humanity in connection with the 1971 civil war.
Claim of death sentence for factory owner
In a workers' day demonstration in Dhaka, tens of thousands of factory
workers demand that the owner of the collapsed factory building be sentenced to
death (see April 2013).
Over 1,100 dead in a factory accident
More than 1,100 people, including a large proportion of female factory
workers, are killed and thousands injured when a factory building on the
outskirts of Dhaka collapses. The building contained several textile factories.
After the accident, workers go into mass protests against the fact that the
safety requirements are ignored by the builders and that the property owners do
not follow the safety regulations.
New president appointed
Parliament unanimously elected Abdul Hamid as new President. Hamid belongs to
the Awami League but is considered to have good relations with opposition
parties, such as GDP.
The President dies
President Zillur Rahman dies after a long illness. Parliament President Abdul
Hamid becomes Acting President.
Third ICT judgment - a new death sentence
The third ICT verdict comes: Jamaat-e-Islami's deputy party chairman, Delwar
Hossain Sayadi, is sentenced to death. Subsequent violence on the streets
requires 44 people's lives.
Mass protests against ICT judgments
As the judges fall into ICT, the conflict around the court's legitimacy
increases, and the contradictions spread to the streets. When Abdul Kader
Mullah, a high-ranking leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, is sentenced to life
imprisonment for crimes against humanity, mass demonstrations erupt in Dhaka for
several days. Hundreds of thousands of people take part in the protests: some
against Mullah being sentenced at all, some against receiving no death penalty.
ICT issues the first death sentence
ICT makes its first verdict: well-known Jamaat-e-Islami politician and TV
minister Abul Kalam Azad sentenced to death for crimes against humanity
committed during the 1971 war.