Bangladesh is a sovereign state in South Asia. Located at the apex of the Bay of Bengal, straddling the fertile Bengal delta, it bordered by India and Burma, and lies in close geographical proximity with Nepal, Bhutan and China. With a population of more than 160 million people in a territory of 56,977 sq mi, Bangladesh is the world's eighth most populous country, as well as one of world's most densely populated countries. It forms part of the ancient and historic ethno-linguistic region of Bengal and the name Bangladesh means "Country of Bengal" in the official Bengali language.
The modern borders of Bangladesh took shape during the Partition of British India in 1947, when the region became the eastern wing of the newly formed state of Pakistan. Renamed as East Pakistan, it was separated from West Pakistan by over 1000 miles of Indian territory. Due to political exclusion, ethnic and linguistic discrimination and economic neglect by the politically dominant western-wing, popular agitation and civil disobedience led to the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. After independence, the new state became one of the first countries in South Asia and the Muslim world to proclaim a secular democracy. However, it endured widespread poverty, famine, political turmoil and numerous military coups. The restoration of democracy in 1991 has been followed by relative calm and economic progress, although the country's main political parties remain bitterly polarized.
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