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Bangladesh:
Geography

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Background
Definition
Europeans began to set up trading posts in the area of Bangladesh in the 16th century; eventually the British came to dominate the region and it became part of British India. In 1947, West Pakistan and East Bengal (both primarily Muslim) separated from India (largely Hindu) and jointly became the new country of Pakistan. East Bengal became East Pakistan in 1955, but the awkward arrangement of a two-part country with its territorial units separated by 1,600 km left the Bengalis marginalized and dissatisfied. East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan in 1971 and was renamed Bangladesh. A military-backed caretaker regime suspended planned parliamentary elections in January 2007 in an effort to reform the political system and root out corruption; the regime has pledged new democratic elections by the end of 2008. About a third of this extremely poor country floods annually during the monsoon rainy season, hampering economic development.
Location
Definition
Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India
Geographic coordinates
Definition
24 00 N, 90 00 E
Map references
Definition
Asia
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 144,000 sq km
land: 133,910 sq km
water: 10,090 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than Iowa
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 4,246 km
border countries: Burma 193 km, India 4,053 km
Coastline
Definition
580 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: up to the outer limits of the continental margin
Climate
Definition
tropical; mild winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October)
Terrain
Definition
mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Keokradong 1,230 m
Natural resources
Definition
natural gas, arable land, timber, coal
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 55.39%
permanent crops: 3.08%
other: 41.53% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
47,250 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
1,210.6 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 79.4 cu km/yr (3%/1%/96%)
per capita: 560 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
droughts, cyclones; much of the country routinely inundated during the summer monsoon season
Environment - current issues
Definition
many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land; water-borne diseases prevalent in surface water; water pollution, especially of fishing areas, results from the use of commercial pesticides; ground water contaminated by naturally occurring arsenic; intermittent water shortages because of falling water tables in the northern and central parts of the country; soil degradation and erosion; deforestation; severe overpopulation
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
most of the country is situated on deltas of large rivers flowing from the Himalayas: the Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal


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