Chittagong officially known as Chattogram, is a large port city on the southeastern coast of Bangladesh. It’s the second largest city of Bangladesh after Dhaka. The city alone has around 2.5 million people. It’s one of the quickest growing cities in the world.
Chittagong has one of the highest religious and ethnic diversity out of all the cities in Bangladesh. The minorities include Bengali Hindus, Christians and Buddhists. But it’s also host to many tribes and ethnic groups such as the Chakmas, the Marmas, the Bohmong, the Rohingyas and the Rakhines.
However, many of these tribes are at risk of losing their homeland because of Bengali Muslim settlers who have forced their way into their homeland. Many of these tribes have been heavily persecuted, tortured, abused and raped or forced to convert.
The name of the city’s origin is uncertain, but some give credit to the first Arab traders for “shatt gangh,” in which shatt means delta and ghangh is the Ganges.
Chittagong is a hot-spot for tourists and travel-goers due to its greenery, green hills forests, sandy beaches and cool climates.
It houses the “The Port of Chittagong, which is one of the world’s oldest ports, whose coast actually appeared on Ptolemy’s world map from the first century. The port is the busiest international seaport on the bay of Bengal and the 3rd busiest in South Asia.
Chittagong has been inhabited since the Neolithic times, according to Stone Age fossils. The region was also once part of the ancient Bengali Samatata and Harikela kingdoms.
A Chinese traveler from the 7th century once described the region as a “sleeping beauty rising from mist and water.” Later on, Arab traders and Sufi missionaries settled in Chittagong, who played an instrumental role in the spread of Islam during the 13th and 16th centuries.
Persians heavily influenced the Chittagong region, and influenced the Chittagong language and writing scripts. Much of the Muslim population in Chittagong are descendants of the Arab and Persian settlers.
The Bengal Sultanate also allowed for Portuguese settlement in Chittagong in 1528. However, the Sultanate lost control in 1531 after Arakan declared independence and established the kingdom of Mrauk-U. This allowed the Portuguese to control Chittagong for over a century.
In 1666, the Mughal empire conquered Chittagong overthrowing the Arakanese and the Portuguese. Shipbuilding prospered during the empire. The city remained under the Nawab of Bengal until 1793 when the East India Company took complete control of the former Mughal province of Bengal.
The Partition of the British India in 1947 made Chittagong the chief port of East Pakistan. During the Bangladesh Liberation War, Chittaging witnessed heavy fighting. The Bangladeshi Declaration of Independence was actually broadcasted from Kalurghat Radio and transmitted internationally through foreign ships in the port.
Ziaur Rahman were responsible for announcing the independence from Chittagong on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. However, because of the horrid atrocities, a lot of tribes, especially the Chakmas, and the Marmas fled to Myanmar or India because of torture, abuse and rapes.
Today, Chittagong is home to many principal industries such as jute milling, tea and match manufacturing, chemical production, etc. However, rice is the most important crop in the industry.
Chittagong is also a major communications center, and linked by rail and road with Dhaka, Comila, Feni, and Cox’s Bazar.
One of the top universities in Bangladesh is University of Chittagong. It also hosts the Zia Memorial Museum which preserves the location where former Prime Minister Ziaur Rahman was assassinated in 1981.