Dhaka

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The capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka is in the south-central part of the country and is considered Bangladesh’s most populous city. Dhaka is considered one of the largest metropolises in South Asia. It’s considered a beta-global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.

It’s the 6th most densely-populated city in the world holding over 21 million people.

The name of the city refers to the dhak tree or to Dhakeshwari, whose shrine is located in the western part of the city.

Dhaka is one of the most industrialized regions in the country, which traditional products include embroidery, silk, garment, and jewelry. It accounts for 35% of Bangladesh’s economy.

Dhaka has more than 80,000 rickshaw pullers making it the capital of the rickshaw pullers in the world. There are currently 1 million rickshaw pullers in Bangladesh who earn $4.8 billion every year.

It’s home to Jamuna Future Park which is considered the largest shopping mall in South Asia, and the 12th largest shopping mall in the world.

Although predominantly Muslim, there’s an area in Dhaka called “Hindu Street” (Shankaria Bazaar) which was first settled by Hindu artisans 300 years ago. The descendants of the artisans continue to their craft practices.

Dhaka is home to the concept of “microcredit” which was established by Nobel laureate, Muhammad Yunus.

The old city (Puran Dhaka) is home to 2000 buildings from the Mughal and British periods. Historic buildings include the Lal Bagh Fort, and tomb of Bibi Pari (wife of a governor of Bengal).

Dhaka rose to prominence during the 17th century Mughal era. It was the center of sea trade attracting English, French, Armenian, Portuguese and Dutch

traders. It was considered the commercial capital of the entire Mughal empire. During the 20th century under British rule, Dhaka served as a commercial center and seat of learning.

During the abortive Partition of Bengal in 1905, Dhaka was the short-lived capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam.

In 1906, the All India Muslim League was formed in Ahsan Manzil (located in Puran Dhaka), and Bengal was once again reunited in 1911.

At the time of the Liberation War, on March 2, 1971, the flag of Bangladesh was first raised in Dhaka University (which is currently one of the best universities in the country).

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.

Dhaka bore the worst brunt of the Pakistani army’s atrocities, including the torture, murder, and arrest of the city’s civilians, students, intelligence community, political activists, and religious minorities who bore most of the atrocities (such as Hindus {predominantly}, Buddhists, Catholics, etc).

However, Dhaka witnessed the surrender of the west Pakistan forces on December 16, 1971 with the surrender of Pakistan.

Dhaka was declared the national capital by the Constituent Assembly of Bangladesh in 1972.

Today, Dhaka is a major city in Bangladesh and still sees political activism among students.

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