simply means "country of Bengal." The word Bengal, or Bangla, though has
an unknown origin. It may come from the name of a historic tribe of people that
lived in the region nearly 3,000 years ago. Others say the name refers to Bonga,
a sun god, or is named after Bong, a man who supposedly colonized the region for
the first time years ago.
Bangladesh is one of the world's lowest lying countries and during rainy season
it seems the entire country is a swamp covered with rickshaws and people who don't
even seem to notice the rising water levels or the mud. In fact, nearly the entire
country encompasses the delta of the Ganges River and hence the land is wet and
the animal life is plentiful. This location and the fertile lands have made this
an ideal location for settlement for millennia and even today the people remain
reliant on the lands and seas.
In this tropical climate, the people of Bangladesh have easy access to water and
food as crops are easy to grow and animals provide other food sources. Rice and
seafood seemed to have dominated the food in the past and even today many people
make a living by growing or catching food for the dinner table. However, with the
introduction of Islam the diet has changed to a degree as has the lifestyle. This
religion brought in new ideas and a new lifestyle, while changing how people interact
socially, dress, and behave; things that still exist today to some degree. Although
most people in Bangladesh are Muslim, the form of Islam practiced in Bangladesh
is fairly liberal compared to that of many Middle Eastern countries.