West Bengal

Posted: 14.10.2011
Updated on: 02.11.2011

Alias

পশ্চিমবঙ্গ

West Bengal, India


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West Bengal

Bengali: পশ্চিমবঙ্গ

is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP. Covering a total area of 34,267 sq mi (88,750 km2), it is bordered by the countries of Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, and the Indian states of Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim, and Assam. The state capital is Kolkata (en: Calcutta).

West Bengal encompasses two broad natural regions: the Gangetic Plain in the south and the sub-Himalayan and Himalayan area in the north. In the 3rd century BC, the broader region of Bengal was conquered by the emperor Ashoka. In the 4th century AD, it was absorbed into the Gupta Empire. From the 13th century onward, the region was ruled by several sultans, powerful Hindu states and Baro-Bhuyan landlords, until the beginning of British rule in the 18th century.

The British East India Company cemented their hold on the region following the Battle of Plassey in 1757, and the city of Calcutta (now known as Kolkata) served for many years as the capital of British India. A hotbed of the Indian independence movement through the early 20th century, Bengal was divided in 1947 along religious lines into two separate entities: West Bengal - a state of India - and East Bengal, which initially joined the new nation of Pakistan, before becoming part of modern-day Bangladesh in 1971. Today, West Bengal is noted for its artistic endeavours, including filmmaking.

Locator map

File:India West Bengal locator map.svg

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