Region in the eastern Indian subcontinent / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Bengal (/bɛnˈɡɔːl/ ben-GAWL;[1][2] Bengali: বাংলা/বঙ্গ, romanized: Bānglā/Bôngô, pronounced [ˈbɔŋgo] (Loudspeaker.svglisten)) is a historical geographical, ethnolinguistic and cultural term referring to the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. The region of Bengal proper is divided between modern-day Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal. The administrative jurisdiction of Bengal historically extended beyond the territory of Bengal proper. Bengal ceased to be a single unit after the partition of India in 1947.

The Bengali-speaking zone
The Bay of Bengal

Various Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Austric and other peoples inhabited the region since antiquity. The ancient Vanga Kingdom is widely regarded as the namesake of the Bengal region.[3] The Bengali calendar dates back to the reign of Shashanka in the 4th century. The Pala Empire was founded in Bengal during the 8th century. The Sena dynasty ruled between the 11th and 13th centuries. By the 14th century, Bengal was absorbed by Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent. An independent Bengal Sultanate was formed and became the eastern frontier of the Islamic world.[4][5][6] During this period, Bengal's rule and influence spread to Assam, Arakan, Tripura, Bihar, and Orissa.[7][8] Mughal Bengal later emerged as a prosperous part of the Mughal Empire.

The last independent Nawab of Bengal was defeated in 1757 at the Battle of Plassey by the British Empire's East India Company. The company's Bengal Presidency grew into the largest administrative unit of British India with Calcutta as the capital of India. At its peak, the presidency stretched from Burma, Penang, Singapore and Malacca in the east to The Punjab and Ceded and Conquered Provinces in the west. Bengal was gradually re-organized by the early 20th century. As a result of first partition of Bengal, a short-lived province called Eastern Bengal and Assam existed between 1905 and 1911 with its capital in the former Mughal capital Dhaka. Following the Sylhet referendum and votes by the Bengal Legislative Council and Bengal Legislative Assembly, the region was again divided along religious lines in 1947.