1757-1947 Colonial times
In the 17th and 18th centuries, Portuguese, Armenians, French and English began to alternate to Bangladesh. They created military support points and trading places. The English bought three cities: Coikata, Sutanoti and Govindapur. After a short time, the English began to challenge the local authorities in the military and trade fields. In June 1757 at the Battle of Palassy, 500 British soldiers led by Robert Clyve defeated a much larger army led by Nawab Sirajur Dwola and conquered the country. Thus, 190 years of British rule began.
1947-71 Community with Pakistan
According to thesciencetutor, by India’s independence in 1947, the present Bangladesh was divorced as East Bengal for religious reasons. In 1956 it went with the present Pakistan, but this state formation was a paradox from the start. It was made up of two separate parts that were 1,600 km apart – even with different languages and cultures. Based on a common religion – Islam – groups of people who had never had intercourse with each other should now join together in a common state.
Economically, East Pakistan was – i.e. the present Bangladesh – the poorest part of the country. The largest jute processing plant – East Pakistan’s most important export commodity – remained at the division on the Indian side of the border. According to Countryaah data, the majority of the capital needed to build their own factories came from West Pakistan, which thus gained control of this industry. Much of the industry’s export revenue was channeled to West Pakistan, leading to widespread dissatisfaction among Bengalis. From the creation of the new state, it was clear that political power lay in West Pakistan. People in the East watched with increasing skepticism about the ever-increasing power of West Pakistanis within the government and military forces. There was an inextricable tension between the two regions.
After the country had in the first years after its formation a parliamentary form of government, this system was abolished in 1958, when the military under General Ayub Khan took power. He was replaced in 1969 by General Yehya Khan. The military failed to rectify conditions in the country and continued to grow in the east. Here, sheik Mujibur Rahman emerged as the leading politician. In 1963, he became leader of the Awamil League, and it developed into the largest political power factor in East Pakistan. At the same time, Mujibur – as he was called – tightened the demands for increased self-government for East Pakistan. He expressed the despair of the Bengali masses over the economic exploitation they were exposed to by the rulers of West Pakistan. In 1966 Mujibur published a six-point program with far-reaching demands for internal autonomy.
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Dissatisfaction with General Yahya Khan’s rule grew in both the East and the West. He therefore had to agree to hold elections in 1970 for a new National Assembly. Despite strong warnings from leading circles in West Pakistan, he announced that the regions should be represented in relation to the population. Initially, a constitutional assembly of 313 members was to be elected. The seats were distributed with 144 to West Pakistan and 169 to East Pakistan. The outcome of the election was different from what the general expected. One contributing factor was two natural disasters that occurred in East Pakistan in the second half of 1970. The central government of the West Pakistan did little to relieve the distress among the survivors. For the Bengals, this was just another confirmation that the Western powers were only interested in exploiting the land financially. The result was that Mujibur’s Bengali nationalist movement gained more support. The election was a victory for Mujibur Rahman. The Awamiliga received 167 of the 169 East Pakistan seats. The Pakistani People’s Party led by West Pakistani Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became the second largest party with 86 of the 144 seats in the West. Bhutto was a supporter of a strong central government, while Mujibur maintained the demand for extended autonomy for East Pakistan within a federation. The preliminary discussions that took place showed that it would not be possible to reach a joint draft constitution.