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Bengal (

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.


Mughal Bengal later emerged as a prosperous part of the Mughal Empire

The last independent



The name of Bengal is derived from the ancient kingdom of

Sultanate of Bengal, whose first ruler Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah was known as the Shah of Bangala.[17] The Portuguese referred to the region as Bengala in the Age of Discovery.[18]



Art of the Pala period from Dinajpur, 11th century. Ancient Bengal was reputed for its war elephants

maritime trade with distand lands in Southeast Asia and elsewhere.[22]

The ancient geopolitical divisions of Bengal included

The region was known to the ancient

Aelana (present-day Aqaba, Jordan) between the 4th and 7th centuries AD.[31]

The first unified Bengali polity can be traced to the reign of

Nalanda was established by the Palas. They also built the Somapura Mahavihara, which was the largest monastic institution in the subcontinent. The rule of the Palas eventually disintegrated. The Chandra dynasty ruled southeastern Bengal and Arakan. The Varman dynasty ruled parts of northeastern Bengal and Assam. The Sena dynasty emerged as the main successor of the Palas by the 11th century. The Senas were a resurgent Hindu dynasty which ruled much of Bengal. The smaller Deva dynasty also ruled parts of the region. Ancient Chinese visitors like Xuanzang provided elaborate accounts of Bengal's cities and monastic institutions.[33]

Muslim trade with Bengal flourished after the fall of the

Umayyad and Abbasid coins are preserved in the Bangladesh National Museum.[35]

Sultanate period

Sultan of Bengal
on 20 September 1414

In 1204, the

Islamic invasion of Tibet was also mounted by Bakhtiyar. Bengal was under the formal rule of the Delhi Sultanate for approximately 150 years. Delhi struggled to consolidate control over Bengal. Rebel governors often sought to assert autonomy or independence. Sultan Iltutmish re-established control over Bengal in 1225 after suppressing the rebels. Due to the considerable overland distance, Delhi's authority in Bengal was relatively weak. It was left to local governors to expand territory and bring new areas under Muslim rule, such as through the Conquest of Sylhet
in 1303.

In 1338, new rebellions sprung up in Bengal's three main towns. Governors in Lakhnauti,

Muslim Spain
in the west to Bengal in the east.

The initial raids of Ilyas Shah saw the first Muslim army enter

shell currency.[44] The Sultan of Bengal donated funds to build schools in the Hejaz region of Arabia.[45]

The five dynastic periods of the Bengal Sultanate spanned from the

Mughal Emperor Akbar. In the late 16th-century, a confederation called the Baro-Bhuyan resisted Mughal invasions in eastern Bengal. The Baro-Bhuyan included twelve Muslim and Hindu leaders of the Zamindars of Bengal. They were led by Isa Khan
, a former prime minister of the Bengal Sultanate. By the 17th century, the Mughals were able to fully absorb the region to their empire.

Mughal period

Emperor Akbar
offering prayers after the conquest of Bengal