Dhaka

/dak"euh, dah"keuh/, n.
a city in and the capital of Bangladesh, in the central part. 2,365,695.
Also, Dacca.

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City (pop., 1991: city, 3,612,850; 1999 est., metro. area, 11,726,000), capital of Bangladesh.

It can be traced to the 1st millennium AD, but it did not rise to prominence until the 17th century, when it served as the Mughal capital of Bengal province. It came under British control in 1765 and was the capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam province (1905–12). The capital of East Bengal province in 1947 and of East Pakistan in 1956, it suffered heavy damage during the war of independence in 1971. Together with its port, Dhaka is the country's leading industrial centre. Its historic buildings include temples, churches, and more than 700 mosques, some of which date to the 15th century.

Bayt ul-Mukarram Mosque and shopping mall, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Frederic Ohringer
Nancy Palmer Agency/EB Inc.

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also spelled  Dacca 
 city and capital of Bangladesh, located just north of the Buriganga River, a channel of the Dhaleswari, in the south-central part of the country. Its name is said to refer to the dhak tree, once common in the area, or to Dhakeshwari (“The Hidden Goddess”), whose shrine is located in the western part of the city.

      Although Dhaka's history can be traced to the 1st millennium CE, the city did not rise to prominence until the 17th century, when it served as the capital of the Muslim Mughal Dynasty of Bengal province (1608–39 and 1660–1704). It was the centre of a flourishing sea trade, attracting English, French, Armenian, Portuguese, and Dutch traders.

      Historic buildings of the Muslim period include Lal Bagh fort (1678) and its tomb of Bibi Pari (died 1684), wife of a governor of Bengal; the Bara Katra (great caravansary, a building historically used for sheltering caravans and other travelers; 1664); the Chhota Katra (small caravansary; 1663); and Husayni Dalan (a religious monument of the Shīʿite branch of Islam; 1642). Other 17th-century buildings include the Hindu (Hinduism) Dhakeshwari temple and Tejgaon church, built by the Portuguese.

      With the removal of the provincial capital to Murshidabad (1704) and the weakening of the muslin industry, Dhaka entered a period of decline. It passed under British control in 1765 and was constituted a municipality in 1864, but it continued to lose prominence until it was designated the capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam province (1905–12). During the early 20th century Dhaka served as a commercial centre and seat of learning. Following the end of British rule it became the capital of East Bengal province (1947) and of East Pakistan (1956). Dhaka suffered heavy damage during the war of independence in 1971 but emerged as the capital of Bangladesh.

 Since its establishment as the capital city, the population, area, and social and economic diversity of Dhaka have grown tremendously. Together with its river port of Narayanganj, 10 miles (16 km) to the south, Dhaka now is one of the most densely industrialized regions in the country. Traditional products include jamdani (fine-quality muslin), embroidery, silk, and jewelry. Among the city's major industries are jute processing and the manufacture of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles, leather goods, ceramics, and electronics products. A strong export-oriented garment industry emerged in the late 20th century.

      The area around Dhaka consists of a level plain bounded by the Meghna (Meghna River), Padma (Padma River) (Ganges (Ganges River) [Ganga]), and Jamuna (Brahmaputra (Brahmaputra River)) rivers. The plain is crossed by a network of streams and rivers, the chief being the Dhaleswari, Buriganga, and Sitalakhya. Important crops are rice, jute, sugarcane, and oilseeds; there is also some cattle farming.

      The city contains several universities, among which the University of Dhaka (1921), the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (1962), and Jahangirnagar University (1970) are prominent. Dhaka is also home to numerous government colleges, a nuclear-science training and research centre, the national library, a museum, and the national art gallery. In addition, the area includes the ancient city of Vikrampur, former capital of the Pala (Pāla Dynasty) rulers of Bengal (8th–12th century). Pop. (2001) city, 6,482,877; metropolitan area, 9,672,763.

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Universalium. 2010.

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