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History of Chittagong – WikiMili, The Free Encyclopedia

History of Chittagong – WikiMili, The Best Wikipedia Reader

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Chittagong(Renamed by the Government Of Bangladesh: Chattogram) has been a seaport since ancient times. The region was home to the ancient Bengali Buddhist Samatatah and Harikelah states.[1] It later fell under of the rule of the Gupta Empire, the Pala Empire and the Vesali kingdom of Arakan till the 7th century. Arabs traded with the port from the 9th century AD. An account by historian Lama Taranath has revealed a Buddhist king Gopichandra had his capital at Chittagong in the 10th century, and according to Tibetan tradition, Chittagong was the birthplace of 10th century Buddhist Tantric Tilayogi.[2] In the Fourteenth Century, explorer Ibn Battuta passed through Chittagong during his travels.

Sultan Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah of Sonargaon conquered Chittagong in 1340 AD.[3] Sultan Giasuddin Mubarak Shah constructed a highway from Chittagong to Chandpur and ordered the construction of many lavish mosques and tombs. After the defeat of Mahmud Shah in the hands of Sher Shah in 1538, the Arakanese Kingdom of Mrauk U regained Chittagong. From this time onward, until its conquest by the Mughals, this region was under the control of the Portuguese and the Magh pirates (a notorious name for Arakanese) for 128 years.[2]

Ships moored off Chittagong in the late 1820s. Moored boats from Arakan or Chittagong.jpg Ships moored off Chittagong in the late 1820s.

The Mughal commander Shaista Khan, his son Buzurg Umed Khan, and Farhad Khan, expelled the Arakanese from the area during the Conquest of Chittagong in 1666 and established Mughal rule there. After the Arakanese expulsion, Islamabad, as the area came to be known, made great strides in economic progress. This can mainly be attributed to an efficient system of land-grants to selected diwans or faujdars to clear massive areas of hinterland and start cultivation. The Mughals, similar to the Afghans who came earlier, also built mosques having a rich contribution to the architecture in the area. What is called Chittagong today also began to have improved connections with the rest of Mughal Bengal. The city was occupied by Burmese troops shortly in First Anglo-Burmese War in 1824 and the British increasingly grew active in the region and it fell under the British Empire. The people of Chittagong made several attempts to gain independence from the British, notably on 18 November 1857 when the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th companies of the 34th Bengal Infantry Regiment stationed at Chittagong rose in rebellion and released all the prisoners from jail but were suppressed by the Kuki scouts and the Sylhet Light Infantry (10th Gurkha Rifles).[2]

Chittagong grew at the beginning of the twentieth century after the partition of Bengal and the creation of the province of Eastern Bengal and Assam.[4] The construction of the Assam Bengal Railway to Chittagong facilitated further development of economic growth in the city. However, revolutionaries and opposition movements grew during this time. Many people in Chittagong supported Khilafat and Non-Cooperation movements.

Naming

There are multiple competing hypotheses about how the name ‘Chittagong’ evolved. One of these claims that the original form of the name was ‘Chatigrama’. Here, ‘chati’ means ‘(earthen) lamp’, while ‘grama’ is a common term for ‘village’. According to local sayings, early historic settlements in the region used to manufacture and supply earthen lamps, e.g. to courts and universities.[5]

Other possible historical sources of the name include Tsit-Ta-Gung (Arakanese inscription), Shwet Gang (meaning ‘white sea’) and Chaityagrama.

Samatata

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Harikela

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Vesali period

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Arab trade

Arab Muslim traders frequented Chittagong since the 9th century. In 1154, Muhammad al-Idrisi mentioned of a busy shipping route between Basra and Chittagong, connecting it with the Abbasid capital of Baghdad.[2]

Tripura Kingdom

Dhanya Manikya (r. 1463 to 1515) expanded Tripura’s Kingdom territorial domain well into Eastern Bengal which included modern areas of Sylhet, Dhaka and Chittagong Divisions

Bengal Sultanate

The Sultan of Bengal, Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah, invaded Tripura Kingdom and conquered Chittagong in 1340. A number of sufi saints under Badruddin Allama (Badr Pir) accompanied him. The Sultan annexed the region to his Sultanate as a mulk (province). A sufi saint named Shayda was appointed to rule over Chittagong.[6]

Sultan Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah gave permission for the Portuguese settlement in Chittagong to be established in 1528. Chittagong became the first European colonial enclave in Bengal.[7] [8]

Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta visited Chittagong in 1345.[9]

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Portuguese settlements

Main article: Portuguese settlement in Chittagong

Lopo Soares de Albergaria, the 3rd governor of Portuguese India, sent a fleet of four ships commanded by João da Silveira, who after plundering ships from Bengal, anchored at Chittagong on 9 May 1518.[10] Silveira left for Ceylon afterwards.[10]

In October 1521, two separate Portuguese missions went to the court of Sultan Nasiruddin Nasrat Shah to establish diplomatic relations with Bengal. One was led by explorer Rafael Perestrello and another one by captain Lopo de Brito.[10] Brito’s representative, Goncalo Tavares, obtained a duty-free arrangement for trade in Bengal for the Portuguese merchants.[11] The two Portuguese embassies, both claiming official status, created confusion and led to a fight between them at Chittagong.[10]

The Portuguese settlement became a major bone of contention between the Mughal Empire, the Kingdom of Mrauk U, the Burmese Empire and the Kingdom of Tripura.[10]

According to a 1567 note of Caesar Federeci, every year thirty or thirty five ships anchored in Chittagong port.[12]

The Mughal conquest of Chittagong in 1666 brought an end to the Portuguese dominance of more than 130 years in city.[13]

By the early 18th century, the Portuguese settlements were located at Dianga, Feringhee Bazar in Chittagong district and in the municipal ward of Jamal Khan in Chittagong.

Arakanese conquest

The Arakanese Kingdom of Mrauk U declared independence from the Sultanate of Bengal and conquered Chittagong in 1531.[14]

 

Magh-Portuguese piracy

 

Mughal period

Mughal-Arakanese battle on the Karnaphuli River in 1666 Mughal-Arakanese battle on the Karnaphuli river in 1666.jpg MughalArakanese battle on the Karnaphuli River in 1666

Mughal Army defeated the Arakanese Army and annexed Chittagong to the Mughal Empire in 1666. They began to build the city up in a planned way. The name of different areas in the city, including Rahmatganj, Hamzer Bagh, Ghat Farhadbegh (after Farhad Khan) and Askar Dighir Par, were named after the faujdars appointed by the Mughal emperors. Four mosque-tomb complexes – Bagh-i-Hamza Masjid, Miskin Shah Mulla Masjid, Kadam Mubarak Masjid, Bayazid Bostami Masjid and one tomb, The Shahjahani Tomb, survived from this period.[15]

English East India Company fought with Mughal Army in the Child’s War to seize and fortify Chittagong during 1686–1690. They failed and Chittagong continued for another hundred years to be ruled by Mughal Empire. Nawab Mir Qasim finally ceded Chittagong to the English in 1760.[16]

British rule

The First Anglo-Burmese War in 1823 threatened the British hold on Chittagong. In September 1857, Sepoys took control of the treasury in Chittagong during the Sepoy Mutiny.

In British ruling period, they created some educational institutions in Chittagong. Chittagong Collegiate School and College, Chittagong College are two of them.

The Chittagong armoury raid by Bengali revolutionaries, led by Surja Sen, in 1930 was a major event in British India’s anti-colonial history.

World War II

US Navy sailors in Chittagong, 1944 Chittagong1944.jpg US Navy sailors in Chittagong, 1944

During World War II, the British used Chittagong as an important military base. Frequent bombardment by the Japanese Air Force,[ clarification needed ] notably in April 1942 and again on 20 and 24 December 1942, resulted in military relocation to Comilla. Nevertheless, the war had a major negative impact on the city, with the growth of refugees and unevenness in fortune, reflected in the Great Famine of 1943.[2]

Post-war expansion

After the war, rapid industrialisation and development saw the city grow beyond its previous municipal area, particularly in the southwest up to Patenga, where Chittagong International Airport is now located.[2] The former villages of Halishahar, Askarabad and Agrabad became integrated into the city.

East Pakistan

The Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) was established by the government of East Pakistan in 1959 to manage this growth and drew up a master plan to be reviewed every five years to plan its urban development. By 1961 the CDA had drawn up a regional plan covering an area of 212 square miles (550 km2) and a master plan covering an area of 100 square miles (260 km2).[2] Over the decades, especially after the losses of 1971, the master plan developed into several specific areas of management, including the Multi-Sectoral Investment Plan for drainage and flood-protection of Chittagong City and a plan for easing the traffic congestion and making the system more efficient.[2]

University of Chittagong was founded in November 1966.[18]

Bangladesh

In 1971, during the Bangladesh Liberation War, Chittagong suffered massive losses in people and buildings given that they denied the Pakistani army access to the port. The first public announcement was made over the radio from the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra located at Kalurghat, Chittagong. Following the independence of Bangladesh, the city underwent a major rehabilitation and reconstruction programme and regained its status as an important port within a few years.[2]

Related Research Articles

Bangladesh Armed Forces Combined military forces of Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Armed Forces consists of the three uniformed military services of Bangladesh: the Bangladesh Army, the Bangladesh Navy and the Bangladesh Air Force. Armed forces falls under the jurisdiction of Defence Ministry. The Border Guard Bangladesh and Bangladesh Coast Guard are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Home Affairs during peacetime, but during wartime they fall under the command of Bangladesh Army and Bangladesh Navy respectively.

Chittagong Second-largest city in Bangladesh

Chittagong, officially Chattogram and known as the Port City of Bangladesh, is a major coastal city and financial centre in southeastern Bangladesh. The city has a population of more than 8.4 million in 2016, making it the second-largest city in the country. It is the capital of an eponymous District and Division. The city is located on the banks of the Karnaphuli River between the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the Bay of Bengal. Modern Chittagong is Bangladesh’s second most significant urban center after Dhaka.

Sonargaon

Sonargaon is a historic city in central Bangladesh. It corresponds to the Sonargaon Upazila of Narayanganj District in Dhaka Division.

History of Bengal

The history of Bengal is intertwined with the history of the broader Indian subcontinent and the surrounding regions of South Asia and Southeast Asia. It includes modern-day Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam’s Karimganj district, located in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, at the apex of the Bay of Bengal and dominated by the fertile Ganges delta. The advancement of civilisation in Bengal dates back four millennia. The region was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Gangaridai, a powerful kingdom whose elephant forces led the withdrawal of Alexander the Great from Eastern India. The Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers act as a geographic marker of the region, but also connects the region to the broader Indian subcontinent. Bengal, at times, has played an important role in the history of the Indian subcontinent.

Gauḍa (city)

Gauḍa is a historic city of Bengal in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, and one of the most prominent capitals in classical and medieval Indian subcontinent. Located on the border between India and Bangladesh, with most of its ruins on the Indian side and a few structures on the Bangladeshi side, it was once one of the most populous cities in the world. The ruins of this former city now straddle the international border and are divided between the Malda district of West Bengal and Chapai Nawabganj District of Rajshahi Division. The Kotwali Gate, formerly part of the citadel, now marks the border checkpoint between the two countries.

The Baharistan-i-Ghaibi, written by Mirza Nathan, is a 17th-century chronicle on the history of Bengal, Cooch Behar, Assam and Bihar under the reign of Mughal emperor Jahangir (1605-1627). Unlike other history books of the Mughal Empire, written by court historians by order of the emperor and covering the history of the whole empire, the Baharistan-i-Ghaibi deals only with the affairs of Bengal and the adjoining area.

History of Dhaka History of the capital city of Bangladesh

Dacca or Dhaka is the capital and one of the oldest cities of Bangladesh. The history of Dhaka begins with the existence of urbanised settlements in the area that is now Dhaka dating from the 7th century CE. The city area was ruled by the Buddhist Pala Empire before passing to the control of the Sena dynasty in the 9th century CE. After the Sena dynasty, Dhaka was successively ruled by the Turkic and Afghan governors descending from the Delhi Sultanate before the arrival of the Mughals in 1608. After Mughals, British ruled the region for 200 years until the independence of India. In 1947, Dhaka became the capital of the East Bengal province under the Dominion of Pakistan. After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, Dhaka became the capital of the new state.

Shaista Khan 17th century Mughal general and provincial governor

Mirza Abu Talib, better known as Shaista Khan was a subahdar and a general in the Mughal army. A maternal uncle to the emperor Aurangzeb, he acted as a key figure during his reign. Shaista Khan initially governed the Deccan, where he clashed with the Maratha ruler Shivaji. However, he was most notable for his tenure as the governor of Bengal from 1664 to 1688. Under Shaista Khan’s authority, the city of Dhaka and Mughal power in the province attained its greatest heights. One of this notable achievements was the Mughal conquest of Chittagong.

Sitakunda Upazila Upazila in Chittagong Division, Bangladesh

Sitakunda is an upazila, or administrative unit, in the Chittagong District of Bangladesh. It includes one urban settlement, the Sitakunda Town, and 10 unions, the lowest of administrative units in Bangladesh. It is one of the 15 upazilas, the second tier of administrative units, of the Chittagong District, which also includes 33thanas, the urban equivalent of upazilas. The district is part of the Chittagong Division, the highest order of administrative units in Bangladesh. Sitakunda is the home of the country’s first eco-park, as well as alternative energy projects, specifically wind energy and geothermal power.

Saptagram

Saptagram was a major port, the chief city and sometimes capital of southern Bengal, in ancient and medieval times, the location presently being in the Hooghly district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is about 4 km from Bandel, a major rail junction. By the early twentieth century, the place had dwindled to a group of insignificant huts. The port had to be abandoned because of the silting up and consequent drying of the Saraswati River. It influenced the subsequent development and growth of Kolkata. H. E. A. Cotton writes, “Here then may be traced nucleus of the future city of Calcutta, and as time went on the silting up of the river opposite Satgaon still further favoured her fortunes.”

Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah was the last Sultan of the Hussain Shahi dynasty of Bengal. The dynasty was founded by Alauddin Husain Shah in 1494.

Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah ruled an independent kingdom in areas that lie within modern-day eastern and southeastern Bangladesh, centred in Sonargaon. He is also the first Muslim ruler to conquest Chittagong, the principal port of Bengal region in 1340 AD.

Military history of Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s military history is intertwined with the history of a larger region, including present-day India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar. The country was historically part of Bengal– a major power in South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Bengal Sultanate sovereign power of Bengal for much of the 14th to 16th centuries

The Sultanate of Bengal, was an empire based in Bengal for much of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. It was the dominant power of the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta. Its imperial capital was one of the world’s largest cities. The Bengal Sultanate had a circle of vassal states, including Odisha in the southwest, Arakan in the southeast, and Tripura in the east. In the early 16th-century, the Bengal Sultanate reached the peak of its territorial growth with control over Kamrup and Kamata in the northeast; and Jaunpur and Bihar in the west. It was reputed as a thriving trading nation and one of Asia’s strongest states. Its decline began with an interregnum by the Suri Empire, followed by Mughal conquest and disintegration into petty kingdoms.

Kingdom of Mrauk U

The Kingdom of Mrauk-U was an independent coastal kingdom of Arakan which existed for over 350 years. It was based in the city of Mrauk-U, near the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal. The kingdom from 1429 to 1785 ruled over what is now Rakhine State, Myanmar and Chittagong Division, Bangladesh. From 1429 to 1531 it was a protectorate of the Bengal Sultanate at different time periods. After gaining independence from Bengal, it prospered with help from the Portuguese settlement in Chittagong. In 1666, it lost control of Chittagong after a war with the Mughal Empire. Its reign continued until the 18th century, when it fell to the invasion of the Burmese Empire.

Bengal Subah Subdivision of the Mughal Empire

The Bengal Subah was a subdivision of the Mughal Empire encompassing much of the Bengal region, which includes modern Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, between the 16th and 18th centuries. The state was established following the dissolution of the Bengal Sultanate, a major trading nation in the world, when the region was absorbed into one of the gunpowder empires. Bengal was the wealthiest and industrially the most developed place in the indian subcontinent and having waved the proto-industrialization, its economy showed signs of Industrial revolution.

Chittagong, the second largest city and main port of Bangladesh, was home to a thriving trading post of the Portuguese Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Portuguese first arrived in Chittagong around 1528 and left in 1666 after the Mughal conquest. It was the first European colonial enclave in the historic region of Bengal.

Arakan Historic coastal region in Southeast Asia

Arakan is a historic coastal region in Southeast Asia. Its borders faced the Bay of Bengal to its west, the Indian subcontinent to its north and Burma proper to its east. The Arakan Mountains isolated the region and made it accessible only by sea. The region now forms the Rakhine State in Myanmar.

Names of Chittagong

The city known in English as Chittagong has undergone changes in both its official and popular names worldwide. The choice of names stems from the Chittagonian culture, language and colonisation. A reason for the city having a number of names is due to the diverse history of Chittagong and the Chittagonian language, which nearly has a 50% Arabic-origin vocabulary.

History of Sylhet

The Greater Sylhet region predominantly includes the Sylhet Division in Bangladesh, and Karimganj district in Assam, India. The history of the Sylhet region begins with the existence of expanded commercial centres in the area that is now Sylhet City. Historically known as Srihatta and Shilhatta, it was ruled by the Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms of Harikela and Kamarupa before passing to the control of the Sena and Deva dynasties in the early medieval period. After the fall of these two Hindu principalities, the region became home to many more independent petty kingdoms such as Jaintia, Gour, Laur, and later Taraf, Pratapgarh, Jagannathpur, Chandrapur and Ita. After the Conquest of Sylhet in the 14th century, the region was absorbed into Shamsuddin Firoz Shah’s independent principality based in Lakhnauti, Western Bengal. It was then successively ruled by the Muslim sultanates of Delhi and the Bengal Sultanate before collapsing into Muslim petty kingdoms, mostly ruled by Afghan chieftains, after the fall of the Karrani dynasty in 1576. Described as Bengal’s Wild East, the Mughals struggled in defeating the chieftains of Sylhet. After the defeat of Khwaja Usman, their most formidable opponent, the area finally came under Mughal rule in 1612. Sylhet emerged as the Mughals’ most significant imperial outpost in the east and its importance remained as such throughout the seventeenth century. After the Mughals, the British Empire ruled the region for over 150 years until the independence of India. There was a complete list of the different amils who governed Sylhet which was recorded in the office of the Qanungoh of Sylhet. However, most complete copies have been lost or destroyed. Dates from letters and seal traces show evidence that the amils were constantly changed. In 1947, when a referendum was held, Sylhet decided to join the Pakistani province of East Bengal. However, when the Radcliffe Line was drawn up, Karimganj district of Barak Valley was given to India by the commission after being pleaded by Abdul Matlib Mazumdar’s delegation. Throughout the History of Sylhet, raids and invasions were also common from neighbouring kingdoms as well as tribes such as the Khasis and Kukis.

References

  1. “Showcasing glorious past of Chittagong”. The Daily Star. 31 March 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Dey, Arun Bikash (2012). “Chittagong City”. In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  3. “About Chittagong:History”. Archived from the original on 3 November 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2013.Retrieved: 30 December 2013
  4. “India’s History : Modern India : The First Partition of Bengal : 1905”.
  5. “Lamp stand with oil lamp”. Virtual Collection of Asian Masterpieces. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  6. Islam, Sirajul (2012). “Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah”. In Islam, Sirajul; Khan, Muazzam Hussain (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  7. Dasgupta, Biplab (2005). European trade and colonial conquest. Anthem Press. ISBN   1-84331-029-5.
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