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Facts about West Bengal

West Bengal
Area 88,752 sq km
Capital Kolkata
Population 8,01,76,197
Principal Languages Bengali

History and Geography: Bengal finds a coveted place even in pre-historic times. At the time of Alexander’s invasion a powerful kingdom called Gangaridari ruled over Bengal. Ascendancy of the Guptas and the Mauryas had somewhat little effect on Bengal. Later Sasanka became king of Bengal and is said to have played an important role in north-eastern India in the early half of the seventh century. He was succeeded by Gopala, who founded the Pala dynasty, which ruled for centuries and had created a huge empire. The palas were followed by the Sena dynasty which was ended by Muslim rulers from Delhi. Bengal was ruled by various Muslim rulers and governors till the Mughal period in sixteenth century.

After the Mughals, history of modern Bengal begins with the advent of European and English trading companies. Battle of Plassey in 1757 changed the course of history when the English first gained a strong foothold in Bengal and India. In 1905 it was partitioned to achieve some political returns but people’s growing movement under the auspices of Congress led to the reunion in 1911. This triggered off hectic movement for freedom which culminated with Independence in 1947, and parition.

After 1947, the merger of native princely states began which ended with its final reorganisation in 1956 (as per Recomendations of the States Reorganisation Act,1956) when some Bengali speaking areas of a neighbouring state were transfered to West Bengal.

The land frontiers of the State touch Bangladesh in the east and are separated from Nepal in the west, Bhutan lies in the north-east, while Sikkim is on the north. On the west are the states of Bihar and Jharkhand, while in the south lies Orrisa, and the Bay of Bengal washing its southern frontiers.

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