West Bengal : India : An Overview

Governor : Devanand Konwar (Add.)
Chief Minister : Buddhadeb
Capital: Kolkata
Legislature: Unicameral
Lok Sabha seats: 42
Judicature: Kolkata High Court
Languages: Bengali
Population density: 904/sq km
No. of districts: 19
Main crops: Rice, wheat, maize, barley, gram, peas, jute, tea, pan leaf,
oilseeds, tobacco, sugarcane
Rivers: Hooghly, Ganga, Bhagirathi, Mayurakshi, Damodar
Minerals: Coal and petroleum
Industries: Engineering goods, automobiles, chemicals, cotton, jute,
tea, paper fisheries
Airports: Calcutta and Bagdorga

Stretching from the Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the south, West Bengal is primarily composed of plain land, except the north where the southern flank of the Himalayas extends into the state. Part of the Ganga- Brahmaputra delta constitutes the eastern part of West Bengal. From the northern highlands to the tropical forests of Sunderbans, variations in altitude result in great variety in nature and climate.

The state gets its name from the ancient kingdom of Vanga, or Banga. Around 3 BC, it formed part of the extensive Mauryan Empire. The region was then taken over into the Gupta Empire and later came under the rule of the Pala dynasty. From the 13th to the 18th centuries Bengal was under Muslim rule, and came under British control following Robert Clive’s conquest over the region in 1757. In 1773, Warren Hastings, the governor of Bengal, became the first Governor General of Bengal with powers over the Madras and Bombay Presidencies as well. In 1905, Bengal was partitioned into two provinces in spite of violent protests. Continued opposition to the partition led to the reunification of the state in 1911. At the time of independence, the eastern part of Bengal became East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) and the western part became the Indian state of West Bengal. The princely state of Cooch Behar was integrated with West Bengal in 1950. The state also gained some territory from Bihar after the reorganization of Indian states in 1956.


1905 – Bengal was Partitioned into two provinces.

1911 – Reunion of Bengal 􀂙 1947 – Merger of native settlement began

1956- Bengali speaking areas were transferred to West Bengal.

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