West Bengal

Area :88,752 square kilometers.

Capital :Kolkata

Population :8,02,21,171

Language :Bengali. Other languages include Hindi,Santhali (dialect) and Nepali.

Economy :Agriculture is the main occupation of the people. Major crops that are cultivated include Rice and Jute. West Bengal has the largest eastern India oil refinery.

Other important industries are shipbuilding,automobile manufacture,and chemical and fertilizer production.

Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri are known for their production of high-quality tea. Darjeeling also produces oranges,apples,pineapple,ginger and cardamom.

Climate :West Bengal has a tropical climate. The plains are hot except during the short winter season. The mountanious region in the north is cold. Humidity is high because of the altitude. There are vaguely six seasons - Spring,Summer,the rainy,Autumn,mild Winter and severe Winter. The hot season lasts from mid-March to mid-June,with the day temperature ranging from 38o C to 45 C in different parts of the state. Winter lasts about three months,is mild over the plains,the average minimum temperature not falling 15 C.

History :The first great dynasty to rule over West Bengal were Palas who ruled till the 9th century AD. In the 7th century AD,Adimalla founded the Malla dynasty,and ruled for over a thousand years in areas of western Bengal. The Mallas built some spectacular temples in Vishnupur,their capital.

In the 16th century,European traders established their trading factories in India and were attracted to Bengal but themost successful were English East India Company. In 1690,they established a factory at Sutanati,which later became modern Calcutta.

In the 18th century the last independent Nawab of Bengal called Siraj ud Daulah lost to the British in the year 1757. In 1765,the British obtained the right to collect revenue from Bengal,Orissa and Bihar. In the late 19th century,Calcutta now called Kolkata became a major centre for the Indian nationalist movement. In 1905,Bengal was partitioned,to control the growing nationalist movement. But this led to huge protests,boycott of British goods and terrorist activities and in 1911,King George V revoked the partition. In 1947 after independence,Bengal was partitioned and its western half became the present state of West Bengal.


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