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Bangladesh is the eastern part of former Bengal which, be it most of the time only in name, was a part of the Moghul Empire. After the Battle of Plassey in 1756 the British became the de facto rulers in Bengal. Until the formation of  a colony out of the British possessions in India in 1858, the country was administrated by the English East India Company, patented in 1698.


The coat of arms of the English East India Company showed the English Cross of St George on a white shield,  supported by two lions.


In 1877 the Indian Empire was restored with Queen Victoria as the first (British) empress. In the colony, as well as in the Empire the royal arms were used. After the foundation of the Order of the Star of India in 1861, the badge of the Viceroy was the jewel of this order, on the viceroyal flag displayed in the middle of the Union Jack.

In 1905 Bengal was divided in an eastern and a western part but the division was revoked by the Governement Act of 1935. In 1947 the province was divided again and the eastern part was incorporated in Pakistan with the name of East Bengal. The western part with the name of Paschimi Bengal became a part of the Republic of India. In 1955 East Bengal was renamed East Pakistan and became the independent country of Bangladesh after the bloody Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.




East Pakistan (Mashraqi Pakistan)




Emblem: A crescent and a five-pointed star, the crescent charged with the word “Pakistan” in arabic (پاکستان); and four flags in saltire.



The flags may be of the Merchant flag of Pakistan, adopted on 23 August 1956, consisting of a blue cloth, the mast top corner quarter white with a green crescent-and-star. The flag was replaced by the Ministry of Commerce on 22 October 1958 by a red flag with the flag of Pakistan in its mast top corner.


Provisional Government of Bangladesh



A new emblem was adopted by the provisional government of Bangladesh on 26 March 1971. It showed the map of the country surrounded by a legend in devanagiri:




Arms: Gules, the map of Bangladesh Or.

Motto: Gana Prajatali Bangladesh Darbar in green bengali script on a white bordure charged with four red mullets.


The four star represent the four provinces of the peoples republic: Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulma and Rajshah.


Gana Prajapantri Banladesh



A year later a new emblem was adopted. It consists of a water lily (Nymphæa hybrida - Nymphæacæa) the national flower of Bangladesh, issuant from waves of a river (Ganges). The flower is surrounded by a garland of ears of  rice, four stars and three leaves of a jute plant Rice and jute (Corchorus capsularis - Tiliaceæ). are the main cash-crops of the country. The four stars are now symbolizing, as a kind of motto, the four principles of the state: Nationalism, Democarcy, Socialism and Secularism. 



Arms: A water lily on a base barry wavy of nine, all Or.

Garland: Ears of rice and in chief three leaves of jute between four mullets all Or.

Adopted 25th of February 1972



A military-backed caretaker regime suspended planned parliamentary elections in January 2007 in an effort to reform the political system and root out corruption; the regime has pledged new democratic elections by the end of 2008.

By this regime the ancient emblem of the Peoples Republic was reintroduced.


ð See illustration at the head of this essay


Armed Forces


Tri Service








Air Force




File:Bangladeshi Air Force roundel.svg







Sleeve patch



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© Hubert de Vries 2008-11-21. Updated 2009-11-19; 2013-03-23




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