Map of Chittagong
Chotrogram / Chittagong from the air!
6 - 7th century
The early history of Chittagong is not very clear. Burmese chronicles speak of a long line of kings over the region of Arakan, which included Chittagong in the sixth and seventh century AD. The names of these kings invariably ended with the title Chandra. Historian Lama Taranath mentions a Buddhist king Gopichandra who had his capital at Chittagong in the tenth century. According to Tibetan traditions Chittagong was the birthplace of the Buddhist Tantric Tilayogi, who lived and worked in the tenth century. Whatever might have been its early history, Chittagong's history becomes clear with the advent of the Muslims to the region.
9th century: arabs
The city of Chittagong attracted the attention of the outside world from a very early date. The Arabs knew its port in the ninth century AD.
Sultan Fakruddin Mubarak Shah of Sonargaon conquered Chittagong in 1340. 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 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. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chittagong
Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq divided Bengal into three administrative units - lakhnauti, satgaon and sonargaon. In 1338 fakhruddin mubarak shah captured power at Sonargaon and soon after occupied Chittagong. He constructed a highway from Chandpur to Chittagong and adorned Chittagong with mosques and tombs.
In 1538 the Arakanese regained possession of Chittagong after the fall of Sultan ghiyasuddin mahmud shah at the hands of sher shah. The Mughals conquered Chittagong in 1666. During the period from 1538 to 1666 the Portuguese made inroads into Chittagong and virtually ruled it. During these 128 years Chittagong became the home of Portuguese and Magh pirates. The occupation of Chittagong by the Mughals restored peace and order in the district as a whole and in the city in particular. However, during the period of Portuguese occupation Chittagong city and port acquired great fame as centres of business and trade. During the 18th and 19th centuries, with the gradual rise and development of Calcutta, due mainly to the trading activities of the east india company, Chittagong lost its importance in the region.
Chittagong is the most famous and wealthy city of the kingdom of Bengal, by reason of its port at which meets the traffic of all that eastern region.
De Barros , the first of the great Portuguese chroniclers of Asia, described Chittagong in 1552 as
The Mughal Commandar Shayesta Khan and his son Buzurg Umed Khan expelled the Arakanese from the area in 1666 and established Mughal rule there. They renamed Chittagong as Islamabad.
The history of Chittagong shows repeated attempts by the people to free themselves from the colonial rule of the British. At the time of the sepoy revolt, 1857 the 2nd, 3rd and 4th companies of the 34th Bengal Infantry Regiment were stationed at Chittagong. On the night of 18 November the three above-named companies rose in rebellion and after releasing all the prisoners from jail, the Sepoys left Chittagong carrying with them three government elephants, ammunition and treasure. They marched along the borders of Hill Tippera into Sylhet and Cachar. Unfortunately they were either all killed or captured by the Kuki scouts and the Sylhet Light Infantry, later known as the 10th Gurkha Rifles.
Chittagong once again came into prominence after the partition of bengal, 1905 and the creation of the new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam. Due to the construction of the Assam Bengal Railway, which connected the port of Chittagong with its natural hinterland, Chittagong as a whole received a great boost and much of the development of the city in the first quarter of the twentieth century can be attributed to it. The Khilafat and Non-Cooperation movements were strongly supported by the people of Chittagong. Communal riots and massacre of Muslims in Calcutta and other parts of India in 1925, however, led the people of Chittagong to lend support to the Muslim leaders of Bengal who were fighting to uphold the interests of the Muslims. During the early part of the twentieth century, when a terrorist movement was gaining ground, one group of Hindu youths led by surya sen formed a secret party known as the Republican Army. In the Hindu areas of the town secret centres were opened where youths received physical training, got initiated into terrorism and continued their activities against the British for several years. On the night of 18 April 1930, 700 youths divided themselves into several groups and at a fixed time attacked the Armoury and the Magazine House of the Auxiliary Corps, occupied the telephone and telegraph offices and removed Railway fish plates at Dhoom, disconnecting all communications. The movement, however, failed and the subsequent arrest and hanging of Surya Sen on 20 February 1933 put an end to terrorist activities in Chittagong.
During the Second World War, the British used Chittagong as an important military base. Consequently it became the target of Japanese attacks. The aerodrome at Patenga was bombarded for two successive days in April 1942 and again on the 20 and 24 December 1942. As a result Chittagong was declared a non-family area and the head-quarters of the Divisional Commissioner was shifted to Comilla, and that of the Assam Bengal Railway to Dhaka. All valuable government documents were shifted to Mymensingh. The War transformed Chittagong from a sleepy little town to a place of great activity. The massive military presence of the allied forces, drawn mostly from Britain, Australia and America could be seen on the streets of Chittagong. Frequent air raids by the Japanese warplanes, blackouts at night, and the presence of refugees from areas occupied by the Japanese, all combined to transform city life. The War, though it helped some people to amass huge fortunes as military contractors, brought much misery in its wake for the people in general, as a result of the Great Famine of 1943. The famine, it is largely believed, was man-made, and was engineered by the British Government to force people to the army recruiting centres to give the Government much needed manpower.
1971: liberation war
The City of Chittagong played a significant role in the war of liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. It was from Chittagong that the first public announcement was made over the radio declaring Independence and the start of the War of Liberation. The people of Chittagong denied the occupation army of Pakistan access to the sea and the facilities for reinforcement of troops and replenishment of arms. The valiant freedom fighters sank a good number of ships in the channel of the karnafuli river and thus totally blocked the port so that the Pakistani Occupation Army could not use it. Consequently, Chittagong suffered enormous losses in terms of people and properties during the War of Liberation. After the liberation of Bangladesh and the surrender of Pakistani troops, Chittagong needed a massive rehabilitation and reconstruction programme. This was carried out on a high priority basis, as the major outlet to the sea could not be allowed to remain out of commission for long. Within a couple of years after liberation, Chittagong became generally operational both as a city and as a port.
Places of worship & mazars (shrine)
Chittagong parks & stadiums
- Muhammad Yunus (Born 28 Jun 1940) Bangladeshi economist and founder of Grameen Bank which provides microcredit (small loans to poor people). Both Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus won Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 - first Bangladeshi and third Bengali to ever get a Nobel Prize. Born in village of Bathua, Chittagong. Third of nine children of Haji Dula Mia Shoudagar and Sufia Khatun. Father was a jeweler, and mother suffered from psychological illness by 1949. Received degree (1960) and masters (1961) in economics from Dhaka University and appointed lecturer in Chittagong College. Received Fulbright Scholarship in 1965 to study in United States and obtained PhD in economics from Vanderbilt University Graduate Program in Economic Development (GPED) in 1971. Assistant professor of economics at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro (1969 - 1972). Campaigned in US for Bangladesh's liberation in 1971. Returned home and set up various rural economic program while head of Economics department of Chittagong University. Led to formation of Grameen Bank (Village Bank) in 1983. Won countless awards including Swadhinata Purushkar (1987), US Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009), King Abdul Aziz medal (2007), Ramon Magsaysay Award (1984), World Food Prize (1994), and multiple honorary doctorate degrees from universities across the world (e.g. Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Costa Rica, India, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, UK, USA and Peru). Voted 2nd in Prospect Magazine's 2008 global poll of the world's top 100 intellectuals. In January 2008, Houston, Texas declared 14 January as "Muhammad Yunus Day". Embroiled in controversies regarding microfinance and management role within bank. Married a Bengali after first marriage to a Russian-American ended in separation. A daughter from each of the two marriages. Work now carried out by think tank Yunus centre.
- Shahidullah Kaiser (16 Feb 1927 - 14 Dec 1971) Journalist and novelist. Born in village of Mazupur, in present-day Feni District as Abu Nayeem Mohammad Shahidullah. Father Maulana Mohammad Habibullah was principal of Dhaka Aliya Madrasah and younger brother, Zahir Raihan, was a noted filmmaker and writer. Obtained degree in economics from Presidency College, Kolkata (1946). Enrolled in Master of Arts in economics at Calcutta University but did not complete it. Political activist from student days. Worked as journalist in 1949 with Ittefaq in Dhaka and participated in Bhasha Andolon (Language Movement) for which he was arrested in 1952 and jailed for three-and-half years. Released 1955 and re-arrested on a political crackdown on activists. Released few years later. Joined as associate editor of Bengali daily Sangbad in 1958 where he worked for rest of his life. Jailed that same year when military leader Ayub Khan came into power and remained in jail till September 1962. Literary work include Sareng Bau (1962), Rajbandir Rojnamacha (1962), Sangshaptak (1965), Peshwar Theke Tashkhand (1966), Krishnachura Megh, Timir Balay, Digante Phuler Agun, Samudra O Trsna, Chandrabhaner Kanya, and the unfinished Kabe Pohabe Bibhabari. Awarded Adamjee Literary Award (1962), Bangla Academy Literary Award (1962), Ekushey Padak (posthumously in 1983), and Swadhinata Purushkar (posthumously in 1998). During Swadinata Juddho of 1971 he collected medicine and food and delivered them to various posts for Freedom Fighters. Picked up on 14 December 1971, two days before Bangladesh's liberation, by Pakistan Army and its local collaborators as part of their plan to kill leading Bengali intellectuals. He never returned nor was his body ever found. Brother Zahir Raihan also disappeared while searching for him. In November 2013 Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, a Muslim leader based in London, and Ashrafuz Zaman Khan, based in the US, were sentenced in absentia by Bangladesh court for abducting and murdering 18 people in December 1971, including Shahidullah Kaiser. Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin denied all charges. Initially married Zohra Khatun, a communist activist and daughter of minister and physician R. Ahmed of West Bengal. Divorced and married Panna Chowdhury in 1969. Panna was also an author and novelist who served as a member of parliament (1996 - 2001) for Awami League government. Daughter Shomi Kaiser a famous TV actress, while son Amitav Kaiser is a banker.
- Mohammad Abul Kashem (28 Jun 1920 – 11 Mar 1991) Eminent educationist, politician, and author. Popularly known as 'Principal Abul Kashem'. A pioneer and architect of historic Bhasha Andolon (Language Movement of Bangladesh). Born in village of Cheebandy-Barama, Chandanaish Upazila of Chittagong district. Obtained degree (1944) and Masters (1945) in Physics from Dhaka University. Completed Master's thesis under supervision of famous Mathematician and Physicist Satyendra Nath Bose. Began career as lecturer in Physics deparment of DU (1946 - 1953) and was first person to deliver lectures in Bengali at DU. Campaigned for recognition of Bangla as a state language of newly formed Pakistan, founded weekly Sainik which acted as mouthpiece, and was a public leader. A founder of Tamaddun Majlish, a Islamic-oriented Bengali cultural organization, and later a member of the Legislative Assembly. Established Bangla College at Mirpur, Dhaka (1962) and served as Principal till 1981, and was forerunner in introducing textbooks in Bengali for higher education and contributed much in initiating the Bengali version of the question papers for higher education. Authored nearly 100 books including textbooks on science for postgraduate student and on education, Islam, culture and politics. Recipient of multiple awards including Writers Guild Award (1964), Bangla Academy Award (1982), Ekushey Padak (1987), Islamic Foundation Award (1988), Swadhinata Purushkar (posthumously in 1993). Accorded a national reception in Dhaka in 1989, attended by eminent scholars and litterateurs of Bangladesh and India. In 2007, Dhaka City Corporation named former Darussalam Road of Mirpur-1 as 'Bhasha Sainik Principal Abul Kashem Road' in his recognition. Died at Suhrawardy Hospital, Dhaka.
- Abul Fazal (1 Jul 1903 – 4 May 1983) Writer and educationist.
- Binod Bihari Chowdhury (10 Jan 1911 - 10 Apr 2013) A revolutionary and veteran member of the civil society of Bangladesh. Famous for participating in the Chittagong Armoury Raid to uproot the British colonial rule from the Indian subcontinent in 1930.
- Muhammad Abdul Mubeen (Born 1955) Chief of Bangladesh Army Staff.
- Pritilata Waddedar (5 May 1911 – 23 Sept 1932) First woman freedom fighter of the anti-British movement in India.
- Abdul Kuddus Choudhury (1926 - 20 May 2010) Justice and secretary of the law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministry.
- Ghulam Sarwar (Born 1945) Founder and Director of Muslim Education Trust in London, UK. Author of 'Islam: beliefs and teachings', 'British Muslims and Schools', and 'Sex Education - The Muslim Perspective' amongst others. Completed Masters in Business Management from University of Dhaka, and is a member of Royal Society of Arts.
- Mufti Faizullah (1892 - 1976) Poet and writer
- Tamim Iqbal (Born 20 Mar 1989) International cricketer.
- Ananta Singh (1903 - 1979) A revolutionary, politician and one of the major participants in the looting of the Chittagong Armoury.
- Syed Waliullah (1922 – 1971) Novelist, short-story writer and playwright.
- Hossain Zillur Rahman (Born) Academic, economist and policy maker.
- Bibi Russell () Fashion designer and former international model.
- Ayub Bachchu (Born 16 Aug 1962) Musician, singer, and lyricist, best known as a founding member and leader of rock band LRB (Love Runs Blind).
- Aly Zaker (Born 6 Nov 1944) Actor, director in Bangladeshi National Television drama and theatre. One of the trustees of Liberation War Museum.
- Chittagong's Official website: www.ccc.org.bd
- Shah Amanat Airport telephone: 741532-42
- Hospital telephone:
- Railway: 843201-10
- Police Control Room: 639022
May Allah bless Chittagong and our People. Ameen.