Up until 1947, the region was part of India, specifically the province of Bengal. The present-day borders of the country were established during the British partition of Bengal in 1947, when the region became East Pakistan, part of the newly formed nation of Pakistan. However, it was separated from West Pakistan by nearly 1,500 km (about 900 mi) of Indian territory. Due to political exclusion, ethnic/linguistic discrimination and economic neglect by the politically dominant western wing, popular resentment grew and gave rise to a secular cultural nationalist movement, leading to the declaration of independence and the bloody Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.
Today, Bangladesh is a unitary secular parliamentary republic, with an elected parliament called the Jatiyo Sangshad; since 1991, the country's elected prime ministers have all been female. Despite the nation's small size, it is the world's eighth most populous country, and therefore has one of the highest population densities in the world by far, rivalled only by small city-states like Hong Kong.