Sonargaon

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Sonargaon
সোনারগাঁও
Sonargaon is located in Bangladesh
Sonargaon
Shown within Bangladesh
Location Near Narayanganj
Region Bangladesh
Coordinates 23°38′51″N 90°35′52″E / 23.64750°N 90.59778°E / 23.64750; 90.59778Coordinates: 23°38′51″N 90°35′52″E / 23.64750°N 90.59778°E / 23.64750; 90.59778

Sonargaon (Bengali: সোনারগাঁও; also transcribed as Sunārgāon,[1] meaning City of Gold) was a historic administrative, commercial and maritime center in Bengal. Situated at the center of the Ganges delta, near the old course of the Brahmaputra River, it was the seat of the medieval Muslim rulers and governors of eastern Bengal. Sonargaon was described by numerous historic travelers, including Ibn Battuta, Ma Huan, Niccolò de' Conti and Ralph Fitch, as a thriving center of trade and commerce on the silk route. It served as the capital of Sultan Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah, Isa Khan and the Baro-Bhuyan Confederacy.

The area is located near the modern industrial river port of Narayanganj in Bangladesh. Today, the name Sonargaon survives as the Sonargaon Upazila (Sonargaon Subregion) in the region.[2]

History[edit]

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Pre-Muslim period[edit]

The name Sonargaon came as the Bangla version of the ancient name Suvarnagrama.[2] Bauddha ruler Danujamadhava Dasharathadeva shifted his capital to Suvarnagrama from Bikrampur sometime in the middle of the 13th century.[2] In early 14th century, Bauddha ruling in this area ended when Shamsuddin Firoz Shah (reigned 1301–1322) of Lakhnauti occupied and annexed it to his kingdom.[3]

Muslim period[edit]

The 7th voyage of Zheng He's fleet map based on analysis by Edward L. Dreyer shows that Hong Bao and Ma Huan visited Sonargaon in 1432.[4]

Muslim settlers first arrive in Sonargaon region in around 1281.[5] Sharfuddin Abu Tawwamah, a medieval Sufi saint and Islamic philosopher came and settled here sometime between 1282 and 1287.[6] He then established his Khanqah and founded a Madrasa.

Firoz Shah built a mint in Sonargaon from where a large number of coins were issued.[3] When he died in 1322, his son, Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah, replaced him as the ruler. In 1324 Delhi Sultan, Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, declared war against him and after the battle, Bahadur Shah was captured and Bengal, including Sonargaon, became a province of Delhi Sultanate.[7] The same year, Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq, son and successor of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, released him and appointed him as the governor of Sonargaon province.[8]

After 4 years of governorship, in 1328, Bahadur Shah declared independence of Bengal. Delhi Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq sent his general, Bahram Khan, to depose him. In the battle, Bahadur Shah was defeated and killed. Bahram Khan recaptured Sonargaon for the Delhi Sultanate and he was also appointed the governor of Sonargaon.[9]

When Bahram Khan died in 1338, his armor-bearer, Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah, declared himself the independent Sultan of Sonargaon.[5] Fakhruddin sponsored several construction projects, including a trunk road and raised embankments, along with mosques and tombs.[10] 14th century Moroccan traveller, Ibn Batuta, after visiting the capital in 1346, described Fakhruddin as "a distinguished sovereign who loved strangers, particularly the fakirs and sufis".[10] After the death of Fakhruddin in 1349, Ikhtiyaruddin Ghazi Shah became the next independent ruler of Sonargaon.[11]

Ilyas Shah, the independent ruler of Lakhnauti, attacked Sonargaon in 1352. After defeating Ikhtiyaruddin Ghazi Shah, he became the sole ruler of whole Bengal for the first time in history and thus he became the founder of a sultanate of the unified Bengal.[12]

A squadron of the Chinese fleet of Zheng He, commanded by the eunuch Hong Bao, visited Sonargaon in 1432. The information about that expedition comes from the book of one of its participants, the Muslim translator Ma Huan.[1] In 1451 Huan wrote his experience in details in his book Yingyai Shenglan (The Overall Survey of the Ocean's Shores).

Sonargaon is the eastern terminus of the Grand Trunk Road, which was built by the Pashtun emperor Sher Shah Suri, extended approximately 2500 kilometres from Bangladesh across northern India and Pakistan to Kabul in Afghanistan.[5]

Isa Khan's ruling[edit]

When Taj Khan Karrani was the independent Afghan ruler of Bengal, Isa Khan obtained an estate in Sonargaon and Maheswardi Pargana in 1564 as a vassal of the Karrani rulers. Isa Khan gradually increased his strength and in 1571 he was designated as the ruler of whole Bhati region. In 1575 he helped Daud Khan Karrani to fight with Mughal flotilla in the vicinity of Sonargaon.[13]

Daud Khan Karrani died in the battle of Rajmahal against Mughals in 1576. Akbar then assigned Isa Khan as one of the Bara-Bhuiyans by making him the zamindar of Sonargaon. Since then he resisted Mughal's ruling in his area. With the help of allies, he stood defiant against Mughals in the battle against Subahdar Khan Jahan in 1578, Subahdar Shahbaz Khan in 1584 and Durjan Singh in 1597. Isa Khan died in September 1599. Then his son, Musa Khan, took control of Bhati region. But after the defeat of Musa Khan in 10 July 1610[14] by Islam Khan, the army general of Mughals, Sonargaon became one of the sarkars of Bengal subah. The capital of Bengal is then shifted to Jahangirnagar (later named Dhaka).

British period[edit]

Panam City

Panam City was established in the late 19th century as a trading center of cotton fabrics during British rule. Hindu cloth merchants built their residential houses following colonial style with inspiration derived from European sources.[2] Today this area is protected under the department of archaeology of Bangladesh. Panam city area was linked with the main city area by three brick bridges - Panam Bridge, Dalalpur Bridge and PanamNagar Bridge - during Mughal period. The bridges are still in use.

Sonakanda Fort is a Mughal river-fort located on the bank of the Shitalakshya River at Bandar.[15]

Bangladesh period[edit]

Lok Shilpa Jadughar (Folk Arts Museum) in Sonargaon.

Lok Shilpa Jadughar (Folk Art and Craft Museum) of Sonargaon was established by Bangladeshi painter Joynul Abedin on March 12, 1975.[5] The house, originally called Bara Sardar Bari, was built in 1901.

On 15 February 1984, Narayanganj subdivision is upgraded to a district by the Government of Bangladesh.[16] Hence Sonargaon became a subdistrict of Narayanganj District of Dhaka division.

Due to the many threats to preservation (including flooding and vandalism), Sonargaon is placed in 2008 Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by World Monuments Fund.[citation needed]

Trade[edit]

By the 14th century Sonargaon became a commercial port. Trade activities were mentioned by travelers like Ibn Batuta, Ma Huan and Ralph Fitch.[2] Maritime ships travelled between Sonargaon and southeast/west Asian countries.[2] Muslin was produced in this region.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Duarte Barbosa; Mansel Longworth Dames (1996) [1918-1921], The book of Duarte Barbosa : An Account of the Countries Bordering on the Indian Ocean and Their Inhabitants, Asian Educational Services, pp. 138–139, ISBN 81-206-0451-2 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Muazzam Hussain Khan, Sonargaon, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-01-21
  3. ^ a b ABM Shamsuddin Ahmed, Shamsuddin Firoz Shah, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-01-21
  4. ^ Dreyer, Edward L. (2006), Zheng He: China and the oceans in the early Ming dynasty, 1405-1433, The library of world biography, Pearson Longman, ISBN 0-321-08443-8 
  5. ^ a b c d Gope, Rabindra (2011). A visitor's guide to the Sonargaon Museum. p. 3. ISBN 978-984-33-2004-9. 
  6. ^ Muazzam Hussain Khan, Sharfuddin Abu Tawwamah, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-01-18
  7. ^ Kingdom of South Asia
  8. ^ Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah in Banglapedia
  9. ^ Muazzam Hussain Khan, Tatar Khan, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-01-18
  10. ^ a b Muazzam Hussain Khan, Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2011-04-23
  11. ^ Muazzam Hussain Khan, Ikhtiyaruddin Ghazi Shah, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-01-21
  12. ^ ABM Shamsuddin Ahmed, Iliyas Shah, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-01-21
  13. ^ AA Sheikh Md Asrarul Hoque Chisti, Isa Khan, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-01-23
  14. ^ Feroz, M A Hannan (2009). 400 years of Dhaka. Ittyadi. p. 12. 
  15. ^ Ayesha Begum, Sonakanda Fort, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-01-21
  16. ^ Md Solaiman, Narayanganj, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-02-21

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]