BENDY-TREE, s. This, according to Sir G. Birdwood, is the Thespesia populnea, Lam. [Watt, Econ. Dict. vi. pt. iv. 45 seqq.], and gives a name to the ‘Bendy Bazar’ in Bombay. (See PORTIA.)

BENGAL, n.p. The region of the Ganges Delta and the districts immediately above it; but often in English use with a wide application to the whole territory garrisoned by the Bengal army. This name does not appear, so far as we have been able to learn, in any Mahommedan or Western writing before the latter part of the 13th century. In the earlier part of that century the Mahommedan writers generally call the province Lakhnaoti, after the chief city, but we have also the old form Bang, from the indigenous Vanga. Already, however, in the 11th century we have it as Vangalam on the Inscription of the great Tanjore Pagoda. This is the oldest occurrence that we can cite.

The alleged City of Bengala of the Portuguese which has greatly perplexed geographers, probably originated with the Arab custom of giving an important foreign city or seaport the name of the country in which it lay (compare the city of Solmandala, under COROMANDEL). It long kept a place in maps. The last occurrence that we know of is in a chart of 1743, in Dalrymple’s Collection, which identifies it with Chittagong, and it may be considered certain that Chittagong was the place intended by the older writers (see Varthema and Ovington). The former, as regards his visiting Banghella, deals in fiction—a thing clear from internal evidence, and expressly alleged, by the judicious Garcia de Orta: “As to what you say of Ludovico Vartomano, I have spoken, both here and in Portugal, with men who knew him here in India, and they told me that he went about here in the garb of a Moor, and then reverted to us, doing penance for his sins; and that the man never went further than Calecut and Cochin.”—Colloquios, f. 30.

c. 1250.—“Muhammad Bakhtiyar…returned to Behar. Great fear of him prevailed in the minds of the infidels of the territories of Lakhnauti, Behar, Bang, and Kamrup.”—Tabakat-Nasiri, in Elliot, ii. 307.

1298.—“Bangala is a Province towards the south, which up to the year 1290…had not yet been conquered.…” (&c.).—Marco Polo, Bk. ii. ch. 55.

c. 1300.—“…then to Bijalar (but better reading Bangala), which from of old is subject to Delhi.…”—Rashiduddin, in Elliot, i. 72.

c. 1345.—“…we were at sea 43 days and then arrived in the country of Banjala, which is a v ast region abounding in rice. I have seen no country in the world where provisions are cheaper than in this; but it is muggy, and those who come from Khorasan call it ‘a hell full of good things.’” —Ibn Batuta, iv. 211. (But the Emperor Aurungzebe is alleged to have “emphatically styled it the Paradise of Nations.”—Note in Stavorinus, i. 291.)

c. 1350.—

Shukr shikan shawand hama tutian-i-Hind
Zin kand-i-Parsi kih ba Bangala mi rawad.”


“Sugar nibbling are all the parrots of Ind
From this Persian candy that travels to Bengal

(viz. his own poems).

1498.—“Bemgala: in this Kingdom are many Moors, and few Christians, and the King is a Moor…in this land are many cotton cloths, and silk cloths, and much silver; it is 40 days with a fair wind from Calicut.”—Roteiro de V. da Gama, 2nd ed. p. 110.

1506.—“A Banzelo, el suo Re è Moro, e li se fa el forzo de’ panni de gotton…”—Leonardo do Ca’ Masser, 28.

1510.—“We took the route towards the city of Banghella…one of the best that I had hitherto seen.”—Varthema, 210.

1516.—“…the Kingdom of Bengala, in which there are many towns.…Those of the interior are inhabited by Gentiles subject to the King of Bengala, who is a Moor; and the seaports are inhabited by Moors and Gentiles, amongst whom there is much trade and much shipping to many parts, because this sea is a gulf…and at its inner extremity there is a very great city inhabited by Moors, which is called Bengala, with a very good harbour.”—Barbosa, 178-9.

c. 1590.—“Bungaleh originally was called Bung; it derived the additional al from that being the name given to the mounds of earth which the ancient Rajahs caused to be raised in the low lands, at the foot of the hills.”—Ayeen Akbery, tr. Gladwin, ii. 4 (ed. 1800); [tr. Jarrett, ii. 120].

1690.—“Arracan…is bounded on the North-West by the Kingdom of Bengala, some Authors making Chatigam to be its first Frontier City; but Teixeira, and generally the Portuguese Writers, reckon that as a City of Bengala; and not

  By PanEris using Melati.

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