Bengal Villages as Seen by The Foreigners (14th–17th Centuries Ad)


Bengal is the largest delta of the world where villages occupy an important position as human settlement. Historians and social scientists have explored different aspects of urban life in the history of Bengal. But villages remain almost out of their focus. European scholars began research on Bengal villages at the beginning of the colonial rule. Most of these research studies based on the gazetteers, census reports and district reports were published for the smooth operation of the revenue system and administrative structure. Our present knowledge on pre-colonial Bengal villages is mainly based on these colonial records. This paper tries to explore various aspects of Bengal villages during fourteen-seventeenth centuries using the foreigners accounts as primary sources. Most of the foreigners, who came during the period under review, were travelers and traders. They have visited various areas of Bengal and left a vivid description about the rural areas. Using these descriptions this paper concludes that the general pattern of villages in Bengal has not changed over a long time.

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