August 5, 2009


The greater Chittagong area including Cox's Bazar was under the rule of Arakan Kings from the early 9th century till its conquest by the Mughals in 1666 AD. When the Mughal Prince Shah Shuja was passing through the hilly terrain of the present day Cox’s Bazar on his way to Arakan, he was attracted to the scenic and captivating beauty of the place. He commanded his forces to camp there. His retinue of one thousand palanquins stopped there for some time. A place named Dulahazara, meaning "one thousand palanquins", still exists in the area. After the Mughals, the place came under the control of the Tipras and the Arakanese, followed by the Portuguese and then the British.

The name Cox's Bazar/Bazaar originated from the name of a British East India Company officer, Captain Hiram Cox who was appointed as the Superintendent of Palonki (today's Cox's Bazar) outpost after Warren Hastings became the Governor of Bengal following the British East IndiaCompany Act in 1773. Captain Cox was especially mobilized to deal with a century long conflict between Arakan refugees & local Rakhains at Palonki. The Captain made significant progress in rehabilitation of refugees in the area, but had died (in 1799) before he could finish his work. To commemorate his role in rehabilitation works a market / bazaar was established and was named after him as Cox's Bazaar (market of Cox). Cox's Bazar thana was first established in 1854 and a municipality was constituted in 1869.

After the Sepoy Mutiny (Indian Rebellion of 1857) in 1857, the British East India Company was highly criticized & questioned in humanitarian ground specially for its Opium trade monopoly over the Indian Sub-Continent. However after getting dissolved on January 1, 1874, all of company's assets including its Armed Forces were acquired by the British Crown. After this historic take over, Cox's Bazar was declared as a district of the Bengal Province under the British Crown.

After the end of British rule in 1947, Cox's Bazar remained as a part of East Pakistan. Captain Advocate Fazlul Karim, the first Chairman (after independence from the British) of Cox's Bazar Municipality established the Tamarisk Forest along the beach to draw tourist attention in this town and also to protect the beach from tidal waves. He also donated many of his father in law’s and his own lands for establishing a Public Library and a Town Hall for the town. He was inspired to build Cox's Bazar as a tourist spot after seeing beaches of Bombay and Karachi, and one of the pioneers in developing Cox's Bazar as such. He founded a Maternity Hospital, the Stadium and the drainage system by procuring grants from the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation through correspondence. Mr. T. H. Matthews, the principal of the Dacca Engineering College (1949-1954) was his friend who had helped him in doing this. Engineer Chandi Charan Das was the government civil engineer who had worked on all these projects. In 1959 the municipality was turned into a town committee. In 1961 the erstwhile Geological Survey of Pakistan initiated investigation of radioactive minerals like monazite around the Cox’s bazar sea-beach area and a number of precious heavy minerals were identified the same year.

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