Remnants of civilization in the greater Bengal region date back four thousand years, when the region was settled by Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman, and Austro-Asiatic peoples. The exact origin of the word `Bangla’ or `Bengal’ is unknown, though it is believed to be derived from Bang (Sanskrit Vanga), the Dravidian-speaking tribe that settled in the area around the year 1000 BC.
The Kingdom of Gangaridai was founded as early as in the seventh century BC, which later merged with Bihar under the Magadha, Nanda, Mauryan and Sunga Empires. Bengal was later part of the Gupta Empire and Harsha Empire from the third to the sixth centuries AD. Following its collapse, a dynamic Bangalee named Shashanka founded an impressive yet short-lived kingdom. Shashanka is considered the first independent king in the history of Bangladesh. After a period of anarchy, the Buddhist Pala dynasty ruled the region for four hundred years commonly referred to as the `Golden Age of Bengal’. This was followed by a shorter reign of the Hindu Sena dynasty.