The area that came to be Bangladesh was ruled by Buddhist kings for 400 hundred years until being conquered by the Muslims about 1200 A.D. In the 16th century it was absorbed into the Moghul Empire and by 1642 the British had arrived in the form of the British East India Company. One hundred years later, the area was entirely under British rule. In 1947, India achieved independence with Hindu (West) Bengal assigned to India and the East (Muslim) area given to Pakistan. Nearly a quarter of a century later, the Eastern Bengal claimed its own independence with civil war ensuing. An astounding 10 million refugees fled to India. Since independence, Bangladesh has remained one of the world's poorest nations, marked by instability in every realm along with a tendency to be in the path of natural disasters.