The Sundarbans is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world. The Sunderbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site covering parts of Bangladesh and India. Two-third of the Sundarbans is in Bangladesh while rest one-third is in India. The Sundarbans National Park is a National Park, Tiger Reserve, and a Biosphere Reserve located in the Sundarbans delta in the Indian state of West Bengal. Sundarbans South, East and West are three protected forests in Bangladesh. This region is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger.
The name Sundarban can be literally translated as "beautiful forest" in the Bengali language (Shundor, "beautiful" and bon, "forest"). The name may have been derived from the Sundari trees that are found in Sundarbans in large numbers. Alternatively, it has been proposed that the name is a corruption of Samudraban Shomudrobôn "Sea Forest") or Chandra-bandhe (name of a primitive tribe). However, the generally accepted view is the one associated with Sundari trees.
The history of the area can be traced back to 200–300 AD. A ruin of a city built by Chand Sadagar has been found in the Baghmara Forest Block. During the Mughal period, the Mughal Kings leased the forests of the Sundarbans to nearby residents. Many criminals took refuge in the Sundarbans from the advancing armies of Emperor Akbar. Many have been known to be attacked by Tigers Many of the buildings which were built by them later fell to hands of Portuguese pirates, salt smugglers and dacoits in the 17th century. Evidence of the fact can be traced from the ruins at Netidhopani and other places scattered all over Sundarbans. The legal status of the forests underwent a series of changes, including the distinction of being the first mangrove forest in the world to be brought under scientific management.
The area was mapped first in Persian, by the Surveyor General as early as 1764 following soon after proprietary rights were confiscated from the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II by the British East India Company in 1757. As the British had no expertise or adaptation experience in mangrove forests. Systematic management of this forest tract started in the 1860s after the establishment of a Forest Department in the Province of Bengal, in British India. The management was entirely designed to extract whatever treasures were available, but labor and lower management mostly were staffed by locals.