Cox's Bazar (Bengali: কক্সবাজার, pronounced [kɔksbadʒaɾ]) is a city, fishing port, tourism centre and district headquarters in southeastern Bangladesh. It is famous mostly for its long natural sandy beach, and it is infamous for the largest refugee camp in the world. It is located 150 km (93 mi) south of the divisional headquarter city of Chittagong. Cox's Bazar is also known by the name Panowa, which translates literally as "yellow flower". Another old name was "Palongkee".
The modern Cox's Bazar derives its name from Captain Hiram Cox, an officer of the British East India Company, a Superintendent of Palongkee outpost. To commemorate his role in refugee rehabilitation work, a market was established and named after him.
The municipality covers an area of 6.85 km2 (2.64 sq mi) with 27 mahallas and 9 wards and as of 2012 had a population of 51,918. Cox's Bazar is connected by road and air with Chittagong.
- Native name: কক্সবাজার
- Location: Chittagong Division
- Area: 6.85 km2 (2.64 sq mi)
From the early 9th century the greater Chittagong area, including Cox's Bazar, was under the rule of Arakan kings until 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 its scenic and captivating beauty. 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 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. He succeeded Warren Hastings, who became the Governor of Bengal following the British East India Company Act in 1773. Cox embarked upon the task of rehabilitation and settlement of the Arakanese refugees in the area. He rehabilitated many refugees in the area, but died in 1799 before finishing his work. To commemorate him, a market was established and named after him, called Cox's Bazar. Cox's Bazar was first established in 1854 and became a municipality in 1869.
After the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857, the British East India Company was highly criticised on humanitarian grounds, specially for its opium trade monopoly over the Indian Sub-Continent. However, after its dissolution on 1 January 1874, the company's assets, including its armed forces, were acquired by the British Crown. After this takeover, Cox's Bazar was declared a district of the Bengal Province under the British Crown.