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Earlier History of Mumbai

1534 - Bombay islands were captured by the Portuguese.
1661 - The islands were gifted in the dowry to Charles II of England.
1668 - Charles II gave the islands to the East Indian Company on lease.
1708 - Bombay became the H.Q. of the East India Company.
1862 - The islands were merged to shape one stretch.
1869 - Suez Canal was opened and Bombay developed as an international port.
1947 - Bombay was declared the capital of Bombay state.
1960 - Bombay was made the capital of Maharashtra.
1995 - The name was changed to Mumbai after the goddess 'Mumbadevi'.

The history and origin of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) goes like this. Bombay was initially a group of seven islands on the Konkan coastline, occupied by Koli fishermen. Until Sultan Muhamed Begada seized the islands, Bombay was inhabited by the Hindus. Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese traveler, was the first person to explore the sea-route to Bombay. The discovery led to repeated attacks by the Portuguese, who eventually captured the islands in 1534.

The Portuguese constructed a parish, several forts and churches, but couldn't realize any value out of them. In 1661, these islands were gifted to Charles II of England, in the dowry of Catherine de Braganza, who was the sister of the Portuguese King. Finding no use of the islands, Charles II leased them to the East India Company in 1668. This trading company took great advantage of the strategic location of the islands and built the docks, trading posts and the fort that would make the switchboard of the city.

Before long, Bombay developed into an important trading post. Reclamation was started and Gerald Aungier, the Governor persuaded businessmen from all parts of the country to come and settle in Bombay. He was titled the 'Father of Bombay' seeing that during his time, Bombay developed into a major commercial centre. The booming port attracted the capitalist communities like the Parsis, Gujaratis and Marwaris, who established trading companies and factories.

In 1708, Bombay became the headquarters of the East India Company. During the 18th century, the population considerably increased and basic amenities were introduced to the city. Bombay saw construction of various buildings, monuments, railway stations, offices, banks etc in the 19th century. By the year 1862, the seven islands were coupled together to figure one expanse. With the advent of the Great Indian Peninsular Railways, the city received enhanced means of communication.

As soon as the Suez Canal was opened in 1869, Bombay flourished as an international port and reinforced itself as the chief commercial and industrial center in India. It was declared the capital of Bombay state, once India became independent in 1947. In 1960, Maharashtra, the state, came into existence and Bombay state was dissolved to make its capital. Bombay was named as Mumbai after 'Mumbadevi', the patron goddess of Koli fisher folks in 1995.


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