originally a cluster of seven Koli islands inhabited by
fishermen. These islands were a part of Gujarat. When the
Muslim ruler Sultan Muhamed Begada captured the islands,
Bombay was till then inhabited by the Hindus. Vasco da Gama
a Portuguese was the first man to discover the sea route to
Bombay. After repeated attacks, the Sultan of Gujarat handed
over the islands to the Portuguese in 1534.
The Portuguese could not find any use for them and in1661
the island of Bombay was given to Charles 11 of England as
part of the dowry when he got married to Catherine of
Braganza., sister of the Portuguese king.
A few years later Charles 11 took possession of the
remaining islands. In 1668,the East India Company a trading
company based in Surat (Gujarat), took over on lease the
island of Bombay due to its strategic location and port
advantage, Bombay soon became an important trading port.
Development and reclamation started and the then Governor
Gerald Aungier (1672-1677) encouraged business men from all
over to come and settle. Historians have given him the title
of "Father of Bombay" because it was in this period Bombay
boomed. to become a prime commercial centre..
The Zorastrian Parsis were the first to arrive and settle
and build their first tower of silence in 1675. Many streets
are named after successful Parsi businessmen, industrialist
and philanthropists. Among them the Tataís are most famous.
Air India was set up by JRD Tata and Hotel Taj Mahal stands
as a great memorial to his father. Then came the Hindus,
Goan Catholics, and the Muslims. In 1687 the presidency of
the East India Company shifted from Surat to Bombay and
finally in 1708 Bombay became itís headquarter. By the 18th
century the population had grown and basic amenities and
public services introduced like piped water supply,
Hospitals, Railways ,Tramcars, Courts , Mint, etc. The
Victoria Terminus Railway Station was made in 1887, designed
by F. W. Stevens and built in Gothic style.
Till today it is one of the most imposing and impressive
structures and the credit for this plus other Gothic
structures goes to the then governor Sir Bartle Frere who
took a keen interest in the making of Bombay. Most of the
impressive buildings were made between the years 1860-1900
like the GPO, Offices, Banks, Tourist offices and two of the
main railway stations. By 1862 the seven islands had joined
together to form one huge mass of land .The arrival of the
Great Indian Peninsular Railways signaled improved
The American civil war gave a further boost to the cotton
and textile industry, which emerged as the main
manufacturing activity. With the opening of the Suez Canal
in 1869 Bombay prospered as an International port, and
reinforced its position as a major commercial and industrial
center in India.
When India became Independent in 1947 Bombay became the
capital of Bombay state. In 1960 Bombay state was dissolved
and the state of Maharashtra came into being, with Bombay as
its state capital. In 1995 Bombay changed its name to
Mumbai. The name Mumbai is derived from "Mumbadevi" the
patron goddess of the Koli fisher folks, the earliest known