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History of Mumbai


History of Mumbai

The History of Mumbai narrates the development of Mumbai as the commercial hub of India from a group of seven islands which were originally inhabited by a fishing community, the Kolis.

Seven Islands Of Mumbai

The current city of Mumbai came into existence because of clustering of the seven islands together over the period of five centuries. The following islands have served to give Mumbai its present form:
Isle of Mumbai
Colaba
Mahim
Mazagaon
Parel
Worli
Old Woman’s Island (Little Colaba)

Later on the islands were gained control by the Mauryas and changed into an important centre for the Hindu and Buddhist religion and culture. The islands have seen successive dynasties like Satavahanas, Abhiras, Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas etc gaining control over the islands.

During the Islamic period, the islands were captured by the Muslim rulers in Gujarat in the year 1348 followed by the governance of the Gujarat Sultanate during 1391 to 1534. The "Treaty of Bassein" signed between the Gujarat Sultanate, Bahadur Shah and the then Portuguese Viceroy placed these islands into the hands of the Portuguese in 1534. The Portuguese period thus was initiated in Mumbai, The Portuguese took an active part in the foundation and development of the different religious cultures in Bombay. In 1661, the islands were gained possession by Charles II of England as a dowry of the daughter of King John IV of Portugal. He then leased the islands to the British East India Company in the year 1668.

The first to settle down in 1675 in the city were the Zorastrian Parsis. Several streets were named after the Parsi industrialist businessmen, and philanthropists, popular among them being the Tatas. While Air India was brought into existence by JRD Tata, the Hotel TajMahal bears the memories of his father. They were followed by the Hindus, Muslims and the Goan Catholics. The year 1687 saw the shift of the East India Company's presidency from Surat to Bombay with the later, becoming the headquarters in 1708.
The Mughals captured the city in the 17th century and by the middle of the 18th century, the city appeared as a major trading town in lieu of its trading contacts with Basra and Mecca.

By 18th century almost all the important public services and basic amenities had started developing within the such as piped water supply, Railways , Hospitals, Courts , Mint, Tramcars, etc. The Victoria Terminus Railway Station was set up in 1887. It is among the most impressive structures till today. Majority of the buildings like the Offices, GPO, Banks, Tourist offices and railway stations were set up during 1860-1900. By the year 1862 the cluster of seven islands had combined into one enormous land.

The American civil war boosted the textile and cotton industry. The Suez Canal's opening in 1869 helped Bombay prosper as one of the major International port which further armored its position as the important industrial and commercial hub of India.
The history of Mumbai reveals that social, economic, cultural and educational developments characterized Bombay in the 19th century with the formation of the first railway line in India that started plying between Thane and Bombay in 1853. The city bears testimony to the India's Independence Movement in the early half of the 20th century.

It was only during the British rule in India and particularly in Mumbai that the seven islands around Mumbai were merged into one island, the present day Mumbai. This venture started in 1782 under the governor William Hornby and it was completed in 1838. The British rule in Mumbai continued peacefully owing to some significant favors done by the British government to the Maratha community under the Treaty of Salbai until the national wave for independence took whole country by storm. The Royal Indian Navy Mutiny by the Indian sailors against the British was initiated in Mumbai which later spread to all the parts of India.

After the independence of India in 1947, Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti demanded for the creation of a separate Maratha speaking state out of the existing city of Mumbai where till then people from different religions speaking different languages resided together peacefully. The demand was rejected on the grounds of being a threat to the communal harmony of the country. But since then there were continuous demonstrations and meetings by the Maratha leaders for the division. They were finally able to get themselves heard in 1960 with Maharashtra being divided and a new state called Gujarat coming into existence which comprised of Gujarati speaking people of Maharashtra.

Mumbai Seven Islands Map