Catch rich perspectives of the history of Mumbai and learn more about the city's colorful past. Consisting of seven islands, Mumbai was once home to the Koli fisherfolk, whose shelters are still found today.
Various Hindu dynasties consolidated their rule one after the other. Muslim invasions were a rampant affair in the 14th century. The Sultan of Gujarat in the year 1534 surrendered the place to Portugal. The Portuguese hardly worked towards the city's development. It was only when the major island of the group came as dowry to Charles II in 1661, that the first signs of development could be seen. The British Government gained control of all the seven islands in the year 1665. Later it was given on lease to the East India Company for a small amount.
Owing to its strategic location, it developed as an important trading center. Various merchants, from all across the country were lured to this city by the British promise of religious freedom and land grants. Several ethnic communities including the Muslim Gujaratis, South Indian Hindus and Zoroastrian Parsis came to Mumbai (then known as Bombay) in search of religious freedom. The intermingling of these ethnic groups made Bombay a hub of multiculturalism. In the following decades, the presidency of the East India Company was shifted to Bombay from Surat. Now the town became the trading center for the entire western coast of India.
The fort of Bombay was constructed during the 1720s, which was followed by clearing of lands and an effort to bring the seven islands together into one single whole. Bombay came into prominence with the rise of the Marathas on the Indian political scene, which posed a threat to the then ruling Mughal Empire and a force which could counter the British. But the British were successful in defeating the Marathas, thereby seizing major portions of Western India in the year 1818. Industrialization took off with the arrival of steam engines and the building of the first railway line from Bombay to Thane in the year 1853.
The American Civil War taking a toll on Britain's supply of cotton, led to the expansion of the cotton industry in Bombay. Bombay soon became a major port of the country.
History of Mumbai shows us the significant role it played in Indian nationalist politics. It was Bombay, where the first meeting of the Indian National Congress took place in the year 1885 under the presidentship of W.C. Bonerjee. It was Bombay, where the Quit India Movement started in the year 1942. In 1960, the Bombay presidency was divided into Gujarat and Maharasthra on linguistic grounds.
The city was renamed Mumbai by the Shiv Sena in the year 1996. Serial bomb blasts rocked the city in 2003. In the year 2005, the state of Maharasthra came to a complete standstill with a deluge caused by the heaviest rainfall in the history of Mumbai, leaving thousand dead and many homeless. Mumbai has survived the serial blasts in the year 2006 and major terrorist attack on Nov-08 and still continues to be ahead of most of the Indian cities in terms of progress and development.