Mumbai was given as dowry to Britishers & was rented in just 10 pounds

Mumbai Given As Dowry To Britishers And Rented To EIC In Just 10 Pounds
Mumbai Given As Dowry To Britishers And Rented To EIC In Just 10 Pounds

Bombay, now known as Mumbai, is home to around 10 million people. It is a thriving cosmopolitan, multi-cultural city, and is the centre of India’s entertainment industry.

  • Mumbai has been growing for five hundred years, even though it was built on what initially looked like very weak foundations.
  • At first, there were just seven islands separated by swamps: the land was dangerous and unhealthy. A thousand years ago the islands were part of the Magadhan empire. Later they belonged to the Silhara family and in 1343 they became part of the lands of the Sultan of Gujarat.
  • The first Englishmen to visit Mumbai were raiders. In October 1626, whilst at war with Portugal, English sailors heard that the Portuguese had “got into a hole called Bombay” to repair their ships.
bombay in 1750
bombay in 1750
  • They attacked Bombay, but the ships had already left. The English burned down buildings, and destroyed two new Portuguese ships “not yet from the stocks”.
  • In May 1662, King Charles II of England married Catherine of Braganza, whose family offered a large dowry (a gift made by the father of the bride to the groom). Part of this gift was the Portuguese territory of Bombay. However, Charles II did not want the trouble of ruling these islands and in 1668 persuaded the East India Company to rent them for just 10 pounds of gold a year.
  • As Bombay was a deepwater port, large vessels were able to dock there. Bombay needed a fort and a garrison of soldiers to protect it from Dutch fleets and Indian pirates.
  • Unfortunately, it was an unhealthy climate for the English – it was said of Bombay that “three years was the average duration of European life”; “two mussouns (i.e. monsoons, there was one every year) are the age of a man”; and of children born there “not one in twenty live beyond their infant days”. Men who lived there were encouraged to marry local women, although English women were also “sent out”.
  • The Company supported him and encouraged him to build a new city – they even sent him the plan of London as it was to be rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666.
  • In 1853, the first Indian railway opened, which stretched from Bombay to Thana. The employment created by the new railway attracted more people to settle in Bombay. To keep control, the Company created a number of government buildings. These were in a style very similar to city halls built in England at the time.
  • The city has continued to grow. In 1864, there were 816,562 living there. By 1991, the population of the whole of Bombay (which had spread beyond the islands) was 9,900,000.
  • The city changed its name in 1995 to Mumbai, after Mumbadevi, the stone goddess of the deep-sea fishermen who originally lived on the islands before they were driven out by the East India Company.



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