History of Mumbai

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7 islands

The seven islands (Colaba, Old Woman’s Island (Little Colaba), Mahim, Mazagaon, Parel, Worli) were gradually, over a span of 5 centuries, physically united through land reclamation projects. The remaining islands are: Gharapuri Island/Elephanta Island, Butcher Island, Middle Ground Coastal Battery, Oyster Rock, East Ground.

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7 islands
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Portuguese - Bom Baia

In 1534 the Portuguese took Bombay by force of arms and named their new possession as "Bom Baia" which in Portuguese means "Good Bay." This led to the establishment of numerous churches which were constructed in areas where the majority of people were Roman Catholics. There used to be two areas in Bombay called "Portuguese Church". However, only one church with Portuguese-style facade still remains; it is the St. Andrew's church at Bandra.

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Portuguese - Bom Baia
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British - East India Company

A 128 years later the islands were given to the English King Charles II in dowry on his marriage to Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza in 1662. In the year 1668 the islands were acquired by the English East India Company on lease from the crown for an annual sum of 10 pounds in gold. The Company, which was operating from Surat, was in search for another deeper water port so that larger vessels could dock, and found the islands of Bombay suitable for development.

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British - East India Company
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Breach Candy

The British corrupted the Portuguese name "Bom Baia" to "Bombay". Various causeways (a causeway is a road or railway elevated, usually across a broad body of water or wetland) took place during the reigns of various governors. The second and oldest unauthorized construction that took place in Mumbai and the offender was the Governor of Mumbai, William Hornby, at a total expenditure Rs 1,00,000. The approval for the reclamation had been sought from the company of directors in England. The rejection arrived a year later, but the causeway was complete. This causeway was named Hornby Vellard, sealing the Great Breach (Breach Candy) between Dongri, Malabar hill and Worli.

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Breach Candy
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VT - Thane railroad

On Saturday 16th of April, 1853 a 21-mile long railway line, the first in India, between Bombay's Victoria Terminus and Thana was opened. Around 1860 the piped water supply from Tulsi and Vehar lakes (and later Tansa) was inaugurated. One reform which met with much superstitious opposition,was the sealing and banning the use of water from open wells and tanks that bred mosquitoes. A good drainage system was also constructed at the same time.

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VT - Thane railroad
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Construction of historical landmarks

The later half of the 19th century was also to see a feverish construction of buildings in Bombay, many of which such as, the Victoria Terminus, the Prince of Wales Museum, Rajabai Tower and Bombay University, Elphinstone College, the Crawford Market, etc., still stand today as major landmarks.

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Construction of historical landmarks
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Gateway of India

The Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of king George V and Queen Mary for the Darbar at Delhi in 1911.

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Gateway of India
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Assets of Mumbai

Mumbai is currently the commercial and entertainment capital of India, it is also one of the world's top 10 centres of commerce. Mumbai is home to important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India, the SEBI and the corporate headquarters of numerous Indian companies and multinational corporations. It houses some of India's premier scientific and nuclear institutes like BARC and the Department of Atomic Energy. The city also houses India's Hindi (Bollywood) and Marathi film and television industry.

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Assets of Mumbai
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Mumbai - Now

Mumbai's business opportunities, as well as its potential to offer a higher standard of living, attract migrants from all over India and, in turn, make the city a potpourri of many communities and cultures.

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Mumbai - Now
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