Portuguese and British colonists founded Mumbai city in the 17th century. Mumbai comprises of a collection of islands on the coast of the Arabian Sea and is the commercial and cultural capital of India and one of the most densely inhabited cities in the world. The Portuguese named the city Bombay and it was the official name until 1995, when it was changed to Mumbai, and today both names are popularly used.
Mumbai city was originally made up of seven small islands, having mangrove forests and marshland broke down by rivers, streams and the sea.
Fishing villages and settlements of the Koli and Aagris tribes developed on these islands in the begining.
The area became a center for Hindu and Buddhist culture and religion under the Maurya Empire. The ancient port of Sopara used to connect western India with West Asia, and in the 9th century the area came under the rule of the Silhara dynasty.
Francis Almeida sailed and reached the land and named it Bom Bahia or "Good Bay." This led to the founding of numerous churches, which were constructed in areas where the majority of people were Roman Catholics. Only one church with Portuguese-style window dressing still remains
In 1661 the seven islands were surrendered to Charles II of England as the dowry of Catherine de Braganza. The islands were rented to the British East India Company in 1668.
Sir Robert Grant governed Bombay from 1835 to 1838 and was responsible for the construction of a number of roads between Bombay and the surroundings. The Thana and Colaba paves were built during his tenure as well as the Grant Medical College.
On 16th of April, 1853, a 21-mile long railway line, the first in India, between Bombay's Victoria Terminus and Thana was opened . The Great Indian Peninsular and the Bombay Baroda and Central India Railway started in 1860 and a regular service of steamers on the west coast began in 1869. In 1858, following the First War of Independence of 1857, the East India Company was accused of mismanagement.
The Gateway of India was built to honor the visit of king George V and Queen Mary for the Darbar at Delhi in 1911.
The British drained the marshlands, developing a modern port and city, which attracted drifting workers from across India.
In the 19th century, Mumbai came forth as an important center of international commerce and industry. it became an important center for politics and government, getting a strong base of the Indian independence movement.
Following India's independence in 1947, the city's population expanded enormously. Modern service, commerce and technology sectors have replaced the older, heavier industries. The enlargement of city limits has been followed by the foundation of the sister city of Navi Mumbai. Mumbai enjoys a high quality living conditions, modern economy and urban infrastructure
In 1960 the state of Bombay was split into Maharashtra and Gujarat states again on linguistic basis, the former holding Bombay city as its capital.
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