Mumbai City History and Information

Everything you should know about Mumbai

Mumbai is still commonly referred to as Bombay, its original British name. Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra and Southern India’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. Though it suffers from overcrowding, traffic jams,flood and pollution, these ever worst problems have not obscured the remarkable beauty of its natural setting.

  • Name – Mumbai, Bombay, Mumbadevi
  • Division – Konkan, District – Mumbai City
  • State – Maharashtra
  • Population – 12,478,448 (2011)
  • Language – Marathi

Some Unknown and Interesting Facts About Mumbai

  1. Jamsetji Tata is the first car owner in India who lived in Mumbai.
  2. Antilia, Mukesh Ambani’s World’s most expensive house is in Mumbai valued at $1 billion.
  3. Mumbai comes under Alpha World City(Only 1 from India) (Alpha++ is London and New York)
  4. Mumbai was the first City to start a bus service in India.
  5. India’s first train ran between Mumbai and Thane in 1853.
  6. Mumbai ($ 4,682) is the wealthiest city in the country, Bengaluru is at $ 4,582 (2018 Data)
  7. Mumbai name came from Goddess Mumbadevi.
  8. Mumbai has 1.1 square meter of open space per person, making it the most crowded city in the world.
  9. Mahatma Gandhi started the “Chalejaw” movement in 1942 from Mumbai.
  10. Taj Mahal Hotel, founded in 1903, is India’s first ever 5 star hotel.
  11. Dharavi in Mumbai is 3rd Largest slum in the world.
  12. It took 60 years to merge the 7 islands of Mumbai.

Mumbai History Points

Mumbai occupies a thin piece of land, originally a string of 7 islands separated by lagoons and creeks, jutting out into the Arabian sea. The ocean front side on the west is marked by tree lined hills interspersed with sandy stretches, such as Back Bay, which sweeps in a broad curve south from Malabar Hill(A prime area). Mumbai harbour separates the city from the mainland to the east, beyond which rise into the Western Ghat.

7 Islands of Bombay Map of Bombay in 1893
7 Islands of Bombay Map of Bombay in 1893

Mumbai preserves a splendid architectural heritage. Its noble ensemble of High Victorian period monuments being the finest in Southern India. The principal examples are located in the busy downtown area, near the Gateway of India, the Fort Area and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. At least one full day will be required to cover the buildings described here. Additional time will be required to explore the collection of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sanghralaya. Other notable historical monuments are located in Colaba to the south, and in the residential districts of Malabar Hill, Byculla, Parel and Mahim to the north. These zones may be combined variously into one or more half day tours.

Mumbai strategic location explains it’s unique commercial history, profiting from seaborne links with Gujarat to the north and from Kerala to the south,as well with ports on the Persian Gulf. The arrival of the Portuguese in the beginning of 16th century marked the beginning of the European domination of the Arabian Sea trade.

In 1535 the Portuguese concluded a treaty with Bahadur Shah of Gujarat that granted them the trading rights of Mumbai and nearby Vasai and Chaul. Even so, Mumbai was little developed at first. The most celebrated European to live here in the late 16th century was Garcia Orta, a physician and botanist. His Manor House, at the time the largest residence in the city, later became the residence of the Portuguese governors. Meanwhile, Parel and Mahim, two of the northern islands of Mumbai, were taken over by the Franciscans.

By the turn of the seventeenth century Mumbai had emerged as a lively port. Its growing wealth attracted the people, who landed herein 1626, burning down the Manor House, but this raid did little to curb Portuguese activities. Competition with the Dutch merchants in the area persuaded the directors of the newly formed East India Company in London to establish, trading stations on the Arabian Sea coast. Diplomatic negotiations with Portugal culminated in the marriage agreements of 1668 between Charles and the Catherina, by which the islands of Mumbai passed into the possession of the English crown people.

Mumbai under the English developed steadily into a lucrative trading centre. General Aungier, Governor in 1669-1677, did much to improve the settlement, re-modelling the Manor House, thereafter known as the Castle, establishing the first church, and building forts on rocky promontories. Mumbai became a haven for oppressed communities, mostly notably the Parsi, who arrived after 1670, and later the Jews. In 1708 Mumbai displaced Surat in Gujarat as the principal headquarters of the East India Company on the Arabian Seacoast. The area around the Castle, known as the Fort, was strengthened with earthen ramparts to shield British fleets from attacks by the Maratha, the dominant power on the mainland in the 18th century.Under William Horn by,Governor in 1771-84, the ramparts were replaced by stone wall sand gates.

Mumbai grew rapidly in the 19th century, mainly due to the private enterprise, which was much stimulated by the abolition of the Company’s trade monopoly. This era was witnessed the rise in the fortunes of Parsi and Jewish families, such as the Wadias, Tatas, Jehangirs and Sassoons. The first railway(train) in India was completed in 1854,connecting Mumbai(Bombay) to Thane (Thana) on the mainland, other lines followed. With the disruption of cotton deliveries from the United States to Europe due to the American Civil War of 1861-1865, Mumbai boomed as an alternative source of supply, with textile mills springing up all over the city. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1868 brought Mumbai closer to Europe. The increased volume of shipping necessitated a new dockyard with extensive ship building facilities, from which was laid out on the harbour side of the city(Dockyard).

old mill in mumbai Shakti mill
Old mill in mumbai ,Shakti mill

Mumbai’s expansion was led by dynamic figures like Governors Mountstuart Elphinstone (1819-1827) and Bartle Frere (1862-1867). These Governors were responsible for ambitious reclamation schemes that transformed Mumbai into a continuous peninsular by draining the lagoons and joining together the islands. Additional land was gained by demolishing the walls and gates surrounding of the Fort. This provided a setting for a new and imposing series of municipal, and commercial monuments designed in an special variation of the Victorian Neo-Gothic style. Many of these survive to give the city its distinctive architectural

Mumbai development has been sustained in recent few years, with new residential and commercial complexes crowding the reclaimed land fringing Back Bay. Though much of the city’s heavy industry has already shifted beyond the old metropolitan limits, the port continues to benefit from the busiest dockyard in India. In addition, film industry lends the city a certain glamour and notoriety. The enormous garish posters and hoardings advertising new “Bollywood” films are to be seen everywhere in Mumbai.

Best Places to Visit in Mumbai

  • Gateway Of India – The construction of this gate was decided to welcome King George and Queen Mary.
  • Siddhivinayak Temple – The Siddhivinayaka temple in the Prabhadevi area of Mumbai is very ancient.
  • Elephanta Caves
  • Marine Drive
  • Sanjay Gandhi National Park
  • Red Carpet Wax Museum
  • Worli Sealink
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
  • Bandra Bandstand
  • Taraporewala Aquarium

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