Mar 29, 2009

Street in Bombay 1860s

Photograph of a street in Bombay (Mumbai), Maharashtra, by an unknown photographer, from an album of 40 prints taken in the 1860s. The view taken in the Bombay Fort area in the centre of the business district of Bombay looks along a street lined with commercial premises, including Favre Brothers (jewellers and watch-makers) and the Bombay Times and Standard office in foreground. Bombay, one of the key cities of India, is a major port, busy manufacturing centre and capital of Maharashtra. During British rule, it was the administrative capital of the Bombay Presidency. It extends over a peninsula jutting into the Arabian Sea on the west coast of India. Originally a collection of fishing villages of the Koli community built on seven islands, Bombay was by the 14th century controlled by the Gujarat Sultanate who ceded it to the Portuguese in the 16th century. In 1661 it was part of the dowry brought to Charles II of England when he married the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza. The British built up fortifications around Bombay harbour in the 17th century around the original Portuguese settlement. In the 1760s the fortifications were enhanced as the British were engaged in war with France in both Europe and India. By the 19th century the British had established control over India and the fort walls were torn down and the area converted into the central district of Bombay city.