Saturday, 6 January 2007

Mumbai Beginnings

Mumbai sprang from modest roots. It was originally a group of seven islands that have been inhabited since Stone Age. Successive dynasties ignored Mumbai (called Bombay in those days) but when Portuguese acquired islands in 1534, they called them Bom Bahia (which means ‘good port’).

In 1668, Bombay was given in dowry of Catherine of Braganza that brought the islands to Charles ll of England. These were handed over by the king to the East India Company at an annual rent of 10 pounds in gold.

During the 18th century, Mumbai became an increasingly important city with its harbor and naval base. British wealth and power in India reached its zenith in the mid to late 19th century and many of the Neo-Gothic buildings were erected during this period. British continued to view Mumbai as a jewel in its colonial crown and eventually Mumbai became the capital of East India Company’s regional holdings. After independence, Mumbai became the centre of trade and commerce. Textile and shipping were the main industries during those days.

Changing government and political leaders make little impact on the spirit of Mumbai. Mumbai continues to be vibrant and chaotic city and it is now a Bollywood capital. People from all parts of country come to Mumbai with a dream of making it big. Starry eyed youngsters flock to the city dreaming of stardom and Mumbai’s glittery film star party scene fuels pages of celebrity dominated magazines and countless movie gossip.

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The name "Bombay" was derived from 'Bom Bahia' (The Good Bay),

.... a name given by Portuguese sailor Francis Almeida, in 1508 ....“Bounce back Mumbai” it is called by the locals, it is a city that has been through a lot in the recent past – floods, bomb blasts, riots – and come out stronger each time.

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