Bombay, or Mumbai, as people call it today, has had an intriguing past. There are as many facts about Mumbai as there are stars on a starry night! While most of Mumbaikars can claim to know the financial capital of India inside and out, there is always a sliver of a story that goes unnoticed even by the best Mumbai-lovers.
In FACTS ABOUT MUMBAI (part I), I will share the most amazing, weird, surprising and shocking facts about the Indian City of Dreams!
One of the most shocking facts about Mumbai is that it was given as a dowry to the British!
The year is 1534:
Portuguese establishes its control over the port of Bombay. The treaty of Bassein is signed between Portugal and Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat. And a new religious phase begins in Bombay. Roman Catholicism enters the picture. Bombay is known as Bombaim then.
The year is 1583:
The first English merchant’s step in Bombay. They are stunned by the natural port. Bombay becomes an important trade route for the British. And now, they want complete control over it.
They year is 1612:
The British and the Portuguese fight it out at Surat to take command over Bombay. The British emerge victoriously, and the Portuguese lose their monopoly over the much-coveted islands of Bombay.
The year is 1661:
The Portuguese are slowly losing their control over the islands of Bombaim, as it was called back then.
So, when Charles II gets married to Princess Catherine de Braganza of Portugal, Bombay is handed over as a dowry to the British.
However, in an interesting turn of events, Charles II thinks that handling an entire set of islands as a dowry is a little too much for him. So, he rents Bombay to East India Company for just 10 pounds a year, that too in gold!
And the rest is history!
Read Also – History of the City that Never Sleeps: Mumbai