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Mumbai formerly Bombay, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. As of 2009, Mumbai is the largest city in the world in terms of population, with the city proper having a population of approximately 14 million inhabitants, and along with the neighbouring cities of Navi Mumbai and Thane, it forms an urban agglomeration with around 19 million people. Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbour. As of 2009, Mumbai was named an Alpha world city.

Bombay was originally a cluster of seven Koli islands inhabited by fishermen. These islands were a part of Gujarat. When the Muslim ruler Sultan Muhamed Begada captured the islands, Bombay was till then inhabited by the Hindus. Vasco da Gama a Portuguese was the first man to discover the sea route to Bombay. After repeated attacks, the Sultan of Gujarat handed over the islands to the Portuguese in 1534.

The Portuguese could not find any use for them and in1661 the island of Bombay was given to Charles 11 of England as part of the dowry when he got married to Catherine of Braganza., sister of the Portuguese king.

A few years later Charles 11 took possession of the remaining islands. In 1668,the East India Company a trading company based in Surat (Gujarat), took over on lease the island of Bombay due to its strategic location and port advantage, Bombay soon became an important trading port. Development and reclamation started and the then Governor Gerald Aungier (1672-1677) encouraged business men from all over to come and settle. Historians have given him the title of "Father of Bombay" because it was in this period Bombay boomed. to become a prime commercial centre..

The Zorastrian Parsis were the first to arrive and settle and build their first tower of silence in 1675. Many streets are named after successful Parsi businessmen, industrialist and philanthropists. Among them the Tataís are most famous. Air India was set up by JRD Tata and Hotel Taj Mahal stands as a great memorial to his father. Then came the Hindus, Goan Catholics, and the Muslims. In 1687 the presidency of the East India Company shifted from Surat to Bombay and finally in 1708 Bombay became itís headquarter. By the 18th century the population had grown and basic amenities and public services introduced like piped water supply, Hospitals, Railways ,Tramcars, Courts , Mint, etc. The Victoria Terminus Railway Station was made in 1887, designed by F. W. Stevens and built in Gothic style.

Till today it is one of the most imposing and impressive structures and the credit for this plus other Gothic structures goes to the then governor Sir Bartle Frere who took a keen interest in the making of Bombay. Most of the impressive buildings were made between the years 1860-1900 like the GPO, Offices, Banks, Tourist offices and two of the main railway stations. By 1862 the seven islands had joined together to form one huge mass of land .The arrival of the Great Indian Peninsular Railways signaled improved communications.

The American civil war gave a further boost to the cotton and textile industry, which emerged as the main manufacturing activity. With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 Bombay prospered as an International port, and reinforced its position as a major commercial and industrial center in India.
When India became Independent in 1947 Bombay became the capital of Bombay state. In 1960 Bombay state was dissolved and the state of Maharashtra came into being, with Bombay as its state capital. In 1995 Bombay changed its name to Mumbai. The name Mumbai is derived from "Mumbadevi" the patron goddess of the Koli fisher folks, the earliest known inhabitants.

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