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Country India
State Maharashtra
Settled 1507
Population 12,478,447
Area (sq mi) 233 sq mi
Population density (/sq mi) 54,000/sq mi

Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra and the financial capital of India. With a population of 13,662,885, it is the second most populous city proper in the world.[1] Along with the neighbouring suburbs of Navi Mumbai and Thane, it forms, at 19 million, the world's fifth most populous metropolitan area. Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbor. Mumbai's port handles over half of India's maritime cargo.[2]

Mumbai is the commercial and entertainment centre of India, generating 5% of India's GDP[3] and accounting for 25% of industrial output, 40% of maritime trade, and 70% of capital transactions to India's economy.[4] Mumbai is one of the world's top ten centres of commerce by global financial flow,[5] home to important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India and the corporate headquarters of many Indian companies and numerous multinational corporations. The city also houses India's Hindi film and television industry, known as Bollywood. Mumbai's business opportunities, as well as its potential to offer a better standard of living, attract migrants from all over India and, in turn, make the city a potpourri of many communities and cultures.


In 1534, the Portuguese appropriated the islands from Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. They were ceded to Charles II of England in 1661, as dowry[6] for Catherine de Braganza. These islands, were in turn leased to the British East India Company in 1668 for a sum of £10 per annum. The company found the deep harbour on the east coast of the islands to be ideal for setting up their first port in the sub-continent. The population quickly rose from 10,000 in 1661, to 60,000 in 1675; In 1687, the British East India Company transferred its headquarters from Surat to Mumbai. The city eventually became the headquarters of the Bombay Presidency.

From 1817 onwards, the city was reshaped with large civil engineering projects aimed at merging all the islands in the archipelago into a single amalgamated mass. This project, known as the Hornby Vellard, was completed by 1845, and resulted in the total area swelling to 438 km². In 1853, India's first passenger railway line was established, connecting Mumbai to the town of Thane. During the American Civil War (1861–1865), the city became the world's chief cotton trading market, resulting in a boom in the economy and subsequently enhancing the city's stature.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 transformed Bombay into one of the largest seaports on the Arabian Sea.[7] Over the next thirty years, the city grew into a major urban centre, spurred by an improvement in infrastructure and the construction of many of the city's institutions. The population of the city swelled to one million by 1906, making it the second largest in India after Calcutta. As capital of the Bombay Presidency, it was a major base for the Indian independence movement, with the Quit India Movement called by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942 being its most rubric event. After India's independence in 1947, it became the capital of Bombay State. In the 1950 the city expanded to its present limits by incorporating parts of Salsette island which lay to the north.

After 1955, when the State of Bombay was being re-organised along linguistic lines into the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, there was a demand that the city be constituted as an autonomous city-state. Bombay Citizens' commitee, an advocacy group comprising of leading Gujarati industrialists lobbied for Mumbai's independent status. However, the Samyukta Maharashtra movement opposed this, and insisted that Mumbai be declared the capital of Maharashtra. Following protests in which 105 people were killed by police firing, Maharashtra state was formed with Mumbai as its capital on May 1, 1960.

The city's secular fabric was torn apart in the riots of 1992–93, after large scale sectarian violence caused extensive loss of life and property. A few months later, on March 12, a series of co-ordinated bombings at several city landmarks by Islamic groups and the Bombay underworld killed around three hundred people.

In 1996, the city was renamed Mumbai[8] by the Shiv Sena government of Maharashtra, in keeping with their policy of renaming colonial institutions after historic local names. There have also been armed attacks, sponsored by Islamic groups, on public transport buses in past years. In 2006, Mumbai was also the site of a 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings in which over two hundred people were killed when several bombs exploded almost simultaneously on the Mumbai Suburban Railway.[9] Recently the city has seen a series of politically motivated assaults on the North Indian population by the members of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, a party headed by Raj Thackeray.[10]

On the evening of 26 November 2008, a group of armed men launched attacks in the southern part of Mumbai, killing over 160 people, injuring hundreds and taking hostages in multiple locations.[11] Amongst those killed was Hemant Karkare, the chief of the Mumbai police's anti-terror squad.[12]


  1. m/wg.php?x=&men=gcis&lng=en&des=wg&srt=npan&col=abcdefghinoq&msz=1500&pt=c&va=&srt=pnan World Gazetteer estimate for 2008-01-01
  2. (2006) Manorama Yearbook 2006. Kottayam, India: Malayala Manorama. ISBN 8189004077. 
  3. Mumbai Urban Infrastructure Project. Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
  4. Navi Mumbai International Airport (JPG). City & Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited. Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
  5. Mumbai among world's top 10 financial flow hubs. Rediff News (2007-06-18).
  6. UK Government Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2007-06-28). Retrieved on 2008-01-06.
  7. Dossal, Mariam (1991). Imperial Designs and Indian Realities. The Planning of Bombay City 1845–1875. Delhi: Oxford University Press. 
  9. "Special Report: Mumbai Train Attacks", BBC, 2006-09-30. Retrieved on 2008-08-13. 
  12. "Live Breaking News: Mumbai toll climbs as hotel standoffs remain", CNN, 2008-11-27. Retrieved on 2008-11-27.