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History of Mumbai

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Seal of Mumbai

Widespread explanation of the origin of the traditional English name Bombay holds that it was derived from a Portuguese name meaning "good bay".
In 1534, the Portuguese appropriated the islands from Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. They were ceded to Charles II of England in 1661, as dowry for Catherine de Braganza.

Artifacts found near Kandivali in northern Mumbai indicate that these islands had been inhabited since the Stone Age, the city was founded by Portuguese and British colonists in the 17th century.

Documented evidence of human habitation dates back to 250 BCE, when it was known as Heptanesia (Ptolemy) (Ancient Greek: A Cluster of Seven Islands).
These seven islands of Bombay were joined together into one landmass through three centuries of reclamation.  The British undertook land-filling and draining of the marshlands, developing a modern port and city, which attracted migrant workers from across India.  This one island is now 436 square kilometers in area (approximately 170 square miles), and is connected to the mainland by several bridges.

As a new millennium begins, the city is spreading over these bridges into the mainland Mumbai, India, formerly known as Bombay, the nation's largest city. Maharashtra state was formed with Mumbai as its capital on May 1, 1960.

The city was officially renamed Mumbai in 1995. Mumbai lies on India's west coast in the state of Maharashtra. It lies at the tip of a peninsula facing the Arabian Sea. Hot, humid weather prevails during most of the year. Mumbai also has a diverse population, representing numerous ethnic groups.



Mumbai is one of India's leading manufacturing cities, producing textiles, especially cottons; motor vehicles; chemicals; machinery; and processed foods. Printing and the making of motion pictures are also important activities. With major banks and the largest stock exchange in India, Mumbai is also a leading financial and commercial center. The city's busy port handles much of India's foreign trade.
Image:Seven Islands of Bombay en.svg
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