MUMBAI - FORMERLY KNOWN AS BOMBAY (Illustration) Biographies Famous People Philosophy Poetry Ancient Places and/or Civilizations Geography Social Studies World History Film

Mumbai, the financial capital of India, was once known as Bombay. This image depicts the Bandra-Worli Sealink bridge which connects the western suburbs with the central part of the city. In the background, we see the skyline of Mumbai. The photo, by Jeet221990, depicts how Mumbai appeared on the 11th of January in 2012. License: CC BY-SA 3.0


The story told in the novel Q & A, transformed for the screen as Slumdog Millionaire, has various settings in the beautiful country of India.  One such place is Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay.

Before Mumbai (Bombay) became a city, it was a cluster of seven islands.  Those islands were not connected until the second half of the nineteenth century.   

Historically, Kolis (predominantly fishermen and their families) lived and worked on the islands (from ancient times to the present).  Today their communities, located in various areas, are called Koliwadas.

Like other countries throughout the world, India was once dominated by foreign powers. Portugal was the first European colonial power to occupy the current area of Mumbai, and remnants of Portugese influence can still be seen in the city.  Although Portugal ruled for about 125 years, a wedding (in 1662) changed everything.

After Charles I (King of Britain) lost his head (on January 30, 1649), an heir to the British throne was no longer needed ... at least for awhile.  But after Oliver Cromwell died, the people once again wanted a King.  The British monarchy was restored, and Charles II (son of the beheaded sovereign) was crowned in London during 1660.   

Consistent with the way kings and queens married in those days, Charles II wanted to marry someone who could strengthen his kingdom and enhance his political alliances.  He chose Catherine of Braganza, the Infanta (Princess) of Portugal. 

A marriage treaty, between Britain and Portugal, was arranged in June of 1661.  The couple married a year later.  Catherine, who was still in her own city of Lisbon, was represented (at her wedding) by proxy.

All of this matters because Catherine brought a significant dowry to her marriage. The seven islands of Bombay (as the Mumbai area was then called) were part of that dowry.  Great Britain, in other words, became the dominant colonial power in that part of India because of a wedding gift (even though Portugal retained control of some places, like the island of Salsette).

As Catherine "introduced tea" to her new country, Britain introduced significant development (and ideas) to the cluster of islands now known as Mumbai

Things, in that part of the world, would be forever changed as a direct result.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Nov 01, 2008

Updated Last Revision: Mar 05, 2015

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"MUMBAI - FORMERLY KNOWN AS BOMBAY" AwesomeStories.com. Nov 01, 2008. Feb 24, 2020.
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