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The Mumbai Timeline

The story of Mumbai is ancient, rich and varied.
Enjoy a timeline of her history and relevant articles sent in by Mumbaikars.
We invite you to contribute to this tapestry of Mumbai. Click here to submit an article.

Pirates attack!

1690 to 1695 A.D.

Marauding pirates like Avery, Captain Kidd and Belmont raided the islands repeatedly. The creeks and inlets between the islands sheltered them. Malabari pirates were attracted by the laden ships and watch was kept on them from the hill at Walkeshwar Point thus giving it the name Malabar Hill. The Sidi of Janijira too, attacked and occupied Mazagaon Fort.

1716 to 1763 A.D.

Charles Boone took over as Governor of Bombay.

Boone had the town surrounded by strong ramparts which enclosed the Castle. The area enclosed was about three square miles and encircled the Green (an open common) and the Cathedral and Mint. It had three gates; Apollo Gate (near the present Lion Gate), Churchgate (where Flora Fountain stands) and Bazargate (near the present General Post Office).

The reclaimer enters!

1771 to 1784 A.D.

William Hornby was appointed Governor. Hornby decided that the only way to rid the island of disease, and increase space, was to reclaim land from the sea, join the islands and make the flat marshlands between Worli and Bombay habitable. He proposed the damming of the sea between the two islands of Mumbai and Worli and the draining of the sea-water. The Governors of the Company in London did not approve and recalled him. He however proceeded with the reclamation and today we have the curving Vellard which still bears his name.

1794 A.D.
The General Post Office for the Bombay Presidency started.
1822 A.D.

First Gujarati Newspaper “Mumbai Samachar” started, it still continues publication in its 173rd year.

1819 to 1827
Mountstuart Elphinstone took over as Governor. He was a pragmatic and liberal man. Elphinstone strongly believed that all Indians should have the benefit of an English Education. Jagannath Shankarshet, a wealthy far-sighted gentleman joined with him in his endeavours. Together they founded the Native Education Society. Jagannath went to espouse the cause of women’s education founding numerous schools and Pathshalas. He was a co-founder of the Grant Medical College with Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy.
1830 A.D.

The first road form Bombay to Pune was opened via the Bhor Ghat. It followed the alignment of the ancient trade route.

1836 A.D.
The Chamber of Commerce was founded with 15 European and 10 Indian firms. The population of Bombay was 2,36,000.
1838 A.D.

The last causeway linking Bombay island to Old Woman’s island and Colaba island was compleed.

1840 A.D.
The “Overland Route” from England to Bombay was started. It took 6 weeks for the trip, by sea, to Alexandria and then overland to Aden and thence via ship to Bombay
1845 A.D.

The Grant Medical College was founded, large donations were made by Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy and Jagannath Shankersheth. It was the first college in India to impart Western Medical Education.

1853 A.D.
The first railway line in India was inaugurated. The train ran from (Bori Bunder) to Thane a distance of 23 miles.
1854 A.D.

The first cotton weaving mill in India was opened. Up until now raw cotton was exported to England for processing and weaving and the finished product was then reimported to India. Equipment and skilled mechanics were bought from England, to setup the mill, labour was bought from Konkan.

1857 A.D.
The 1857 Indian war of Independence which started at Meerut on 10th May, did not seriously involve Bombay, though two soldiers were blown off by cannons at the Esplanade (now Azad Maidan)
The Bombay University was started this year. A large donation from Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy enabled the setting up of the Sir J.J. School of Art, the first Art School in India.
1858 A.D.

The ending of the War of Independence however sealed the fate of the East India Company. Its Charter was revoked, and the Government of India was taken over by the Crown. The Queen's Proclamation announcing this was read out on 1st November, 1858 from the steps of the Town Hall.

1860 A.D.
The Vihar Water Works were started. Uptil now the only source of water supply had been from tanks and wells, leading to shortages during summer. The supply of clean piped water from the Vihar Lake was a tremendous boon. The regular supply boosted industrial progress in Bombay.
1861 to 1865 A.D.

When the American Civil War broke out in 1861, American cotton supplies to England were cut off. Consequently, Bombay's cotton exports to England doubled. Fortunes were made. Some famous merchants at the time were Premchand Roychand, Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy, Gokuldas Tejpal, Coswasji Jehangir, Readymoney, Jamshedji Tata and David Sassoon.

1862 to 1867 A.D.
Sir Bartle Frere assumed the office of Governor. The Fort was congested and unhealthy. England was now the supreme power in India and Fort Walls were not required. He ordered their demolition and the filling of the moat. A new road was planned running along the route of the old ramparts. Well known architects were commissioned to design public buildings such as the High Court, University Buildings including the Rajabai Clock Tower, Library and the Convocation Hall; the old Secretariat, the Central Telegraph Office and the General Post Office. He also ordered the laying out of over 35 roads, the Victoria and other public gardens.
a new style of architecture was evolved for these buildings. Basically Victorian Gothic in inspiration and scale. It was the incorporation of Indian motifs in the arches, minarets, domes and sculptures that made them unique, evolving a new style for public architecture in India.
The opening of the Suez Canal reduced travel time. Bombay and London were now only 3 weeks apart.
1863 A.D.

The Bombay Government established the inland Telegraphic system to link it with other cities in India.

1864 A.D.
The Rail line from Bombay to Ahmedabad was opened in 1864, this was coupled with the extension of the Bombay-Thane line to Pune in 1863. The old journey by bullock cart had been long and costly and this new development opened up the vast cotton hinterlands of Gujarat and the Deccan, the rail system enabled vast amounts of cotton to be sent to Bombay at faster and cheaper rates, and cotton exports to England increased.
The overland telegraph service linking England to Africa to India was started.
1874 A.D.

The University complex was completed in 1874. It was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott in London. Premchand Roychand, a rich Merchant Prince donated Rs. 4 lacs for the Clock Tower and library. Sir Cawasji Jehangir donated funds for the Convocation Hall.

1878 A.D.
The postal system from Bombay to Madras was started.