Mumbai is a fast-paced city in more ways than one! With the daily commotion of its millions, the city truly never sleeps. The entertainment nucleus of India, Mumbai has witnessed substantial historical episodes which has moulded our present and how!
This city has been a conflation of divergent cultures and its contemporary cosmopolitan character can be attributed to its fascinating past- how it unfolded from Bombay to Mumbai! A place where you can observe the story of the city’s growth and revisions is at the Prints Gallery at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Fort, Mumbai.
Mumbai was gifted as a dowry from the Portuguese to the Britishers, which was a part of a clever trick and the latter fell for it immediately! The islands of Bombay were given as part of Portuguese princess Catherine’s dowry during her wedding to Charles II of England.
Back in the day, people relied heavily on cartographers so the Portuguese seized the opportunity and presented a fallacious map of Bombay to the British! According to the map, Brazil was a stone throw away from this locale and keeping the commercial possibilities in mind, the Britishers readily took over the archipelago as dowry. By the time they realized that Brazil wasn’t anywhere close to the representation, the wedding was through and the map had mysteriously disappeared.
Handling the sprawling islands for Charles II was a herculean task so to make things easier, he rented out the whole of Mumbai to the East India Company, only for £10 in gold a year!
Bombay was an archipelago of seven islands and back then the Portuguese called the islands by various names, which finally took the written form Bombaim. They also built several fortifications around the city! At the CMVS gallery, they have stocked the prints of the earliest maps of Mumbai with its seven islands named Colaba, Old Woman’s Island (Lower Colaba), Isle of Bombay, Mahim, Mazgaon, Parel, and Worli.
If it hadn’t been for the strategic union of those two royalties, Bombay perhaps would have never be the thriving metropolis that it is today.