ABSTRACT

The modern metropolis of Bombay began as a group of seven islands off the mainland of North Konkan on the west coast of India. As a con­ sequence of the British East India Company’s trading activities, the population grew, reaching 60,000 by 1675, and over the course of two centuries the seven islands were interconnected by means of causeways and the intervening depressions were reclaimed. The ‘native’ town grew up to the north of the factory-cum-European town. In the second half of the nineteenth century, Bombay’s commercial growth, which was sponsored mainly by Gujerati and Parsi flnanciers, was encouraged by the American civil war and the import of cotton from the rich tracts of the Gujerat, Maharashtra and Karnataka regions, which promoted the city’s textile industry. This industry continues to be important, but Bombay’s economic base has been diversified and strengthened during the post-Independence period, through the further concentration of port activity, transport, commerce and governmental and nongovernmental administration and managerial functions in the city.