Mumbai’s history is interwoven with that of its original inhabitants who were Koli fisher folk. The Hindu rulers from the Deccan Plateau around AD500 established all city states along the Konkan Coast, after conquering Mumbai. Around the 12th century, a Hindu dynasty was instrumental in developing Mumbai.
In the first 14th century, the islands fell under the influence of the Muslim Sultans of Gujarat and in 1534, the Portuguese established a base at Bassein (now Vasai, just north of Mumbai’s municipal limits). In 1661, the islands gave to Britain as the first part of wedding dowry to the King John IV of Portuguese’s daughter, Catherine of Braganza. The other rest sold to the British East India Company, were for trading foothold on the Konkan Coast.
Governor Gerald Aungier was the father of British Bombay in 1672. He established the judiciary, drained the malarial swamps, built the first docks and invited migrant workers from other parts of India.
Mughal Sultanates fell to the Hindu Maratha Kingdom. The British Colony governor, Charles Boone, constructed Bombay Fort and merged seven islands of Bombay into single landmass.
In 1739, the Marathas drove the Portuguese from their base at Bassein. The British cleared the land in front of the fort as an Esplanade. Campaigns against the Portuguese and then the Marathas in 1817 finally brought most of western India under British control and the first railway in Asia laid between Bombay and Thane in 1853.
Bombay’s rise began in 1854 with the first cotton mills. Processing of Indian cotton shifted from Britain to Bombay. In 1857 Queen Victoria issued a declaration that Bombay was now a possession of British Crown over decades, Jewish and Parsi (Iranian Zoroastrian migrants) entrepreneurs were a major role on civic buildings and universities. In 1864, Governor Bartle Frere dismantled the fort for modern layout of Bombay.
Bombay started to experience overpopulation, poor sanitation and political unrest. The Indian National Congress (later, the Congress Party of India), held its first meeting in 1885 for Indian Independence.
Despite the first Indian film industry in 1913; opposition to British rule grew. Mahatma Gandhi, commonly known as the Mahatma (‘Great Soul’) lived on Laburnam Road, Bombay upon his return from South Africa, launching his Quit India campaign in 1942. Bombay barely touched by WWII, but by the time it was over and came for the British to leave in 1947.
Bombay faced harsh realities. The capital of Maharashtra ruled two conflicting communities, the Gujarati speakers of the north and the Marathi speakers of the south. In 1960, the territory divided into two separate states on Hindu and Muslim populations.
Between 1970s and 1980s, many cotton mills closed and massive unemployment in working-class areas. Corruption permeated political life. In 1985, the municipal council fell to the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party, began stirring communal tensions.
In 1992, communal harmony blew in the destruction of the Ayodhya mosque (in Uttar Pradesh). Hundreds Hindus and Muslims died in intercommoned riots and bombings in Mumbai, blamed on Shiv Sena agitators and Pakistan-backed militants.
Earliest 2003, Islamic militants’ detonated car bombs at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar in Kalbadevi. However, there are no major incidents since 2003 but community relations remain tense.
In June 2005, Maharashtra devastated by the heaviest rains in history. Thousand people died and sixty thousand left homeless, thereof a new influx of refugees into Mumbai. The cost of the disaster estimated USD one billion, suspending plans for urban renewal. Mumbai Hotels were inundated with the homeless, to whom they provided free accommodation during the disaster.