'Bombay - The Esplanade and Colaba in the distance. March 1870 (from the top of Watson's Hotel).
Artist: Lester, John Frederick (1825-1915)
Water-colour painting of Mumbai (Bombay) by John Frederick Lester (1825-1915), March 1870. This view shows the British military encampment in the foreground on the left, with the lighthouse, St John's Church, the band stand and the island of Colaba in the distance. The image is part of an album of 30 folios of watercolours made between 1865 and 1877 in Kathiawar, Bombay, Poona, Mahabaleshwar and Savantvadi State.
Originally, Mumbai was composed of seven islands separated by a marshy swamp. Its deep natural harbour led the Portuguese settlers of the 16th Century to call it Bom Bahia (the Good Bay). The British Crown acquired the islands in 1661 as part of the marriage dowry of Catherine of Braganza when she married Charles II. Mumbai was then presented to the East India Company in 1668. The second governor, Gerald Aungier, developed the town into a prosperous trading port and centre for commerce. As inducements were offered to skilled workers and traders to move here Mumbai soon became a bustling cosmopolitan city.