'The River Taptee, Surat, from the Fort'
Artist: Carpenter, William (1818-1899)
Watercolour view of the River Tapti at Surat by William Carpenter (1818-1899) between 1850 and 1856. The River Tapti rises in the central Deccan Plateau and flows westwards across India to the Gulf of Cambay, an inlet of the Arabian Sea. Surat was an important Mughal trading port on its bank from the late 16th to the late 18th centuries. In 1615 Sir Thomas Roe successfully negotiated a treaty in order to set up English Factories at Surat and other suitable sites. Dutch, Portuguese and French merchants were also permitted to trade in Surat during the 17th and 18th centuries but by the late 18th century the British had complete control of the port. In 1837, due to fire and floods, the town's trading base declined significantly and many Parsi and Jain merchants moved their businesses to Bombay which later surpassed Surat as the west coast's premier port.