A Hand-coloured print of boats on the Hooghly, Calcutta from the Fiebig Collection: Views of Calcutta and Surrounding Districts, taken by Frederick Fiebig in 1851. This is a view of a local craft beached beside the River Hooghly, with a discharged cargo of pots on the riverbank in the foreground. Calcutta is a city and port in eastern India and the capital of West Bengal. It was founded in 1690 by the British East India Company on the banks of the Hooghly River, a distributary of the River Ganges. The port provided access from the sea to the hinterland of Bengal, India’s richest province. In little more than half a century the original trading port grew into a considerable city, clustered round the Company’s fort. The modern port was commissioned on 17 October 1870 under the Calcutta Port Act and went on to become the premier port in British India.