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General view of The Esplanade, Bombay.

General view of The Esplanade, Bombay.

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1860

Shelfmark: Photo 394/(132)

Item number: 394132

Genre: Photograph

This view of the Esplanade in Bombay was taken by an unknown photographer in the 1860s. Originally, Bombay was composed of seven islands separated by a marshy swamp. It’s deep natural harbour led the Portuguese settlers of the sixteenth century to call it Bom Bahia (the Good Bay). The British Crown acquired the islands in 1661when Catherine of Braganza married Charles II, as part of her marriage dowry. It was then presented to the East India Company in 1668. The second governor, Gerald Aungier, developed Bombay into a trading port and centre for commerce and inducements were offered to skilled workers and traders to move here. The Esplanade, now an area known as the Maidans, is set behind Marine Drive on the western side of Colaba Causeway. Before the land on which Marine Drive was built was reclaimed from the sea, the area formed the seaside esplanade behind Chowpatty Beach.

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