Photograph of Karachi Harbour, with local craft under sail and at anchor in the foreground and the Manora Lighthouse in the distance, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1890s. Karachi, the former capital of Pakistan, is the largest city and main commercial centre of the country and the capital of Sindh province. It grew from a group of small islands located around a bay which was a fine natural harbour. Its history prior to the 18th century as a port on the Arabian Sea north-west of the mouth of the Indus is largely unrecorded, but it is believed to be ancient. It has been identified as Krokala, the port visited by Alexander's fleet in 326 BC, is noted in a collection of 16th century Turkish sailing directions, and was transformed from a fishing village (Kolachi-jo-Goth) to a trading post under the Kalhora and Talpur rulers of Sindh in the 18th century when a mud fort was also built. However, it remained modestly sized until the British conquest of Sindh in 1843. The British developed the port of Karachi because its strategic location made it a gateway for trade with the northern provinces of the sub-continent. The harbour improvements went on through the latter half of the 19th century and included the Manora breakwater and the construction of the lighthouse. This photograph is from an album of 91 prints apparently compiled by P. J. Corbett, a PWD engineer involved in irrigation work at the famine relief camp at Shetpal Tank in 1897, and in canal construction in Sindh in the early 1900s.