Panorama of Fort, Bombay
Photographer: Dayal, Deen (1844-1905)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph from the Macnabb Collection, of a panoramic view of the Fort at Bombay (Mumbai) in Maharashtra, India, taken by Lala Deen Dayal in the 1880s. Bombay, one of the key cities of India, is a major port on the west coast of India, a busy manufacturing centre and the capital of Maharashtra. Originally a collection of fishing villages of the Koli community built on seven islands, land reclamation formed a peninsula jutting into the Arabian Sea, over which the city extends. By the 14th century, Bombay was controlled by the Gujarat Sultanate who ceded it to the Portuguese in the 16th century. In 1661 it passed to Charles II of England through his marriage to the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza. The British built fortifications around Bombay harbour in the 17th century to surround the original Portuguese settlement, and in the 1760s the fortifications were enhanced as the British were engaged in war with France in both Europe and India. By the 19th century the British had established control over India and the fort walls were torn down and the area converted into the central district of Bombay city. The removal of the ramparts of the fort opened up the city to new developments in architecture, and in the second half of the 19th century building activity was accelerated, fuelled by its booming maritime trade. A collection of public buildings sprang up on the Esplanade and in the city centre. This photograph looks eastwards from the Rabajai Tower towards ships in the harbour, with St Thomas’s Cathedral and the Elphinstone Circle in the centre, and the Town Hall in the background.