Photograph of shipping on the Hooghly, from the Elgin Collection: 'Spring Tours 1894-98', taken by Bourne and Shepherd in the 1890s. Square-rigged sailing ships moored in the Hooghly off the Maidan, Calcutta with the High Court visible in the distance to the north. The nearest vessel is the three-masted ship Glengarry of Liverpool; local craft can be seen in 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.