Islands of Bombay and Salsette, with the Surrounding Countryside
Engraver: Barth, J.S.
Medium: Aquatint, coloured
Aquatint published by R. Cribb in 1803 and part of King George III's Topographical Collection, with a view from above of the seven islands which initially made up the settlement of Bombay (now Mumbai), together with Salsette Island. The islands, located in the Arabian sea on the west coast of India, originally contained small fishing villages of the Koli community. The Sultans of Gujarat ceded the site to the Portuguese in 1534 and they established a trading post. Bombay was passed to the English Crown in 1661 as part of the dowry when Charles II married Catherine of Braganza. At first the settlement appeared unfavourable, with low lying marshes, a hot climate and heavy monsoon rains, but its natural harbour and strategic location led the English to embark on a programme of developing it. By 1708 it became the headquarters of the East India Company on the west coast. The town was centred around Bombay Fort which can been seen in the print. By the late 18th century it was prospering as a major centre of the cotton trade.