capital city of West Bengal, India
(Redirected from Calcutta)

Kolkata (spelled Calcutta before 1 January 2001) is the capital city of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is the second largest city in India after Mumbai.[2] It is on the east bank of the River Hooghly.[3] When it is called Calcutta, it includes the suburbs. This makes it the third largest city of India. It has 4,500,000 (4.5 million) people living in it. This also makes it the world's 8th largest metropolitan area as defined by the United Nations.[4] Kolkata served as the capital of India during the British Raj until 1911. Kolkata was once the center of industry and education. However, it has witnessed political violence and economic problems since 1954. Since 2000, Kolkata has grown due to economic growth. Like other metropolitan cities in India, Kolkata struggles with poverty, pollution and traffic congestion.

Clockwise from top: Victoria Memorial, St. Paul's Cathedral, central business district, Howrah Bridge, city tram line, Vidyasagar Bridge
Clockwise from top: Victoria Memorial, St. Paul's Cathedral, central business district, Howrah Bridge, city tram line, Vidyasagar Bridge
Kolkata is located in West Bengal
Location of Kolkata in West Bengal
Coordinates: 22°34′22″N 88°21′50″E / 22.57278°N 88.36389°E / 22.57278; 88.36389
StateWest Bengal
 • TypeMayor–Council
 • MayorFirhad Hakim (TMC)
 • Megacity185 km2 (71 sq mi)
 • Metro
1,886.67 km2 (728.45 sq mi)
9 m (30 ft)
 • Megacity4,486,679
 • Rank7th
 • Density24,000/km2 (63,000/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro rank
 • Demonym
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (IST)
Postal index number
7000 xx, 7001 xx
Vehicle registrationWB 01–79
Telephone91-33-XXXX XXXX
Spoken languagesBengali, Nepali, English
EthnicityBengali, Marwari, Bihari, Other


Calcutta, shown here in 1945, was an important port during World War II.

The discovery of the nearby Chandraketugarh,[5] an archaeological site has proved that people have lived there for over two millennia.[6] The history of Kolkata begins when the English East India Company arrived in 1690. Job Charnock, an administrator with the company is traditionally known as the founder of this city.[7] However some academics say that Charnock is not the city's founder.[8]

At that time Kolkata, ruled by the Nawab of Bengal Siraj-Ud-Daulah, had three villages. They were Kalikata, Govindapur and Sutanuti. The British in the late 17th century wanted to build a fort near Govindapur. This was to become more powerful than Dutch, the Portuguese, and the French. In 1702, the British completed the construction of old Fort William,[9] which was used to station its troops and as a regional base. Calcutta was declared a Presidency City, and later became the headquarters of the Bengal Presidency.[10] When regular fights with French forces started, in 1756 the British began to upgrade their fortifications. When this was protested, the Nawab of Bengal Siraj-Ud-Daulah attacked and captured Fort William. This led to the infamous Black Hole incident.[11] A force of Company sepoys and British troops led by Robert Clive recaptured the city the next year.[11] Calcutta became the capital of British India in 1772,. However, the capital shifted to the hilly town of Shimla during the summer months every year, starting from the year 1864.[12] Richard Wellesley, the Governor General between 1797 and 1805, helped in the growth of the city and its public architecture. This led to the description of Calcutta as "The City of Palaces".[13] The city was a centre of the British East India Company's opium trade during the 18th and 19th century; locally produced opium was sold at auction in Kolkata, to be shipped to China.[14]


  1. The Kolkata metropolitan area also includes portions of North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Nadia, and Hooghly districts. See: Urban structure.
  2. "National Portal of India : Know India : State and UTs". Archived from the original on 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  3. The Monthly Repository and Library of Entertaining Knowledge. Francis S. Wiggins. 1833. p. 338.
  4. "World Urbanization Prospects: The 2005 revision" (PDF).
  5. "History". Yahoo! Pte Ltd. Archived from the original on 2006-05-23. Retrieved 2006-05-08.
  6. Das S (2003-01-15). "Pre-Raj crown on Clive House- Abode of historical riches to be museum". The Telegraph, Kolkata, India. Retrieved 2006-04-26.
  7. "Kolkata: History" (in Bengali and Nepali). Calcuttaweb.com. Archived from the original on 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2007-02-18.
  8. Gupta, Subhrangshu (18 May 2003). "Job Charnock not Kolkata founder: HC Says city has no foundation day". Nation. The Tribune. Retrieved 2006-12-07.
  9. "William, Fort". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
  10. "Calcutta". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "History of Kolkata". Kolkathub.com. Archived from the original on 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2007-09-04.
  12. Chuahan, Baldev (7 August 2007). "Shimla - more than just Raj nostalgia". The Indian Star. IANS. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  13. Dutta, Krishna. "Calcutta; A Cultural and Literary History". Interlink Books. Archived from the original on 2006-05-08. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
  14. Pati, Biswamoy (2006). "Narcotics and empire". Frontline. 23 (10). The Hindu. Archived from the original on 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2007-09-04.

Other websites


  Media related to Kolkata at Wikimedia Commons
  Kolkata travel guide from Wikivoyage