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Mumbai (Bombay), India

Reference work entry

Introduction

Bombay was officially renamed Mumbai in 1996. The city lies on the west coast of India and comprises seven islands brought together by landfills and breakwaters to form Bombay Island. The Arabian Sea flanks the west coast of the island while the city’s harbour, the focus of most of India’s international trade, lies on the east coast.

History

Though there is evidence of human presence in the greater Mumbai region during the Stone Age, it was the Kolis, a tribe of aboriginal fishermen, who first settled on the islands. At around 1000 BC the region became an important maritime trading post with Egypt and Persia. It was ruled by Asoka’s empire in the third century BC, the Calukyas during the sixth to eighth centuries AD, and then by the Silahara chiefs between the ninth and the thirteenth centuries. The settlement of Mahikavati was founded on Bombay Island as a defence against raids by the Khalji dynasty of Hindustan.

Mumbai became part of the kingdom of Gujarat in 1348 when...

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