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Bombay city got its name from Mumbadevi - the stone goddess that Koli fishermen in the city worshipped. It is presumed that Bombay archipelago was a part of the Magadhan empire and ruled by the emperor Ashoka around third century BC. The empire slowly came to an end leaving behind the aborigines who comprised of Koli fishermen and buddhist monks.
The Arabian Sea was an established center of trade and commerce during the period from 9th and 13th century. Sea routes connected Aden, Calicut, Cambay and cities of West coast of Africa. Bombay then was un explored by historians like Marco Polo and Ibn Batuta. It is because of this very reason we have little accounts of the history of Bombay.
Elephanta Caves and Walkeshwar Temple Complex, which are the oldest structures in Bombay reveal that the region was under the control of Silhara Dynasty. It was probably ruled by Raja Bhimdev in 13th century whose capital was in present day Mahim. In 1343 the archipelago passed to the Sultan of Gujarat. The mosque in Mahim confirms this fact. It was during these times that the first merchants and farmers settled in these lands.
In 1508 Francis Almeida accompanied by countrymen sailed into the harbour and came to call it Bom Bahia (the Good Bay). The region was ceded to the Portuguese in 1534. The Portuguese built a fort in Bassein and few chapels for the converted fishermen. The St. Andrew's church in Bandra dates from this period.
In 1661, Catherine of Braganza brought the attention of these islands to Charles II of England . The British East India Company received the lands from the crown in 1668 and founded the modern city. George Oxenden was the first governor of a Bombay. The second governor of Bombay, Gerald Aungier offered various incentives to skilled workers and traders to move to this British holding. The business opportunities attracted many communities--- the 'Parsis', the 'Bohras', 'Jews' and 'Banias' from Surat and Diu. The population of Bombay consequently rose from 10,000 in 1661 to 60,000 in 1675. The shipbuilding industry moved to Bombay from Surat with the coming of the Wadia community. During this period the first land-use laws were set up in Bombay.
Over a span of sixty years the landmass was merged and large scale construction projects were completed. These immense projects led to the flow of workers from Andhra. In 1853 India's first rail line was inaugurated. Four years later, in 1854, the first cotton mill was founded in Bombay. The cotton mill was too accompanied by the large scale migration of the farmers and workers.
Dreams of Power
After the first war of Independence in 1857 Bombay was reverted to the British crown. The outbreak of American Civil War in 1861, and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 Bombay became a major part of the British colonial economy. This was followed by building an Imperial Bombay by a succession of Governors. The Bombay Municipal Corporation was founded in 1872. The construction of Imperial Bombay continued well into the 20th century.
Greater Bombay had come into existence through an Act of the British parliament in 1945. India got its independence on August 15, 1947 and Bombay at that time was a far developed city compared to the rest of India.