In 1690, Job Charnok, an
agent of the East India Company chose this place for a British
trade settlement. The site was carefully selected, being protected
by the Hooghly River on the west, a creek to the north, and
by salt lakes about two and a half miles to the east. There
were three large villages along the east bank of the river
Ganges, named, Sutanuti, Gobindapur and Kalikata. These three
villages were bought by the British from the local land lords.
The Mughal emperor granted East India Company freedom of trade
in return for a yearly payment of 3,000 rupees.
What was Calcutta like before the British came?
It was a village; the capital city of Bengal was Murshidabad,
around 60 miles north of Calcutta. In 1756, Siraj-ud-daullah,
Nawab of Bengal, attacked the city and captured the
fort. Calcutta was recaptured in 1757 by Robert Clive when
the British defeated Siraj-ud-daullah on the battle field
of Plassy. In 1772, Calcutta became the capital of British
India, and the first Governor General Warren Hastings moved
all important offices from Murshidabad to Calcutta. Till 1912,
Calcutta was the capital of India, when the British moved
the capital city to Delhi. In 1947, when India gained freedom
and the country got partitioned between India and Pakistan,
Calcutta was included in the Indian part of Bengal, West Bengal.
Calcutta became the capital city of the state of West Bengal.
- At the end of the fifteenth century, a reference to
Kolkata was found in the famous novel of Manasa Mangal
written by Bipradas. The character of Chand Saudagar
in the novel paid a visit to Kalighat to offer puja
to the Goddess Kali on the way to Saptagram.
- When the Portugese first began to frequent Bengal about
the year 1530, the two great centres of trade were Chittagong
- In the Ain-i-Akbari, a work written in 1596 by Abul
Fazal in the court house of Emperor Akbar, a reference
to Calcutta is noticed under the Government of Satgaon(Saptagram).
- 1690 August, Job Charnok, an agent of East India Company
(established 1600) settles in the village of Sutanutee.
- 1693 Charnok died.
- 1696 Fort at Calcutta Factory commenced.
- 1698 East India Co. bought three villages (Sutanuti,
Kolkata, Gobindapur ) from local landlord Sabarna Chowdhury.
- 1699 East India Company started developing Calcutta
as a Presidency city.
- 1707 Mughal Emperor Aurongajeb died.
- 1715 British people completed building the Old Fort.
- 1717 The Mughal emperor Farrukh-siyar granted the East
India Company trading privileges in return for a yearly
payment of 3,000 rupees.
- 1727 As per the order of King George I, a civil court
was set up. The city corporation was established and Hallwell
became the first mayor of the city.
- 1740 Ali Vardi Khan became the Nawab of Bengal.
- 1756 Ali Vardi Khan died and Siraj-ud-Dawlla (Mirza
Muhammad) became the Nawab of Bengal. Siraj-Ud-Dawlla
attacked and captured Calcutta. He changed the name of
the city to Alinagar.
- 1757 23rd June, British people (under the leadership
of Robert Clive) defeated Siraj-Ud-Dawlla at Plassey (in
- 1757 British first printed currency bill in Calcutta
- 1765 Clive took Bengal, Bihar and Orissa from Badsha
Alam II ( Delhi) with an agreement of paying excises.
- 1770 Infamous famine.
- 1772 Calcutta became the capital of British India when
the first Governor General, Warren Hastings, transferred
all important offices to the city from Murshidabad.
- 1775 Nandakumar, a local landlord was hung in a false
allegation when he accused Warren Hastings of corruption.
- 1780 James Hicky established a printed press and published
first news paper "The Bengal Gazzette".
- 1784 The first official news paper "The
Calcutta Gazzette", was published.
- 1784 Sir William Jones took initiative and established
The Asiatic Society.
- 1795 First Bengali drama 'Kalpanik Song Badol' was
staged by Gerasim S. Lebedef at Bengali Theatre.
- 1801 Fort William College was established.
- 1804 The Governor House (presently Raj Bhawan)
- 1813 The Town Hall was built.
- 1818 First Bengali Magazine Digdarshan was published
from Srerampur, with the help of David Hare.
- 1817 The Hindu College (presently Presidency College)
was established with efforts from Rammohan Roy, David
Hare and Radhakanta Dev. Initially the college started
with 20 students.
- 1828 Sahid Minar (Octorloney Monument) was
- 1829 Rammohan Roy was successful in making 'satidaho'
(a Hindu rule) banned by British Governor General William
- 1839 Sangbad Prabhakar, the first Bengali daily
- 1854 First Railway line in India was inaugurated (from
Calcutta to Hooghly).
- Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the last Nawab of Awadh came to
Calcutta in 1857. He built the town of Metiaburj and died
- 1857 The University of Calcutta was established.
- 1864 The GPO (General Post Office) building was constructed.
- 1873 First Tram car (horse drawn) in the city was launched.
- 1875 "The Statesman", leading English Daily
- 1875 The Indian Museum was built.
- 1883 Surendra Nath Banerjee called for a National convention
(which led to the forming of Indian National Congress
in 1885 at Bombay).
- 1883 First telephone communication between Calcutta
and Howrah through a cable laid beneath the floating Howrah
- 1886 Second convention of Indian National Congress
happened at Calcutta.
- 1888 Indian Football Association established.
- 1895 Scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose experimented on
transmission through radio waves at Town Hall.
- 1896 First motor car appeared on city's street.
- 1899 For the first time in Calcutta, electricity was
- 1902 First Electric tram car from Esplanade to Kidderepore.
- 1905 Lord Curzon, viceroy of India, tried to partition
Bengal. There was a strong protest. Finally he failed
to do so.
- 1911 British moved the capital of India from Calcutta
- 1911 A local football team, Mohan Bagan defeated British
team in IFA shield final and created national sensation.
- 1913 Rabindranath Tagore, the great philosopher, poet
and writer received Nobel Prize in literature.
- 1921 King Edward VIII inaugurated the Victoria Memorial
- 1922 Popular Bengali Daily Anandabazar Patrika started.
- 1924 Chittaranjan Das was elected as the first Indian
mayor of the city of Calcutta.
- 1929 Agnes Goinxha Bejaxhiu (Mother Teresa) came to
Calcutta to join Bengal Loreto Mission.
- 1939 The World War II hit Calcutta.
- 1941 Tagore died.
- 1941 Subhash Chandra Bose escaped from house arrest
- 1943 Thousands of people got killed in famine.
- 1946 Communal riot killed thousands of people in and
around the city.
- 1947 India gained independence. Bengal got partitioned;
Calcutta became the capital city of the state of West
Bengal in India. Dr. Prafulla Chandra Ghosh became the
first Chief Minister of West Bengal, followed by Dr. Bidhan
Chandra Roy. Calcutta and suburban area received thousands
of people from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) as
a result of the partition.
- 1952 The National Library was moved to Alipore from
Esplanade. Alipore Mint inaugurated.
- 1962 India-China war affected Calcutta.
- 1962 Bidhan Chandra Roy passes away. He was the chief
minister from 1948 through 1962. Prafulla Chandra Sen
became the chief minister and remained till 1967 (1962-1967).
- 1971 Tension of India-Pakistan war on freedom of Bangladesh.
- 1970-71 The Naxalite Movement hit the city resulting
arrests of hundreds of youths and creating enormous tension
among city dwellers.
- 1975 First TV transmission started in the city from
- 1977 Left Front led by CPI(M) Party won the state election
and came into the power of state Government.
- 1977 The world famous football player Pele played in
a football match in the city.
- 1978 A major flood hits Calcutta.
- 1979 Mother Teresa, a permanent resident of Calcutta
was awarded Nobel Peace Prize.
- 1984 Metro, the first underground railway in India,
started from Tollygunge to Esplanade.
- 1984 First color TV transmission started from the TV
- 1989 France's highest civilian award, Legion d'Honour
was conferred upon Satyajit Ray by President F. Mitterrand
- 1992 Satyajit Roy, film director, received prestigious
"Life Time Achievement" Oscar award and "Bharat
Ratna". He died in the same year.
- 1995 First cellular phone service starts in the city.
- 1997 Mother Teresa died in Calcutta.
- 1998 Amartya Sen (grew up in Shantiniketan and studied
at Calcutta) received Nobel Prize in Ecomonics
- 2001 Calcutta was officially renamed as 'Kolkata' from
1st of Januray.
- 2011 The communist Left Front Govt loses in the State Assembly election after 34 years, and, Trinamool Congress and Indian National Congress
alliance comes to power.
- ----- Chief Ministers of West Bengal -----
- Prafulla Chandra Ghosh (15.AUG.1947 - 22.JAN.1948)
- Bidhan Chandra Roy (23.JAN.1948 - 01.JUL.1962)
- Prafulla Chandra Sen (02.JUL.1962 - 28.FEB.1967)
- Ajoy Mukherjee (01.MAR.1967 - 21.NOV.1967)
- Prafulla Chandra Ghosh (21.NOV.1967 - 19.FEB.1968)
- President's Rule (1968-1969)
- Ajoy Mukherjee (25.FEB.1969 - 30.JUL.1970)
- President's Rule (1970-1971)
- Prafulla Chandra Ghosh (02.APR.1971 - 25.JUN.1971)
- President's Rule (1971-1972)
- Siddhartha Shankar Ray (20.MAR.1972 - 30.APR.1977)
- Jyoti Basu (21.JUN.1977 - 05.NOV.2000)
- Buddhadeb Bhattacharya (06.NOV.2000 - 18.MAY.2011)
- Mamata Banerjee (19.MAY.2011 - )
How did the city get the name Calcutta ? Different opinions:
- Kalikata is derived from the Bengali word Kalikshetra
meaning "Ground of the Goddess Kali."
- Some say the city's name is derived from the location
of it's original settlement on the bank of a canal (khal).
- Some match the name to the Bengali words for lime (kali)
and burnt shell (kata), since the area was noted
for manufacturing shell-lime.
- Another opinion is that the name is derived from the
Bengali term kilkila (meaning, "flat area"), which
is mentioned in the old literature.