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Calcutta

india bengal british capital

Calcutta (pop. 3,305,000), capital of West Bengal state, the leading transportation, industrial, financial, and commercial center of eastern India, and the largest city in India, situated on the Houghly River, in the Ganges delta, 80 mi (130 km) north of the Bay of Bengal. Calcutta is accessible to oceangoing vessels and has road and rail links with the whole of northern India, and an international airport. Calcutta was founded as a permanent settlement by the British East India Company in 1690. In 1756 the British were driven out by the nawab of Bengal, at the time of the infamous Black Hole of Calcutta incident. Robert Clive recaptured the town in 1757, and the British became virtual rulers of Bengal. In 1834 Calcutta became the capital of the British India empire. By 1900 it was the center of a strong nationalist movement, and the developing unrest continued. The capital of India was transferred to Delhi in 1912, but Calcutta's commercial importance continued to grow. With the partition of India in 1947, Calcutta lost most of its jute-producing hinterland to Pakistan, and was faced with an influx of thousands of Hindu refugees. The city has often been the scene of religious and political strife. In spite of the overcrowding and poverty, Calcutta has continued its development as a commercial city and a vitally important port. Among the principal exports are tea, jute, iron, manganese, and mica. Calcutta's factories produce iron and steel, textiles, shoes, rubber, leather, glass, and cement.

See also: India.

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