Saturday 7 May 2016

Views of Calcutta, Part 1

Image 1

Map of Calcutta of 1690 depicting Sutanuti, Kalikata and Gobindapur

Date: 1690

The city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) was formed with the merger of 3 villages - Sutanuti, Kalikata and Gobindapur. Job Charnock, the Englishman, landed at Sutanuti in 1690 with the objective of establishing the East India Company’s Bengal headquarters. As Kalikata did not have any settled native population, the British occupied the site and started the construction of old Fort William in 1696 and acquired the zemindari (land-holding) rights from the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family, the zemindars (landlords) of the area in 1698. (WA/1)

Image 2

View of English vessels firing salutes in the foreground, old Fort William with two lines of battlements enclosing Government House and steeple of St. Anne's Church in the background, Calcutta, 1735

Date: 1735

Calcutta is situated on the banks of the River Hooghly. In this engraving, in the foreground, there are a number of English vessels, three of which are firing salutes. Behind, old Fort William shows two lines of battlements that enclose Government House and over the roof rises the steeple of St Anne's Church, which was consecrated in 1709. The fort was destroyed by the forces of Siraj-ud-Daulah the Nawab of Bengal in 1757. A new Fort William was contructed to the south of the city in Gobindpore and designed by John Brohier. (BH/EK1)

Image 3

View of old Fort William building with two storeys and projecting wings situated near the bank of the river Hooghly and constructed under the supervision of John Goldsborough, Calcutta, 1754

Date: 1754

After 1696, the (old) Fort William was constructed under the supervision of John Goldsborough. It was situated near the bank of the river Hooghly. As we can see from this view, the building had two storeys and projecting wings. In 1757, an attack on the fort by the forces of Siraj-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, led the British to build a new fort in the Maidan. The old fort was repaired and used as a customs house from 1766. (BH/VR/2)

Note: The steeple of St Anne's Church visible in the previous image dated 1735 was brought down by the great earthquake & cyclone of 1737 in Calcutta.

Image 4

Plan for the intelligence of the military operations at Calcutta when attacked and taken by Siraj Ud Daulah, 1756

Date: 1756

PLAN, for the intelligence of the Military Operations at CALCUTTA, when attacked and taken by SEERAJAH DOWLET, 1756. (LE/Dt/1)

Note: Siraj Ud Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, had attacked & captured Calcutta, after a short siege in June 1756. He renamed the city as 'Alinagar' and installed Manikchand as the ruler. The city was later retaken by the British in January 1757 with the help of a force led by Robert Clive.

Image 5

Map of territory of Calcutta, 1757

Date: 1757


Note: Maratha Ditch (archaic spelling: Mahratta Ditch) was a three-mile long moat excavated around Calcutta in 1742, as a protection against possible attacks by marauding Bargis, as the Marathas were known locally. The Bargis, however, never came to the city. Later, the ditch proved to be useless when the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, came and ransacked the British settlement in 1756. The ditch was never completely built. It was mostly filled up in 1799 to build the Circular Road and the balance was filled up in 1892–93.

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