Aerial View of British Era Bombay, 1936 Print

Aerial View of British Era Bombay, 1936 Print

A 1936 print with an aerial view of British Era Bombay (Mumbai). This is a page from the Times of India of March 7, 1936. The photo was taken by the great British aerial photographer A R Haseler. It features prominent landmarks like the Bombay Royal Yacht Club, Prince of Wales Museum, Royal Institute of Science, etc.

It also covers the views of the Rajabai Clock Tower, Oval Maidan, Elphinstone College, Flora Fountain, Secretariat, etc. Many had wondered about the wisdom of the British acquiring a cluster of seven islands from the Portuguese. The islands were off the coast of Western India, which was regarded as an almost useless territory.

Parts of it were overrun with wildlife of tigers, leopards, hyenas, and jackals, and other areas were swampy or marshy wastelands. The original inhabitants of the islands the Kolis and Bhandari’s inhabited the area for nearly 1000 years, living by fishing, cultivating rice, drawing toddy from the palm trees, etc.

It was in 1532 that the Portuguese conquered Bombay and Mahim. Taking control under a forced treaty with Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat in 1535. The Portuguese set up a trading post with a makeshift fort. They were then in control of Bombay and Mahim for the next 130 years. They best utilized the land by agriculture and fishing and leasing out parcels of it to generally European settlers.

The European settlers thrived commercially from the vast produce. Consisting of coconuts, honey, toddy, fish, rice, salt from salt pans, etc. However, this all would change by the 1660s. King Charles II, of England was gifted the seven islands of Bombay as dowry. He had married Princess Catharine of Braganza of Portugal.

Charles leased it out to the East India Company for a paltry sum. The East India Company saw great potential in developing it. They were at that time based in Surat in 1668. Consequently uniting the islands into a single landmass by reclamation. Which took around two and a half centuries to complete.

See post Aerial View of Ballard Pier Bombay, Old Photo 1930.

Did you know- at the time of Portuguese control it had a population of a mere 10,000, today it has a burgeoning population of a staggering 10 million people.  

From the collection- 1964 M. Suriyamoorthy Charcoal Art Abstract (#8)., Military Games Poona – Old Photo 1900., Trivandrum Canal Landing Place – Old Postcard 1900., Vintage South Indian Railway Promotional Postcard 1900