Steamer Ships In Kolkata Harbour, Photochrom 1890
This is an 1890 photochrom of steamer ships in Calcutta, now Kolkata Harbour. The harbour/port is situated on the banks of the Hooghly River (now Hugli). Kolkata is the only city in India that has a harbour right inside the city. Which is 203 km away from the sea (Bay of Bengal). When the Ganges enters the lower Gangetic Plains in West Bengal, the river breaks up into many channels.
The main distributary, the Hooghly river, flows 260km from Nabadwip to the Bay of Bengal. The river attracted the Dutch, French, Portuguese, Danish, and British traders between the 15th and 19th centuries. The settlements they established transformed the river banks into a mini Europe. Today taking one of the river cruises one can explore the remnants.
Upriver is Bandel founded by the Portuguese in 1580, Chandanagar a French settlement from 1673 to 1952. Serampore (Srirampur) was a Danish colony from 1755 to 1845. Calcutta was a mere village when, in 1690, Job Charnock founded a settlement. Six years later the East India Company built Fort Williams.
Since Calcutta was the administrative capital of India till 1911. The harbour was the main port on the eastern side of India till then. Steamer ships had regular services to Rangoon (now Yangon), Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Japan. Notwithstanding the usual service to Europe via Aden. Also shown in the photo is a Horse-drawn tram that was introduced in 1873. Click on the photo for better view.
See older post Horse-Drawn Tram Kolkata – Old Photo 1880.
Did you know- that indentured labourers mostly from the Hindi belts of Bihar, UP, MP, etc sailed to the sugar cane plantations. These were in Mauritius, Fiji, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname.