History Of Kolkata

Rediscovering The Treasure Of “The City Of Joy”

Dalhousie, Old Kolkata, Calcutta
Great Eastern Hotel in Old Court House Street Calcutta

“The Old Days – History of Kolkata”

The Kolkata “City Of Joy” formerly known as Calcutta in English, situated in West Bengal located in Eastern India on the east bank of the River Hooghly and formerly it was the capital of India during the British Raj up to 1911 and later moved to New Delhi, India.

Kolkata used to consist of three villages- Kalikata (Fishing Village), Gobindapur and Sutanuti (Riverside Weavers’ Village).

The word Kolkata derives from the Bengali term Kalikata (Bengali: কলিকাতা) the name of one of three villages.  

There are several explanations about the etymology of the name Kolkata:

The term Kolikata can be adapted from the term  Kalikkhetro (Bengali: কালীক্ষেত্র), meaning “Field of  the goddess Kali” since the inhabitants of Kolkata used to worship Goddess Kali and believed in her immense power.

 Alternatively, the name may have been originated from the Bengali term kilkila (Bengali: কিলকিলা), or “flat area“.

The name Kolkata can also be derived from the term khal (Bengali: খাল) meaning “canal“, followed by kata (Bengali: কাটা), which may mean “dug“.

Besides all these, another theory was that the production of quicklime or koli Chun (Bengali: কলি চুন) and coir or kata (Bengali: কাতা) was remarkable in this area. So in this context the name also turned up as Kolkata.

During British Rule, Britishers used to pronounce Kolikata as Calcutta. Hence the name “Calcutta” came from British Era. But after the High Court order passed in “Calcutta” became “Kolkata” as Bengalis used to pronounce it as Kolkata.


Till 16th century there is no documentation of KOLKATA.but around 1590 one variant of the name, ‘Kalkata’, is shown in Abul Fazal’s Ain-i-Akbari.


Notable Year Of The History Of Kolkata

During 1690 East India Company arrived in Calcutta. They started setting up their business empire in Calcutta. Within few days Calcutta became their major trade and business center. Calcutta history became documented from 1690 after the arrival of East India Company. Calcutta also became the capital city of India up to 1911 under the Government of Governor General Warren Hastings.

In 1712 on the east bank of River Hooghly, Britishers built Fort William to protect their factory from any invasion as they wants to proliferate their business.

During 1772 the East India Company made Calcutta their Headquarters.

During 1793 the Britishers completely destroyed the Nawab Kingdom and Calcutta came under the full authority of Britishers. The Britishers started exercising their powers over Calcutta.

Calcutta was classified into two towns, White Town and Black Town in 1850. White Town, for the Britishers, located on Chowringhee and Dalhousie Square. Black Town, for the Indians, located on North Calcutta.

“White” Town denotes white skinned Britishers and “Black” Town denotes black skinned Indians. From such a classification it was quite clear that how much Racism existed during British Rule.

During this period the economical and industrial fields grew and developed rapidly ESPECIALLY in Jute and Textile businesses. Hence this made Calcutta a major “Trade and Industry CENTER”.

In 1883,Calcutta hosted the first national conference of the Indian National Association.

Along with the rapid growth and development of Calcutta, the culture of Calcutta also moved to a new level with the perfect mixture of European Philosophies and Indian Traditions. Hence Calcutta became the second city of the British Empire.

But the extreme torture and powers of Britishers over Indians made Calcutta a center for revolutionary organization where Indians started revolting against the powers of Britishers in order to free them from the chains tied by the powerful Britishers.

Such organizations were a major reason for Indian Independence and abolishing British Rule from our country. Besides Indian struggle for independence , trade-union movements and Leftist Naxalite Movements had shown significant revolutionary history of Kolkata.

Howrah Bridge, Kolkata, Old Calcutta, Old Kolkata
Making of Howrah Bridge. P.C- Anandabazar
 Kolkata can be described by some prestigious title like

“The Cultural Capital of India” as no other city can beat it’s  culture and traditions ,

Calcutta, one of the most advanced city in India, known as “The City of Procession”,

“The City of Palaces” where lies the magnificent palaces, and

Happiness and intense delight are always prevailing in the “City of Joy”.


Some of the most renowned people of the world whose name are coming up with the city Kolkata are Thakur Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Maa Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, Paramahansa Yogananda, Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore, Subhas Chandra Bose, Anil Kumar Gain, Kazi Nazrul Islam, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, Mother Teresa and Satyajit Ray.


 Read our previous article “Glimpse Of Kolkata City” by clicking on the name

20 thoughts on “History Of Kolkata

  1. This is a very detailed knowledge about kolkata…..it will help outsiders to know about kolkata & will get a brief knowledge about kolkata’s culture…..great…

  2. What a wonderful post! I loved learning more about Kolkata! I love seeing the old hotel in the first photo. I always enjoying imagining the people that walked though the doors and what the interiors looked like!

  3. It’s always interesting to figure out the history behind a place or an object! I love how you went into details and wrote about it! Fascinating facts.

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