Location/Culture Reports

Location Report - Mumbai

Mumbai is located on India's central-western coast along the Arabian Sea and is the largest city in India. Mumbai is an island connected by bridges to the mainland, India's chief western seaport and the capital of Maharashtra state. The city is often called by its former official name, Bombay.

Portuguese traders founded Mumbia as a trading post in the 1530s. In 1661, King Charles II of England married a Portuguese princess and received what was then called Bombay as part of Catherine of Braganza's dowry. In 1668, he leased the city to the East India Company. During the American Civil War, when a Union blockade prevented the Southern States from exporting most of their huge cotton crop, Bombay then became the world's chief cotton market. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 strengthened Bombay's economy by shortening the shipping time between India and Europe. During World War II, Bombay's port handled many ships carrying Allied troops and supplies.

In 1960, the Indian government divided the state of Bombay into two states—Maharashtra and Gujarat—according to language groups. Bombay became the capital of Maharashtra. In 1996, the city officially changed its name to Mumbai, its name in Marathi.

India's largest motion-picture producers have their studios in Mumbai. India's motion-picture industry, also known as Bollywood, produces hundreds of films annually. Indian movies are made in many languages while the most popular motion pictures are those made in Hindi. Indian popular films include love stories, crime thrillers, and social dramas. All popular Bollywood films feature song-and-dance sequences.

The Gateway of India, is a yellow basalt arch of triumph that was officially opened in1924 and commemorates the visit to India by Queen Mary. Queen Mary (1867-1953) was the queen consort and wife of King George V, mother of King Edward VIII and George VI and Grandmother to Elizabeth II. Mary (her full name was Princess Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes) was born in Kensington Palace in London on May 26, 1867. She was the daughter of Prince (later Duke) Francis of Teck. In 1893, she married George, who was at that time the Duke of York and became Queen when George became king in 1910. Mary died on March 24, 1953.