BOMBAY

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BOMBAY ; a presidency, island and city in British India; lat. 18° 56' N.; Ion. 72° 7f E. The island was formerly subdivided into several smaller ones, but many thousand acres, once entirely underwater, have been recovered, and the two ranges of hills which cross the island have thus been united by a line of fertile valleys. It is of little importance as regards its Internal resources, but in a commercial point of view is of great value. Its proximity to the main land gives it a facility of communication with all the different points of that long line of coast, as well as with the shores of Persia and Arabia. The island is easily defended, and the rise of the tide is sufficient to allow the construction of docks on a large scale. The surface is either naked rock or low ground exposed to inundation: the quantity of grain, which it is capable of producing, is, therefore, very small. The causeway which connects it with Sal' sette, an island lying between B. and the coast of Malabar, afibrds, however, an easy way of introducing provisions. When first, known to Europeans, it was considered a very unhealthy place; but it has been improved by draining and embankments. The population, in 1816, was 161,550, of whom 104,000 were Hindoos, 28,000 Mohammedans, 11,000 native Christians, and 4300 English. There were also about 13,000 Parsees, who here found an asylum from the persecutions of the Mohammedans, and are almost the exclusive proprietors of the island. On a narrow neck of land, near the southeastern extremity of the island, stands the city, which is about a mile in length and a quarter of a mile in breadth. It is surrounded by fortifications, which have been gradually improved, in proportion to the growing importance of the place. It is the seat of government for the southwestern part of the British possessions in India. In front of the fort is an esplanade : at the commencement of the hot season, those Europeans, who are obliged to have their principal residences within the fort, erect bungalows on this spot, which are, many of them, elegant buildings, but unfit to resist the violence of the monsoons. As soon as the rains begin, they are taken down, and preserved for another year. There are three government residencies in the island. The one within the fort is used principally for holding councils, and for despatching business. It is a spacious, dismallooking building, like many of the other large houses in B. The European society here is neither so numerous nor so expensive as that in the other presidencies; but, if not rivals in splendor, they are quite equal in comfort and hospitality to their countrymen in Calcutta or Madras.As this place is the emporium of all the northwestern coast of the peninsula, and of the Persian and Arabian gulfs, its trade is very considerable. To China it sends a large quantity of cotton. Pepper, sandalwood, gums, drugs, pearls, ivory, gems. sharks' fins, edible birds' nests, form the remainder of the cargoes for Canton. Hemp, coffee, barilla, manufactured goods from Surat, and other articles, are sent to Europe. The trade to America is inconsiderable.The company's marine establishment consists of 18 cruisers, besides boats: the military and marine corps amount to less than 3000 men. Besides the governor and council, stationed at the city, there are magistrates and commercial residents in the chief towns of the different provinces subject to their government. There is one supreme court of judicature, held under a single judge, called the recorder.Since 1814, B. has been a station of the American board of commissioners for foreign missions, and, in 1828, they had 4 missionaries and a printing press employed here and in the vicinity; with 16 schools for boys, containing 1049 pupils, and 10 for girls, containing 577.B. was obtained by the Portuguese, in 1530, from an Indian chief at Salsette; by them it was ceded to Great Britain, in 1661, and, in 1668, it was transferred, by the king, to the East India company. From the commencement of the last century, it has gradually increased in importance, and has now attained a high degree of prosperity. It is difficult to fix, with precision, the extent of the territories included within the presidency of B., as some districts belonging to the native powers are intermingled with them. They may be calculated at about 10,000 square miles, with a population of 2,500,000.