Kolkata

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Kolkata

(kôlkŭt`ə), formerly

Calcutta

(kălkŭt`ə), city (1991 pop. 10,916,272), capital of West Bengal state, E India, on the Hugli River. It is the second largest city in India and one of the largest in the world. Ten of Kolkata's suburbs—Haora, South Suburban City, Bhatpara, South Dum Dum, Kamarhati, Garden Reach, Panihati, Baranagar, Hugli-Chinsura, and Serampore—have well over 100,000 people each. The area of the Kolkata metropolitan area is 228.5 sq mi (591 sq km), extending more than 40 miles along the Hugli. Kolkata is the major seaport (see HaldiaHaldia
, city (1991 pop. 100,109), West Bengal, NE India. Haldia is being developed as a major trade port for Kolkata (Calcutta), intended mainly for bulk cargoes. The city has a fertilizer factory and a refinery, in addition to various light industries.
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) and industrial center of E India; jute is milled, and textiles, chemicals, paper, and metal products are manufactured. Bengali, Hindi, and Urdu are the main languages. The city has terrible poverty, chronic unemployment, overcrowding, inadequate transportation, and resultant social unrest.

Kolkata was founded c.1690 as Calcutta by the British East India CompanyEast India Company, British,
1600–1874, company chartered by Queen Elizabeth I for trade with Asia. The original object of the group of merchants involved was to break the Dutch monopoly of the spice trade with the East Indies.
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. In 1756 the nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daula, captured Kolkata and killed most of its garrison by imprisoning it overnight in a small, stifling room, known as the notorious "Black Hole." Robert CliveClive, Robert, Baron Clive of Plassey
, 1725–74, British soldier and statesman. He went to India in 1743 as a clerk for the British East India Company and entered the military service of the company in 1744; he soon distinguished himself in the fighting against the French.
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 retook the city in 1757. From 1833 to 1912, the city was the capital of British India.

The Univ. of Calcutta (founded 1857), Jadavpur Univ., and the Indian Museum, which houses one of the world's outstanding natural history collections, are in the city. The Maidan, a large river-front park, is Kolkata's most attractive section. A subway through the central section of the city opened in 1986. The city was officially renamed Kolkata (its name in Bengali) in 2001.