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Hooghly(both: ho͞o`glē), river, an arm of the Ganges, c.160 mi (260 km) long, formed by the confluence of the Bhagirathi, Jalangi, and Matabhanga rivers, West Bengal state, E India, and flowing S to the Bay of Bengal; navigable for small oceangoing vessels to Kolkata (Calcutta), c.80 mi (130 km) upstream. It is the major shipping artery through the important Hugliside industrial area, despite its sandbars and strong tidal currents. The Hugli's headwaters are important for inland traffic. A Portuguese trading post, established at Hugli town in 1537, was of commercial importance in the 16th and 17th cent.
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