History of Kolkata

Kolkata before East India Company

In the year 1690, an agent of the East India Company, Job Charnock came by the banks of the Hooghly in search of a suitable location to establish a trading post. Eight years later, East India Company bought three small villages near the riverside from a local landlord called Sabarna Chowdhury – Sutanuti, Kalikata and Gobindopur. By 1699, the company merged the three villages together to develop it into a trading post called Calcutta. They also wanted to raise Calcutta as a Presidency city.
The location of Calcutta was very strategic. The city sat near the banks of Hooghly, which would act as a buffer against unpredicted invasions or attacks. The tributary would also serve as a convenient water channel to facilitate trading movements.

Kolkata after East India Company

East India Company started the construction of Old Fort soon after. It was a brick and mortar structure in the shape of an octagon. Its star shape was drafted to protect the inhabitants from canon & gun firing. The first British-built structure came into existence in the land of Calcutta by the early seventeenth century.
But it was only after the year 1717, when the East India Company finally obtained the permit to conduct trade in Kolkata from the Mughal Emperor Farrukh Siyar. The British sealed the trading deal in exchange of a yearly commission of three thousand rupees to the Mughal treasury.
The Battle of Plassey –
The centre of Kolkata was growing under the supervision of the East Indian Company until the year 1756, when Siraj-al-Dawlah attacked the Fort. Siraj-al-Dawlah was the Nawab of Bengal. This made numerous Europeans flee the scene, which some were captured by the Nawab’s force. They were imprisoned in a room and tortured every day. This incident came to be known as the Black Hole of Calcutta. In January 1757, Robert Clive, one of the founders of East India Company, led a troop to the Fort to overthrow the rule of the Nawab. As the battle followed course in Plassey, the Nawab was defeated, and the Fort was recaptured. This sealed the hold of East India Company in Bengal, and secured the seat of Calcutta as the administrative capital of British India.