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Ibrahim Khan again sent letter to Mr. Charnock explaining that he had requested for the special Firman from the Emperor and it would take a few months before it arrived, and in the mean time Mr. With this friendly invitation, Mr. Job Charnock with 30 soldiers returned to Sutanuti on 24 August and hoisted the Royal Standards of England on the banks of river Hooghly, thus beginning a new era of British involvement in Bengal. In the next year, Ibrahim Khan sent the order from the Emperor to Mr. Charnock which allowed unrestricted trade without paying any other taxes except the usual 3, rupees.

Charnock died in January While the English were always looking for fortification of their factories in Bengal, Ibrahim Khan never allowed them to do so. In the town of Hooghly was seized by Sobha Singh along with an unknown Afghan Rahim Khan, and the English at Sutanuti requested from the governor to use their own armed protection for their factories when their factories were surrounded by the enemy.

Ibrahim Khan allowed them to protect their own factories, but did not allow any fortification explicitly. However, in the absence of specific orders the permission to defend their property was taken as a permit to build fortress and construction began immediately overnight with all available manpower. This was the old Fort William and construction for a new one the present one started after Siraj Ud-Daulah attacked Fort William in The site was carefully selected, being protected by the Hooghly River on the west, a creek to the north, and by salt lakes about two and a half miles to the east.


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There were three large villages along the east bank of the river Ganges, named, Sutanuti, Gobindapur and Kalikata. These three villages were bought by the British from the local land lords. The Mughal emperor granted East India Company freedom of trade in return for a yearly payment of 3, rupees.

There is much discussion about the origin of the city's name. The most accepted view is that it comes from the Hindu goddess Kali and the original name was KaliKshetra , "the place of Kali". The area where the city is now located was originally inhabited by the people of three villages: Kalikata , Sutanuti and Gobindapur. However, the boundaries of the three villages gradually became less distinct, and before the battle of Plassey , the city could be divided into four different sub-areas: European Kolkata Dihi Kolkata ; a residential village with some sacred spots Gobindapur ; a traditional Indian market Bazar Kalikata or Burrabazar ; and a riverine mart concentrating on cloth trade Sutanati.

The Calcutta High Court ruled in [7] that Job Charnock , the Englishman generally believed to be the founder of the Calcutta, is not the founder of the city and that hence Kolkata has no birthday. According to the Court, the city has its genesis in the Maurya and Gupta period and it was an established trading post long before the Slave Dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate , the Mughals , the Portuguese , the French or the British established a modern township there.

The British East India Company chose the place for a trade settlement. The next year, the company began developing the city as a Presidency City. In , on the order of King George I , a civil court was set up in the city. The Calcutta Municipal corporation now renamed Kolkata Municipal Corporation was formed and the city had its first mayor.

The three villages, in particular Kalikata , where Calcutta is located, came into the possession of the British East India Company in and some scholars like to date its beginnings as a major city from the construction of Fort William by the British in , though this is debated see the court ruling in "Name and origins" above. From to , Calcutta was the capital of British India. From to India's Independence in , it was the capital of all of Bengal. When the Seven Years' War broke out, owing to their constant rivalry with the French , and the fall of Madras to the forces of Dupleix , early in the British authorities in Calcutta began repairs to the fortifications of old Fort William , which were extremely decayed.

This irritated the new Nawab of Bengal , Siraj Ud Daulah , who viewed it as a threat to his sovereignty. Enraged still further when the British granted asylum to one Krishnaballav, who had embezzled money from the dewani of Dhaka , Siraj ud-Daula first attacked and captured Cossimbazar taking as hostage William Watts and Begum Johnson , and then Calcutta, which fell after a short siege on 20 June , during which the governor and many other officials escaped down the Hooghly River , leaving the remainder of the garrison and the Eurasian population of Calcutta to their fate.

This is now known as the Siege of Calcutta.

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It is said that Britons later died in the Black Hole of Calcutta after his victory, but recent evidence calls into question the numbers involved, and suggests that the Nawab himself was probably unaware of what transpired. Having installed Manikchand as the ruler of Alinagar, Siraj returned to Murshidabad.

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Hearing the news, Siraj ud-Daula moved to attack Calcutta, but fearing an attack from Ahmad Shah Abdali , after a few days of war he signed the Treaty of Alinagar with the East India Company, giving them permission to build the fort. Although Siraj ud-Daula conceded temporary defeat in the Pact of Alinagar, he once again began scheming with the French against the British. Meanwhile, the Third Carnatic War was starting in the south.

Also at this time, nobles such as Jagat Seth , Mir Jafar , Rai Durlav, Omichand and Rajballav were plotting against Siraj ud-Daula a principal reason being the Nawab's arrogance, well attested to in contemporary sources [8] and they invited Clive to take part in their plans. Clive seized on this plan to get rid of two enemies at once. Citing non-existent reasons, he attacked Murshidabad , having previously reached an agreement with Mir Jafar to install him on the musnud of Bengal. On the fateful day of 23 June , 23 miles away from Murshidabad in the mango groves of Palashi , the armies met at the Battle of Plassey.


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  4. The British army consisted of European soldiers and 2, Indian soldiers, while the Nawab's army was made up of 18, cavalry and 50, infantry. At the start of this seemingly impossible battle, generals Rai Durlav and Iar Latif held their armies together, but in an act of treachery Mir Jafar led his troops away from the battlefield, and the remaining army led by Mirmadan and Mohanlal was defeated. Siraj ud-Daula escaped but was later caught and killed by Miran, the son of Mir Jafar.

    Mir Jafar was made the new Nawab, and the British had effectively seized control of Bengal. Thus, British imperialism began in India with the conquest of Bengal, a game in which a main pawn was the great city of Calcutta. Calcutta also had an indirect but important influence on the battles of the Carnatic Wars. When Madras fell to Dupleix, the British were still able to direct the war from another of their strongholds, Calcutta. They also used the wealth of Bengal to defeat the French. John's Church , originally a cathedral, was among the first public buildings erected by the East India Company after Kolkata became the effective capital of British India.

    Construction of the building, modelled on St Martin-in-the-Fields of London, [10] started in , with Rs 30, raised through a public lottery, [11] and was completed in It is the third oldest church in the city, next to the Armenian and the Old Mission Church. One of the most notorious incidents of the latter part of the century was the trial and execution of Nanda Kumar , who had been the governor of Hugging in In he had been appointed collector of Burdwan in place of Warren Hastings , which resulted in a long-standing enmity between the two men.

    In , when Hastings was Governor-General , Nanda Kumar brought accusations of corruption against him, accusing him of accepting bribes and other abuses of power. Whilst this matter was still awaiting investigation Nanda Kumar was indicted for forgery of a deed, condemned and executed. There was a strong suspicion that the charges had been invented by Hastings, and that he had put pressure on the judges to pass sentence of death.

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    At this date it was far from clear whether or not English law applied in Calcutta, and it was extremely rare for the death penalty to be applied for forgery even in England. Furthermore, Nanda Kumar was a Brahman , and his hanging caused widespread dismay and outrage in Calcutta. Francis was severely wounded, but Hastings escaped unscathed.

    After the territorial conquest of Bengal in , the British East India Company pursued a monopoly on production and export of opium from India.

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    The company bought opium from local traders and later directly from farmers, and sold it at auction in Calcutta. From there much of it was smuggled to Canton in China by foreign traders, eventually leading to the First Opium War — On 29 January , Hickey's Bengal Gazette or the Calcutta General Advertiser became the first newspaper to be printed in India, and is an invaluable chronicle of the social life of Anglo-Indian society in Calcutta.

    Contemporary memoirs such as those of William Hickey record the consumption of enormous meals, washed down by copious quantities of claret, port, madeira and other wines, followed by the smoking of Hookahs. Such unions between Europeans, English, French and Portuguese, and local women, both Hindu and Muslim, were common throughout the 18th century in Calcutta, and are the origin of the city's substantial Anglo-Indian or Eurasian community today: Calcutta's intellectual life received a great boost in with the foundation of the Asiatic Society of Bengal by Sir William Jones , with the encouragement of Warren Hastings , himself no mean Oriental scholar.