Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, located in eastern India, on the east bank of the Hugli River opposite the city of Haura. More than 5 million people live in the city, more than 13 million in the entire metropolitan area. Kolkata is the third largest city in India. It is located on a relatively small area of 185 km².
The discovery of the Chandraketugarh archeological site proves that the Calcutta area was inhabited more than two thousand years ago. However, the documented history of the city does not begin until the arrival of the East India Company in 1690, when the company consolidated its business activities in Bengal. Job Charnock, director of the East India Company, has traditionally been considered the city's founder. However, some scholars have recently challenged this established view and, in response to a heated public debate in 2003, the High Court ruled that the city would have no official founder.
At the end of the 17th century, the area of present-day Calcutta was owned by Nawab of Bengal, Siraye-Ud-Daulah, and consisted of three villages: Kalikata, Gobindapuru and Sutanuti. At that time, the British needed to build a new fortress near Gobindapur so that they could consolidate their power over other foreign forces in India, especially the Dutch, Portuguese and French. In 1702, the British also completed the construction of Fort William, which served as a regional base for their troops. Calcutta was established as a "presidential city." In the face of frequent skirmishes with French forces, the British decided in 1756 to expand their fortifications. However, Siraj-Ud-Daulaha protested sharply, and when his protests were ignored, he attacked and conquered the fortress. This event went down in history under the unflattering name of "Calcutta's Black Hole." However, British forces led by Robert Clive recaptured the city the following year. In 1772, Kolkata was established as the capital of British India, however, from 1864, the administration was regularly moved to the Shimla mountain station in the summer months. At the beginning of the 19th century, the swamps surrounding the city were drained and the government area was established on the banks of the Hugli River. Richard Wellesley, Governor-General from 1797-1805, has been instrumental in the development of the city and its architecture, which is also known as the "City of Palaces" in Calcutta. The city was the center of British East India Company in the 18th and 19th centuries, especially during the booming opium trade.
Around 1850, Calcutta was divided into two areas. One British (referred to as the White City), centered around Chowringhee, the other Indian (referred to as the Black City), located in the northern part of Calcutta. At that time, there was also a rapid development of industry in the city, especially textile and jute processing. Related to this was massive British investment in infrastructure, especially railways and the telegraph. The convergence of British and Indian culture resulted in the emergence of a new Indian caste - Babu, whose members were most often officials or other bureaucrats, Anglophiles, who were often recruited from higher Hindu castes. During the 19th century, during the period of socio-cultural reform, the so-called Bengali Renaissance, there was a general change in the thinking of the Indians, they became more confident and pervasive. In 1883, Surendranath Banerjee organized the first national conference - the first of its kind in India in that century. Calcutta gradually became the center of the Indian independence movement, and many revolutionary groups emerged. The division of Bengal in 1905 was the reason for a general boycott of British goods (the Swadeshi movement). These activities, together with Calcutta's already unsatisfactory location on the eastern edge of India, contributed significantly to the British decision to move the capital to New Delhi in 1911.
The city and its port were bombed several times during World War II by the Japanese air force, first on December 20, 1942 and last on December 24, 1944. Millions of people died in the city during the war as a result of the Bengal famine caused by a combination of military, administrative and natural factors. In 1946, demands for the creation of a Muslim state led to strong outbreaks of violence, killing 4,000 people. The partition of India caused another similar explosion and subsequent very significant changes in the composition of the population - many Muslims left for East Pakistan, while hundreds of thousands of Hindus came to the city. In the 1960s and 1970s, the city went into economic stagnation, partly due to frequent power and water outages, and partly due to the Marxist-Maoist naxalite movement, whose followers damaged much of the city's infrastructure. In 1971, as a result of the war between India and Pakistan, thousands of more refugees came to the city, which was another onslaught for the city's already inadequate infrastructure. In the mid-1980s, Mumbai surpassed in population. Calcutta is a strong base of the Indian Communist movement; in 1977-2011, Calcutta's West Bengal was ruled by a left-wing front, which was controlled by the Communist Party of India (CPM). It was the longest democratically elected communist government in the world. The city's economic recovery picked up again after the government's economic reforms in the mid-1990s. Until 2000, the IT industry played a key role in the city's growth, and the city's manufacturing sector is also reviving.
The people of Calcutta are called the Calcutta. In 2001, the city alone had a population of 4,580,544, while the entire agglomeration had a population of 13,216,546. Estimates for 2009 are slightly higher, according to a project organized by the city, the population in Kolkata is 5,080,519. The ratio of men to women is 928 women per 1,000 men, which is less than the Indian average because many working men came to the city from rural areas (mainly Bihar) where they left their families. The literacy rate in the city is 81%, which is more than the national average. The Bengalis make up the majority of Calcutta's inhabitants, along with the Marwari and Bihars (mostly workers who move to the city for work). In addition, there are many national minorities in Calcutta, especially the Chinese, Tamils, Nepals, Gujarati, Tibetans, but also Armenians and Greeks. Bengali is the dominant language in the city, which also has the status of an official language. English is also used, especially among the so-called white collars. In Calcutta, however, you will encounter many other languages, due to the diverse representation of national minorities. In 2004, 67.6% of all 35 Indian cities reported violations in Kolkata. In the same year, the city police registered 10,757 cases, placing Kolkata in 10th place in the national crime rankings. In contrast, according to data from 2006, there are 71 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in Calcutta, which is well below the national average (167.7).
The urban agglomeration has a tropical climate. The average annual temperature is 26.8 ° C. The extremes reach 5 ° C to 44 ° C. In December and January, they fall to 12 ° C to 14 ° C. The rain brings with it the southeast monsoon of the Bay of Bengal between June and September.
Public transport is provided by Kolkata suburban railway, and despite its name, it provides metro, trams and buses. The city's transport network is relatively wide and extends to relatively remote parts of the agglomeration.
Kolkata Metro is the oldest metro in India and has been in operation since 1984. Buses are the most popular mode of transport in the city and are operated by both state-owned and private operators. Kolkata is also the only Indian city in which there is a functioning tram network, although tram traffic in Kolkata is slow and the network has only a limited range. Public transport is quite often disrupted by heavy rains during the monsoon season.
Yellow taxis (equipped with taximeters) cannot be omitted from the list of means of transport, while autorikšs travel on relatively specific routes. Almost all taxis in Kolkata are Ambassador brands, which is quite unusual compared to other Indian places, mostly Tata cars predominate. In some parts of the city, cyclorikshis or people-drawn rickshaws still operate. In general, car ownership is not very common in Kolkata, less common than in other Indian cities, due to the frequency of public transport and, last but not least, the density of traffic. However, the number of registered passenger cars in the city is growing, in 2002 since 1995 44% of cars have been added. Roads occupy only 6% of the city's area (23% in Delhi and 17% in Mumbai), which is Kolkata's main traffic problem.
Kolkata's main airport is Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, located about 18 miles northeast of downtown Dam Dam. It has long been around the fifth busiest airport in the whole of India.
Kolkata is home to the National Library of India, Kolkata University and the Indian Museum.
The most popular sports in Kolkata are football and cricket. Unlike most parts of India, the residents show significant passion for football Indian Football Association, the oldest football association of the country is based here. It administers football in West Bengal. Kolkata is home to the country's top football clubs such as Mohun Bagan A.C., East Bengal F.C. and the Mohammedan Sporting Club. The city has two Indian Super League clubs, ATK Mohun Bagan FC and SC East Bengal. Calcutta Football League, which was started in 1898, is the oldest football league in Asia. Mohun Bagan A.C., one of the oldest football clubs in Asia, is the only organisation to be dubbed a "National Club of India". Football matches between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, dubbed as the Kolkata derby, witness large audience attendance and rivalry between patrons. The multi-use Salt Lake Stadium, also known as Yuva Bharati Krirangan, is India's second largest stadium by seating capacity. Most matches of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup were played in the Salt Lake Stadium including both Semi-final matches and the Final match. Kolkata also accounted for 45% of total attendance in 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup with an average of 55,345 spectators. The Calcutta Cricket and Football Club is the second-oldest cricket club in the world.
As in the rest of India, cricket is popular in Kolkata and is played on grounds and in streets throughout the city. Kolkata is home to Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders and the Bengal cricket team; the Cricket Association of Bengal, which regulates cricket in West Bengal, is also based in the city. Tournaments, especially those involving cricket, football, badminton and carrom, are regularly organised here on an inter-locality or inter-club basis. The Maidan, a vast field that serves as the city's largest park, hosts several minor football and cricket clubs and coaching institutes. Eden Gardens, which has a capacity of 80,000 as of 2017, hosted the final match of the 1987 Cricket World Cup.
Kolkata's Netaji Indoor Stadium served as host of the 1981 Asian Basketball Championship, where India's national basketball team finished 5th, ahead of teams that belong to Asia's basketball elite, such as Iran. The city has three 18-hole golf courses. The oldest is at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, the first golf club built outside the United Kingdom. The other two are located at the Tollygunge Club and at Fort William. The Royal Calcutta Turf Club hosts horse racing and polo matches. The Calcutta Polo Club is considered the oldest extant polo club in the world. The Calcutta Racket Club is a squash and racquet club in Kolkata. It was founded in 1793, making it one of the oldest rackets clubs in the world, and the first in the Indian subcontinent. The Calcutta South Club is a venue for national and international tennis tournaments; it held the first grass-court national championship in 1946. In the period 2005–2007, Sunfeast Open, a tier-III tournament on the Women's Tennis Association circuit, was held in the Netaji Indoor Stadium; it has since been discontinued.
The Calcutta Rowing Club hosts rowing heats and training events. Kolkata, considered the leading centre of rugby union in India, gives its name to the oldest international tournament in rugby union, the Calcutta Cup. The Automobile Association of Eastern India, established in 1904, and the Bengal Motor Sports Club are involved in promoting motor sports and car rallies in Kolkata and West Bengal. The Beighton Cup, an event organised by the Bengal Hockey Association and first played in 1895, is India's oldest field hockey tournament; it is usually held on the Mohun Bagan Ground of the Maidan. Athletes from Kolkata include Sourav Ganguly, Pankaj Roy and Jhulan Goswami, who are former captains of the Indian national cricket team; Olympic tennis bronze medalist Leander Paes, golfer Arjun Atwal, and former footballers Sailen Manna, Chuni Goswami, P. K. Banerjee and Subrata Bhattacharya.