A Book of Bombay


A Book of Bombay, published in 1883 by the Bombay Gazette, is a guide to the history of Bombay (present-day Mumbai, India) during the period of British colonial rule. It is comprised of 24 chapters covering an array of topics related to the city. The chapters originally appeared as articles in the gazette, one of the earliest English newspapers in British India. The book opens with an account of the beginnings of the city, starting in 1661, when the Portuguese gave the islands of Bombay to the English as part of the dowry in the marriage agreement between Catherine of Braganza and King Charles II. The book includes chapters on the early history of the British East India Company, the Anglo-Maratha Wars of between 1775 and 1818, and short biographies of some of the city’s British notables, including the Duke of Wellington, Mountstuart Elphinstone, John Malcolm, and James Mackintosh. Some chapters contain speculative material. Chapter IX, for example, claims that Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson visited Bombay as a young sailor. Chapter X suggests, with more justification, that Napoleon Bonaparte was scheming a route to Bombay when he visited Suez in December 1798. The book also highlights the effect of the opening of the Suez Canal (in 1869) on Bombay, linking this development to growth in the population and prosperity of the city. The last two chapters, each containing “twelve views of Bombay,” provide short accounts on the history of the city as well as of its social and political life. The accounts are taken from sources compiled by earlier travelers who visited the city. The book is illustrated with a profile of Sevagi (Shivaji Bhonsle, founder of the Maratha Empire), and a plan of Bombay in around 1760, based on a plan in the 1772 edition of John Henry Grose’s A Voyage to the East Indies.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Bombay Gazette Steam Press, Bombay


Title in Original Language

A book of Bombay

Type of Item

Physical Description

566 pages : map, illustration ; 20 centimeters

Last updated: October 30, 2017