Kolkata [kôl kut′ə]seaport in NE India, on the Hooghly River: capital of West Bengal state: pop. 4,310,000: formerly Calcutta
* * *Capital of West Bengal state, former capital (1772–1912) of British India, and India's second largest metropolitan area, it is located on the Hugli River, about 90 miles (145 km) from the river's mouth. Established as an English trading centre in 1690, it became the seat of the Bengal presidency in 1707. It was captured by the nawab of Bengal, who in 1756 imprisoned the English there (in a prison that was later known as the Black Hole); the city was retaken by the British under Robert Clive. It was an extremely busy 19th-century commercial centre, then began a decline with the removal of the capital to Delhi in 1912. The decline continued when the province was partitioned between India and Pakistan in 1947 and when Bangladesh was created in 1971. The flood of refugees from these political upheavals boosted the city's population but also significantly added to its widespread poverty. In September 2000 floodwaters inundated the city, leaving hundreds dead and tens of thousands homeless. Despite its problems, Kolkata remains a dominant urban area of eastern India and a major educational and cultural centre.
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