Hooghly district


Hooghly district

Infobox Indian Jurisdiction
native_name=Hooghly
type= district
hq= Chinsura
state_name=West Bengal
abbreviation=HG
altitude=
latd=
longd=
population_year = 2001 | population_total = 5,041,976| population_density = 1601
collector=
area= 3,149
vehicle_code_range= WB-?
website = hooghly.nic.in
footnotes = |

Hooghly is one of the districts of the state of West Bengal in India. It can alternatively be spelt "Hoogli" or "Hugli". The district is named after the Hooghly River.

The headquarters of the district is at Chinsura. There are 4 subdivisions to the district: Chinsura Sadar, Chandannagar, Serampore and Arambag.

History

The district of Hooghly got its name from the town of Hooghly situated on the west bank of Hooghly River about 40 km north of Kolkata. This town was a river port in the fifteenth century. The first European to reach this area was the Portuguese sailor Vasco-da-gama. In 1536 Portuguese traders got a permit from Sultan Mahmud Shah to trade in this area. In those days the Hooghly River was the main way for transportation and Hooghly served as an excellent trading port. Within a few decades the town of Hooghly turned into a major commercial center and the largest port in Bengal. Later in 1579-80 emperor Akbar gave permission to a Portuguese captain Pedro Tavares to establish a city anywhere in the Bengal province. They normally chosed Hooghly and thus Hooghly became the first European settlement in Bengal. In 1599 the Portuguese traders built a convent and a church in Bandel. This is the first Christian church in Bengal known as ‘Bandel church’ today.

But the Portuguese traders started misusing their power. They started slave-trading, robbery and converting natives into Christians by pressure. At a time they even stopped paying taxes to the Mogul emperors. As a result emperor Shah Jahan ordered the then ruler of Bengal province, Kashim Khan Juini to block the city of Hooghly. This eventually led to war in which the Portuguese completely lost their ground here and were unable to rise again.Among other European powers that came to Hooghly were Dutch, Danish, British, French, Belgians and Germans. Dutch traders centered their activities in the town Chuchura which is just south to Hooghly. Chandannagar became the base of the French and remained under their control from 1816 to 1950. Similarly the Danish settled in Srirampur. All of these towns are situated on the west bank of the Hooghly River and served as ports. But among these nations the British ultimately became most powerful. Initially they were based in and around the city of Hooghly like traders from other countries but in 1690 an agent of the British East India Company named Job Charnock decided to shift their trading center from the city of Hooghly to Kolkata. The reason behind this decision was the strategically safe location of Kolkata and its proximity to the sea (Bay of Bengal). As a result the center of gravity of trade and commerce in Bengal province shifted from the city Hooghly to Kolkata and Hooghly subsequently lost its importance as Kolkata prospered. Since the ‘Buxar war’ this region was under direct British rule until India’s independence in 1947. After independence this district merged into the state of West Bengal.

Though the city of Hooghly is more than five hundred years old the district of Hooghly was formed in 1795 with the city of Hooghly as its headquarters. Later the headquarters shifted to the town of Chuchura. In 1843 the district of Howrah was created from the southern portion of this district. And in 1872 the south-west portion of this district was merged into the district of Medinipur. The last change in area occurred in 1966.

Antpur is a tourist spot in this district.

Geography

The district is a completely flat land with no place having more than an elevation of 200 meters. The River Hooghly borders it to the east. Another major river is 'Damodar'. The district is bordered by Howrah District to the south, Bardhaman District to the north, and to the east by the River Hooghly. Bankura District lies to the north-west, with Medinipur District to the south-west.

Economy

Hooghly is the one of the most economically developed districts in West Bengal. It is also the main jute cultivation, jute industry, and jute trade hub in the state. There are also a number of industrial complexes including one of the largest car manufacturing plants in India, the 'Hindustan Motors' plant located in Uttarpara. The jute mills are located along the banks of the river Hooghly in Tribeni, Bhadreswar, Champdani and Sreerampur.

External links

* [http://hooghly.nic.in Hooghly District official homepage]
* [http://www.wowbengal.com/hooghly Hooghly specific information on West Bengal Portal]
* [http://www.calcuttaweb.com/maps/hoogli.shtml Hooghly District map]

ee also

* Hooghly (Lok Sabha constituency)


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