Kolkata came into the possession of the British East India Company in 1690 and dates its beginnings as a city from the construction of Fort William in 1698. From 1858 to 1912, Kolkata was the capital of British India. From 1912 to India's Independence in 1947, it was the capital of all of Bengal. After Independence, Kolkata remained the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal.
The centre of Company control over the whole of Bengal from 1757, Kolkata underwent rapid industrial growth from the 1850s, especially in the textile sector, despite the poverty of the surrounding region. Kolkata grew in the next 150 years from 117,000 to 1,098,000 inhabitants (including suburbs), and now has a metropolitan population in excess of 13.2 million. Kolkata was the most populous city in India until the 1980s, when it was overtaken by Mumbai (formerly Bombay).
A lot of discussion is still going on how the city got its name. There are different views on the issue. The more popular one is that the city got its name from the Hindu godess Kali.
The city is home to the National Library of India, and is the cultural capital of India, famous for the book-fairs. Other places to visit in the city is the Victoria Memorial, Marble Palace, Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Birla Temple, Shahid Minar and lot of other places.
The two major railway stations of the city are at Howrah and Sealdah. The city has an international airport at Dum Dum and it is called Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. Kolkata is the only city in India to have a tram network and it also has metro railways.
The city High Court recently gave a ruled that Job Charnock is not the founder of the city and Kolkata has no birthday.
See also: Black Hole of Calcutta
Calcutta is also a gambling term; see Calcutta (gambling).