History

Medieval cities changed in 18th century. Old Mughal towns disappeared and new ones emerged. After the Battle of Plassey (1757), colonial port cities were Madras, Calcutta and Bombay, which became biggest cities in India in population by 1800. Within these cities, there was a sharp distinction between the British and the Indian quarters. Railways linked hinterlands with port cities. Nature of colonial city changed after 1857 Revolt due to the fear of further mutiny. British created new urban areas known as Civil Lines, which were separated from but attached to the Indian towns.

Colonial Hill Stations were built to meet the needs of the British army. Indian hill stations approximated the cold climates of Europe. Railways made hill stations more accessible to the British and the Indians. Hill stations no longer remained Europeans’ enclaves. For Indian population, new cities looked like bewildering places with life always in a flux. Groups of middle class emerged. Cities also offered new opportunities for women. Poor people came to cities looking for opportunities.

British constructed a trading post in Madraspatam in 1639 and fortified it due to its rivalry with the French. Colour, religion determined who should live in the fort. Madras was developed by incorporating many surrounding villages. In Calcutta, the British built Fort William. Town planning moved out of the fort area later. Lord Wellesley built the Government House in Calcutta. After Wellesley, Lottery committee carried out town planning. Bombay was initially a city of seven islands. Later, it became commercial capital of colonial India. There were Three Styles of Public Buildings in Bombay: Neo-Classical, Neo-Gothic and Indo-Saracenic.

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