Mumbai (/mʊmˈbaɪ/; also known as Bombay) is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, most populous metropolitan area in India, and the eighth most populous city in the world, with an estimated city population of 18.4 million and metropolitan area population of 20.7 million as of 2011. Along with the urban areas, including the cities of Navi Mumbai, Thane, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, it is one of the most populous urban regions in the world. Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbour. In 2009, Mumbai was named an alpha world city. It is also the wealthiest city in India, and has the highest GDP of any city in South, West, or Central Asia. Mumbai has the highest number of billionaires and millionaires among all cities in India.
The seven islands that came to constitute Mumbai were home to communities of fishing colonies. For centuries, the islands were under the control of successive indigenous empires before being ceded to the Portuguese and subsequently to the British East India Company when in 1661 King Charles II married the Portuguese Catherine of Braganza, and as part of her dowry Charles received the ports of Tangier and seven islands of Bombay. During the mid-18th century, Bombay was reshaped by the Hornby Vellard project, which undertook reclamation of the area between the seven islands from the sea. Along with construction of major roads and railways, the reclamation project, completed in 1845, transformed Bombay into a major seaport on the Arabian Sea. Bombay in the 19th century was characterized by economic and educational development. During the early 20th century it became a strong base for the Indian independence movement. Upon India's independence in 1947 the city was incorporated into Bombay State. In 1960, following the Samyukta Maharashtra movement, a new state of Maharashtra was created with Bombay as the capital. The city was renamed Mumbai in 1996.
Mumbai is the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India. It is also one of the world's top ten centres of commerce in terms of global financial flow, generating 6.16% of India's GDP and accounting for 25% of industrial output, 70% of maritime trade in India (Mumbai Port Trust and JNPT), and 70% of capital transactions to India's economy. The city houses important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India, the SEBI and the corporate headquarters of numerous Indian companies and multinational corporations. It is also home to some of India's premier scientific and nuclear institutes like BARC, NPCL, IREL, TIFR, AERB, AECI, and the Department of Atomic Energy. The city also houses India's Hindi (Bollywood) and Marathi film and television industry. Mumbai's business opportunities, as well as its potential to offer a higher standard of living, attract migrants from all over India, making the city a melting pot of many communities and cultures.
Mumbai is built on what was once an archipelago of seven islands: Bombay Island, Parel, Mazagaon, Mahim, Colaba, Worli, and Old Woman's Island (also known as Little Colaba). It is not exactly known when these islands were first inhabited. Pleistocene sediments found along the coastal areas around Kandivali in northern Mumbai suggest that the islands were inhabited since the Stone Age. Perhaps at the beginning of the Common era (2,000 years ago), or possibly earlier, they came to be occupied by the Koli fishing community.
In the third century BCE, the islands formed part of the Maurya Empire, during its expansion in the south, ruled by the Buddhist emperor, Ashoka of Magadha. The Kanheri Caves in Borivali were excavated in the mid-third century BCE, and served as an important centre of Buddhism in Western India during ancient Times. The city then was known as Heptanesia (Ancient Greek: A Cluster of Seven Islands) to the Greek geographer Ptolemy in 150 CE.
Between the second century BCE and ninth century CE, the islands came under the control of successive indigenous dynasties: Satavahanas, Western Kshatrapas, Abhiras, Vakatakas, Kalachuris, Konkan Mauryas, Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas, before being ruled by the Silhara dynasty from 810 to 1260. Some of the oldest edifices in the city built during this period are, Jogeshwari Caves (between 520 to 525), Elephanta Caves (between the sixth to seventh century), Walkeshwar Temple (10th century), and Banganga Tank (12th century).
The Haji Ali Dargah was built in 1431, when Mumbai was under the rule of the Gujarat Sultanate
King Bhimdev founded his kingdom in the region in the late 13th century and established his capital in Mahikawati (present day Mahim). The Pathare Prabhus, among the earliest known settlers of the city, were brought to Mahikawati from Saurashtra in Gujarat around 1298 by Bhimdev. The Delhi Sultanate annexed the islands in 1347–48 and controlled it until 1407. During this time, the islands were administered by the Muslim Governors of Gujarat, who were appointed by the Delhi Sultanate.