St, Fort George is in Mumbai. Historians will also know, there is another St. George Fort in Chennai.
The Fort is rich in history, filled with battles, treaties, and even secret escape routes!
It is a massive fortification built in 1769 to protect the British from the feared Napoleon Bonaparte. It was named after King George III.
The fort was demolished in 1862, but its legacy lives on, as a hospital called St. George was built on its site a few decades later. But that’s not all, folks! Rumor has it that a secret underground passage was discovered in 2010, leading from the General Post Office at CST to the fort. Did the British plan an elaborate escape route in case of a French attack? We may never know, but it’s fun to imagine!
Moving on to the history of the Fort area, did you know that the British received the Bombay island as dowry in 1665? That’s right, Prince Charles II of England was married to Infanta Catherine de Braganza, sister of the King of Portugal, and the British got Bombay as part of the deal. Talk about a royal wedding gift!
To protect their newfound possession from the Marathas and Dutch, the British built a 50-meter fort wall with 20 cannons, which was later expanded by Governor Charles Boone in 1715. The Fort area became the main city, with three gates and a ditch for added protection. Outside the Fort walls was the ‘Black Town,’ surrounded by coconut trees, which included present-day Girgaon and Bhuleshwar areas.
And that’s not all, history buffs! Until the mid-nineteenth century, Mumbai essentially meant the Fort and its surrounding villages, with the city outside its walls slowly developing over time. It’s amazing to think that the hustle and bustle of modern-day Mumbai all started with a fort and a few villages!
So, if you’re ever in Mumbai and want to travel back in time, head to the Fort area and explore its rich history.