Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Calcutta, capital of British India, in the province of Bengal, is situated about 80 miles from the sea on the east bank of the river Hooghly, a branch of the Ganges, and navigable up to the city for large vessels. On the opposite side of the river is the town of Howrah, connection with which is maintained by a pontoon bridge. The river frontage is about 44 miles, and the breadth of the town about 2 miles, the whole covering an area of nearly 8 square miles, hemmed in between the river and the circular road - a spacious way that marks its limits on the landward side. The southern part, or British quarter of the city, is occupied with well-built brick houses, in striking contrast to the northern or native portion, which is for the most part built of mud, bamboo, and such slight materials, with narrow and badly-laid streets. Between the fashionable quarter and the river is Fort William, the largest fortress in India, covering 2 square miles, and with accommodation for 15,000 men. Other leading features are the Maidan Esplanade, called the Hyde Park of India, the Strand, an extensive quay running along the river bank for 2 miles, and the public edifices, among which may be noted the Government House, built 1799-1804 by the Marquis Wellesley at a cost of £1,000,000. The town is well supplied with filtered water from the Hooghly, excellently drained, lighted by gas, and traversed by trams. It is also abundantly supplied with educational institutions, among which, besides a university on the same pattern as the London University, are Bishop Wilson's, the Presidency, Mohammedan, and Sanscrit colleges, and other developments of civilisation. From its position, and as the terminus of several railways and canals, Calcutta is the largest trade emporium in Asia. Its chief import is cotton, and among its exports the leading are opium, jute, grains, tea, raw silk, and gunny bags. It has also various industries, carried on, however, chiefly by natives in their houses.