Kolkata formerly known as Calcutta is a city of many hues, recognized by many as the Cultural Capital of India, known to others as the City of Palaces and to yet others as the City of Joy; it is difficult to capture its diversity as well as uniqueness within the confines of a single phrase.
Calcutta was established in the year 1686, as a result of the expansion plans of the British Raj. It was during those times that European powers were heading their way towards capturing the small villages of Sutanati, Govindpur, and Kalikata. Calcutta derived its name from the last of the village settlements of kalikata. The city kept progressing until 1756, when Siraj-Ud-Daula (Nawab of Bengal) attacked and succeeded in driving the British away from the town. It was during that time that most of the British civilians had escaped, but a few of them were captured and imprisoned in a suffocating room. This incident has become a history in itself and was given the name 'Black hole tragedy'. In 1757, the following year, Battle of Plassey took place, in which Robert Clive took over the city by defeating the Nawab.
The end of battle witnessed the establishment of Supreme Court in 1774, making Calcutta as the base of justice. Battle of Plassey saw the drain of wealth, which strained the Bengal's economy. The period between 1820 and 1930 saw the growing of seeds of nationalism that reached its height in 1905, when people stood against Lord Curzon's plan regarding the partition of Bengal. Rabindranath Tagore led the nationalist anti partition movements. The Partition was repealed in 1911, followed by the shifting of capital of India from Calcutta to New Delhi. In 2001, Calcutta was officially renamed Kolkata.
Today it is a thriving metropolis, hometown to 4.5 million residents in an area of 185 sq km under the jurisdiction of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. The Kolkata Metropolitan Area spread over 1750 sq km comprising 157 postal areas in 2006 has a population of approximately 14.2 million making it the 13th most populous urban city in the world and the 18th largest urban agglomeration in the world. The 3 urban agglomerations comprise 72 cities and 527 towns & villages. Kolkata is the main business, commercial and financial hub of eastern India and the northeastern states. It is also a major commercial and military port, and the only city in eastern India to have an international airport.