(literally, the ghaut or landing place of Kali, from a famous shrine of this goddess), capital of British India, and of the presidency and province of Bengal; situated on the left bank of the Hooghly, a branch of the Ganges, about 80 miles from the Bay of Bengal. The Hooghly is navigable up to the city for vessels of 4,000 tons or drawing 26 feet. The port of Calcutta extends for about 10 miles along the river, and is under the management of a body of commissioners. Opposite the city it is crossed by a great pontoon bridge, which gives communication with Howrah for vehicles and foot-passengers, and can be opened at one point to let vessels pass up or down. Beside the accomodation for shipping furnished by the river, there are also several docks. The trade is very large, Calcutta being the commercial center of India. There is a very extensive inland trade by the Ganges and its connections, as also by railways (the chief of which start from Howrah), while almost the whole foreign trade for this part of India is monopolized by Calcutta. In 1773 Calcutta became the seat of British government for the whole of India. Since then the history of Calcutta has been an almost unbroken record of progress and prosperity. The pop. in 1872 of the city proper was 447,601; in 1901, 1,121,664.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.