The Seven Islands

1700 Map Proceeding roughly south to north, the seven islands ceded by the Portuguese to the British were
  1. Colaba: whose name is a corruption of the Koli name Kolbhat.
  2. Old Woman's Island: (alternatively, Old Man's Island) a small rock between Colaba and Bombay, whose name is a corruption of the Arabic name Al-Omani, after the deep-sea fishermen who ranged up to the Gulf of Oman.
  3. Bombay: the main harbour and the nucleus of the British fort from which the modern city grew; it stretched from Dongri on the east to Malabar Hill on the west.
  4. Mazagaon: a Koli settlement to the east of Bombay island was seperated from it by Umarkhadi and Pydhonie.
  5. Worli: north of Bombay was seperated from it by the Great Breach, which extended westwards almost to Dongri.
  6. Parel: North of Mazagaon and called by many other names, including Matunga, Dharavi and Sion. The original population was predominantly Koli.
  7. Mahim: to the west of Parel and north of Worli, took its name from the Mahim river and was the capital of a 13th century kingdom founded by Raja Bhimdev.

This list does not exhaust all the islands that have merged into the modern city of Bombay. In particular, Salsette, the large northern island which remained under Portuguese control till 1739, is not counted among these seven.

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Created on Jul 16, 1995; last modified Nov 17, 1999.