Mumbai was given as dowry to the Britishers by the Portuguese.
In 1534, the city of Bombay fell into the hands of the Portuguese after the Treaty of Bassein was signed between them and Bahadur Shah of Gujarat Sultanate.
Now the city was a natural harbor and could be used extensively for trade purposes. Hence the Portuguese decided to call the group of seven Islands by the name Bombaim, meaning
the good little bay. The name got corrupted later on to Bombay.
These were the original seven distinct islands.
In 1583, the first British merchants arrived and realized the strategic importance of the place. Not only was the place a natural harbor, it was also isolated from land attacks. This was the start of constant struggle for hegemony of Bombay between the Portuguese and the Britishers.
By the mid seventeenth century. Portugal was fighting a restoration war of it’s own, fighting the Spanish Habsburgs for independence. Portugal was initially being helped by France but after the war between France and Spain ended and Treaty of Pyrenees was signed, France abandoned it’s ally Portugal. Portugal had no option but to seek help from Britain. Queen Luisa of Portugal reopened negotiations with England that resulted in the alliance between King Charles II and Catherine of Braganza. Britain benefited heavily by the marriage treaty signed. As dowry, they received:
• Seven Islands of Bombay, which proved to be a major development in the establishment of the British Empire in India.
• Tangier (In North Africa).
• Trading privileges in Brazil and East Indies.
• Religious and commercial freedom in Portugal.
• Two Million Portuguese crowns (about £300,000).
Portugal on the other hand received:
• Military and Naval support against Spain.
• Freedom of worship for Catherine. She followed the Roman Church.
In accordance with the Royal Charter of 27 March 1668, England leased the Bombay islands to the English East India Company in 1668 for a sum of Euro 10 per annum.
In 1687, the English East India Company transferred its headquarters from Surat to Bombay. The city eventually became the headquarters of the Bombay Presidency. Following the transfer, Bombay was placed at the head of all the company’s establishments in India.
The rest as they say is history.