Mumbai Was Used As A Dowry In A British Portuguese Royal Marriage

Bombay, or Mumbai, as people call it today, has had an intriguing past of being a dowry. Yes! There are as many facts about Mumbai as there are stars on a starry night! While most of Mumbaikars can claim to know the financial capital of India inside and out, there is always a sliver of a story that goes unnoticed even by the best Mumbai-lovers.

And as called the most happening city of India Mumbai does have huge garbs of history and secrets loaded in it. The secrets or the facts are amusing, fascinating at times unbelievable. But this city fulfills everyone’s dreams that seem unbelievable to others then how can it not have a truth that seems amusing to everyone.

In FACTS ABOUT MUMBAI (part I), I will share the most amazing, weird, surprising and shocking facts about the Indian City of Dreams!

One of the most shocking facts

The most amusing and shocking fact about Mumbai, the city of dreams is that it was given as a dowry in a British- Portuguese Royal marriage. It is all a part of history. History that is now buried in the old libraries of the city and so people who claim to know Mumbai inside-out do at times miss these facts.

source- Oneindia

So let us know these buried amazing facts about the most happening city. And did it became a dowry. Let’s start from the starting when the story began.

The year 1534

source- Wikipedia

Portuguese established its control over the port of Bombay. The treaty of Bassein was signed between Portugal and Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat. And a new religious phase began in Bombay. Roman Catholicism entered the picture. Bombay was known as Bombaim back then. It was still a major city with lots and lots of trade happening due to the port there. It actually was the gateway from where all the foreign trades and traders and the Kings and their Queen and courtiers entered in India. Then the story progressed. And we see the year 1583.

The year 1583

source- India’s Invitation

The first English merchant ship stepped into Bombay in that year. They were stunned by the natural port that existed. Bombay became an important trade route for the Britishers. And back then, they wanted complete control over it. They were so impressed by the port and the facilities that they could avail due to it that they now started dreaming of having this city in their pocket.

The year 1612

source- Wikipedia

Then in 1612 the British and the Portuguese fought over it out at Surat to decide who would take command over Bombay. As a result, the British emerged victorious, and the Portuguese lost their monopoly over the much-coveted islands of Bombay. Hence, the rule of Bombay or Bombaim (as known at that time) went into the hands of the British rule.

The year 1661

source- Twitter

The Portuguese were slowly losing their control over the islands of Bombaim, as it was called back then. They did not knew how to manage the situation and keep their control intact. And also to stay at a respectable place in eyes of British, as by now Portugal had understood that they were ineffective in out ruling the British rule from any corner of India.

So, a marriage was proposed between Charles II and Princess Catherine de Braganza of Portugal. They both then were married and Bombay or Bombaim was handed over as a dowry to the British.

However, in an interesting turn of events, Charles II thought that handling an entire set of islands as a dowry is a little too much for him. So, he rented Bombay to East India Company for just 10 pounds a year, that too in gold!

And the rest is history!

Yes, Bombay never ceases to amuse us but even with a pinch of history, it won’t cease was unbelievable. But it is Bombay so expect the most unexpected!


As a Literature student, Pooja is passionate about the world of words. Apart from spending hours snuggled up in a blanket with a book in hand, she enjoys digging up facts and theories about historical as well as mythological events. However, sharing them with the world is what keeps her going in life.

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