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Kolkata's recorded history began in 1690 with the arrival of the English East India Company, which was consolidating its trade business in Bengal.
Job Charnock, an administrator who worked for the company, was formerly credited as the founder of the city; The area occupied by the present-day city encompassed three villages: Kalikata, Gobindapur, and Sutanuti.
Among professional scientific institutions, Kolkata hosts the Agri Horticultural Society of India, the Geological Survey of India, the Botanical Survey of India, the Calcutta Mathematical Society, the Indian Science Congress Association, the Zoological Survey of India, the Institution of Engineers, the Anthropological Survey of India and the Indian Public Health Association.
These rights were transferred to the East India Company in 1698.
Facing frequent skirmishes with French forces, the British began to upgrade their fortifications in 1756.
During the 1960s and 1970s, severe power shortages, strikes, and a violent Marxist–Maoist movement by groups known as the Naxalites damaged much of the city's infrastructure, resulting in economic stagnation.
During the mid-1980s, Mumbai (then called Bombay) overtook Kolkata as India's most populous city.
Under the company rule, and later under the British Raj, Calcutta served as the capital of British-held territories in India until 1911, when its perceived geographical disadvantages, combined with growing nationalism in Bengal, led to a shift of the capital to New Delhi.