The Seven Islands of Mumbai


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.

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