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Kolkata (alt. spelling: Kolkota) is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Before August 1998, it was known by its anglicised name Calcutta.

Kolkota came into the possession of the British East India Company in 1690 and dates its beginnings as a city from the construction of Fort William in 1698. From 1858 to 1912, Kolkota was the capital of British India. From 1912 to India's Independence in 1947, it was the capital of all of Bengal. After Independence, Kolkota remained the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal.

The centre of Company control over the whole of Bengal from 1757, Kolkota underwent rapid industrial growth from the 1850s, especially in the textile sector, despite the poverty of the surrounding region. Kolkota grew in the next 150 years from 117,000 to 1,098,000 inhabitants (including suburbs), and now has a metropolitan population in excess of 13.2 million. Kolkota was the most populous city in India until the 1980s, when it was overtaken by Mumbai (formerly Bombay).

While it has often been said that Calcutta/Kolkota was named after the dark goddess Kali, this is probably not the case.

The city is home to the National Library of India[?].

See also: Black Hole of Calcutta

Calcutta is also a gambling term; see Calcutta (gambling).

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