Bombay is the former name of the city of Mumbai, which is located on a deep bay on the west coast of India. In December 1534, the Portuguese forced the local Sultan to cede control of the seven islands that then made up the city, and the surrounding area. It is possible that the name ‘Bombay’ is an Anglicised version of the Portuguese term for the area, Bombaim, which was derived from the expression bom baim, meaning ‘good little bay’. By 1836 the city was a British colony and known as ‘Bombay’, it having passed to Britain in 1661 as part of the dowry paid by King John IV of Portugal when his daughter, Catherine of Braganza, married Charles II of England. From 1687, Bombay was the headquarters of the British East India Company. It is likely that when the John Pirie encountered the Mary Bibby heading for Bombay in June 1836, the latter intended to collect cargo for the British East India Company.

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