Calcutta is a city in West Bengal, north-east India. It is situated on the River Hooghly about 100 kilometres inland from the Mouths of the Ganga (Ganges) and the head of the Bay of Bengal. ‘Calcutta’ is the Anglicised version of its name, ‘Kolkata’, which was the name of one of three villages in the area before the British East India Company arrived in 1690. There are four explanations for the derivation of the word ‘Kolkata’: that it was named after either a goddess (Kali), a flat area of land (kikila), a canal (khal) or a place where quicklime (kali chun) and coir rope (kátá) were manufactured. Calcutta was the centre of the British East India Company’s opium trade during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

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