Mumbai, also known by its former name Bombay, is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fifth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million. Along with the neighboring urban areas, including the cities of Navi Mumbai and Thane, it is one of the most populous urban regions in the world. Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbor. In 2009, Mumbai was named an alpha world city. It is also the wealthiest city in India, and has the highest GDP of any city in South, West or Central Asia.
The seven islands that came to constitute Mumbai were home to communities of fishing colonies. For centuries, the islands were under the control of successive indigenous empires before being ceded to the Portuguese and subsequently to the British East India Company. During the mid-18th century, Bombay was reshaped by the Hornby Vellard project, which undertook reclamation of the area between the seven islands from the sea. Along with construction of major roads and railways, the reclamation project, completed in 1845, transformed Bombay into a major seaport on the Arabian Sea. Upon India's independence in 1947 the city was incorporated into Bombay State. In 1960, following the Samyukta Maharashtra movement, a new state of Maharashtra was created with Bombay as the capital. The city was renamed Mumbai in 1996.
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- Bombay is energetic, exuberant, sparkling, and has building stones of many kinds and colours ... on your dyspeptic days you are apt to find ... Bombay's [architecture] bumptious, even riotous. In your more genial moments you might apply the adjective ... 'vital'.
- John Begg, Consulting Architect to the City of Bombay, circa 1920. 
- Bombay was central, had been so from the moment of its creation: the bastard child of a Portuguese-English wedding, and yet the most Indian of Indian cities. In Bombay all Indias met and merged. In Bombay, too, all-India met what-what-not-India, what came across the black water to flow into our veins. Everything north of Bombay was North India, everything south of it was South. To the east lay India’s east and to the west, the world’s West. Bombay was central; all rivers flowed into its human sea. It was an ocean of stories; we were its narrators, and everybody talked at once.
- Bombay was the safest city in the world and it continues to be the safest.
- Bombay Joint Commissioner of Police D. Shivanandan, August 25, 2000.