Home Page | Contents | Digital Library | Miscellaneous | Chronology | Glossary A-M, N-Z | Bibliography | Friendly Links | Email

Job Charnock

Job Charnock was the founder of Calcutta. He arrived in India in 1655 and became a junior member of the Council of the Bay of Bengal.

In 1657, he became the Factor at Patna and married the beautiful widow Maria, who had been condemned, by suttee, to perish in flames alongside the corpse of her dead husband. Charnock had gone to gawp at a heathen practice, was smitten by her appearance, and snatched her from the flames. The couple moved around Bengal, raising a family of 4, before Maria died.

Charnock was made Governor of the Bay of Bengal, answerable to the Council of Directors in Madras. After a dispute with local Muslim rulers he fell back to Sutanuti, one of three villages close together, on the east bank of the Hooghly. The others were Govindpur and Kalikata. He was expelled and fled to Madras. After peace talks he returned to Sutanuti which had been pillaged and burnt by the Nawab. On August 24th, 1690, at 22' 33" North 88' 23" East, in the middle of the monsoon, Charnock pitched his tents and brought provisions from the boat. Under a large, shady tree he began to conduct business with English and Indian merchants, and Calcutta was born. Some of Charnock's sailors found it so unhealthy they called it Golgotha.

In 1699 the three villages were bought from the Nawab for 1,300 rupees. (1)


(1) 'Calcutta', Geoffrey Moorhouse, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1971.

Return to Miscellaneous