The History of Karachi – The earliest account of the area where Karachi is located can be found in the record books of one of Alexander-the-Great’s admirals, who sailed back home from the Greek expedition to India, from a harbor by the Indus delta, known as Krokola. According to widely held belief though, the city of Karachi started its life as a small fishing settlement by the Indus Delta known as Kolachi-jo-Kun (the ditch of Kolachi), named after an old fisherwoman, Mai Kolachee who took up a settlement here.
Karachi was a small fisherman village settled by the Baloch tribes from Balochistan and Makran. Their first settlement was near the delta of the Indus River which they named as ‘Kolachi’ village. The people of the original community still inhabit the area on the small island of Abdullah Goth situated near Karachi Port. The well-known neighborhood ‘Mai Kolachi’ of Karachi still remains the original name of the city.
At the end of the 1700 century, the settlers of Kolachi village started trading across the sea with Muscat and the Persian Gulf region. Later, the village started to grow as a commercial hub and a port for trade. For the protection of this developing area, a small fort was constructed. This fort was handed over to Talpurs of Balochistan by the Khan of Kalat in 1795.
The History Of Karachi
The British recognized the importance of the city as a trading post. So they captured the city in February 1843 under the command of Sir Charles Napier and the city was annexed as a district of the British Indian Empire. In 1846, it was home to around 9000 citizens.
In 1878, the city was connected by a railway line to the rest of India and consequently, public building projects like Frere Hall (1865) and the Empress Market (1890) were started in the city. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan was born in the city in 1876 in a famous Ismaili Khoja family.
The Municipality started collecting House Tax on Property owners, the first municipality to collect the tax in the sub-continent. By the end of 19th century, the city was home to around 105,000 people and a cosmopolitan city of Hindus and Muslim communities as well as Jews, Parsis, Iranians, Lebanese, and Goan merchants. In 1900, due to the street congestion, India’s first tramway system was constructed in this bustling city. At that time Karachi was famous for its railway-tram network, churches, mosques, court-houses, markets, paved streets and magnificent harbour.
Karachi City Municipal Act was propagated in 1933 and the Municipality of Karachi was given the status of Municipal Corporation. At the same time, the status of President and Vice President were replaced by Mayor and Dy. Mayor respectively. It consisted by 57 Councilors residing in Karachi, and who were from different communities of Muslims, Hindus and Parsis. In 1933, Mr. Jamshed Naserwanji was elected as the first Mayor of the city who had earlier served as elected President for about 20 years.
When Pakistan was declared as a separate country in 1947, Karachi was chosen as the Capital of Pakistan. During this period, the city offered shelter to a huge influx of migrants and refugees who came from the Indian province. In 1960, the capital of Pakistan was first moved to Rawalpindi and then to Islamabad. Still, Karachi never lost its importance as the economic centre of Pakistan. The Municipal Corporation of Karachi was upgraded to Metropolitan Corporation in 1976.
Still, Karachi is the role model city for Pakistan and it continues to grow with the current economic boom.
Images Courtesy of Old Karachi Facebook Page