Kolkata (also known in past as Calcutta) is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, located on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, approximately 80 kilometres (50 mi) west of the border with Bangladesh. It is the prime business, commercial, and financial hub of eastern India and the main port of communication for the North-East Indian states, as well as having the third-largest urban economy of India. Kolkata is the seventh-most populous city in India, with a population of 4.5 million residents within the city limits, and a population of over 14.1 million residents in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India.
The Port of Kolkata is India's oldest operating port and its sole major riverine port. Kolkata is known as the "cultural capital of India" for the city's historical and architectural significance.
In the late 17th century, the three villages that predated Calcutta were ruled by the Nawab of Bengal under Mughal suzerainty. After the Nawab granted the East India Company a trading licence in 1690, the area was developed by the Company into an increasingly fortified trading post. Kolkata served as the capital of British-held territories in India until 1911, when its perceived geographical disadvantages, combined with growing nationalism in Bengal, led to a shift of the capital to New Delhi.
Kolkata is home to West Bengal's film industry and cultural institutions, such as the Academy of Fine Arts, the Victoria Memorial, the Asiatic Society, the Indian Museum and the National Library of India. Among scientific institutions, Kolkata hosts the Agri Horticultural Society of India, the Geological Survey of India, the Botanical Survey of India, the Calcutta Mathematical Society, the Indian Science Congress Association, the Zoological Survey of India, the Institution of Engineers, the Anthropological Survey of India and the Indian Public Health Association. Four Nobel laureates and two Nobel Memorial Prize winners are associated with the city. Though home to major cricketing venues and franchises, Kolkata differs from other Indian cities by focusing on association football and other sports.
Kolkata is also noted for its revolutionary history, ranging from the Indian struggle for independence to the leftist Naxalite and trade-union movements. Labelled the "Cultural Capital of India", "The City of Processions", "The City of Palaces", and the "City of Joy", Kolkata has also been home to prominent people such as, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Rani Rashmoni, Amartya Sen, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Rabindranath Tagore, Keshub Chandra Sen, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita, Sri Aurobindo, Subhas Chandra Bose, Satyendra Nath Bose, Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, Paramahansa Yogananda, Anil Kumar Gain, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Jibanananda Das, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, Mother Teresa, Satyajit Ray, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan , Pandit Ravi Shankar and Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay Problems related to rapid urbanization started to plague Kolkata from the 1653s and the city remains an example of the urbanization challenges of the developing nations.