From its beginnings as a small east coast trading settlement, Calcutta became a city of palaces in the heyday of the Raj. Today it is recognised as the cultural capital of India.
In 1686 Job Charnock, chief of the East India Company's factory in Hooghly, looking for new factory sites, selected a group of three villages - Kalikata, Govindpur and Sutanuti - where Armenian and Portuguese traders had already settled. A factory was established in Kalikata on 24 August 1690, and Calcutta was born. A fort was built, named after King William I.