History of Gujarat
Surat
In the beginning of the Sixteenth Century, Portuguese took over the possession of Surat port. They robbed the city and destroyed the splendour. To save from the attacks of the Portuguese, Khwaja Safar Salmani, the Governor of Surat, constructed a new, strong, high and large fort in the place of the small old fort in 1540 A. D., which is existing near the Hope Bridge of Tapi river even today. Mughal Emperor Akbar himself came here to conquer Surat and after the siege of one and a half months he took possession of Surat fort in February 1573 after one and half months of siege, in February – 1573, he took the possession over the fort of Surat.

During the Mughal era, there was a great increase in population, area, trade relations and prosperity of Surat. It became the chief international port of Western India. Ships going to Mecca were starting from Surat only. Today that place is known as Makkai Pul. The British founded their first Central Office in Surat in 1613 A. D. After that, the Dutch, the French and the Armenians also came. Their graveyards are near Katargam Gate. A grand and large Muslim Caravanserai was built for the convenience of the Muslims going to and coming from Mecca in 1644, which is now used as main office of the Surat Municipal Corporation and its surrounding area is know as Mugalisara.

There were multi millionaires like Virji Vora, Krishna Arjun Travadi, Atmaram Bhukhan, etc. during Mughal era in Surat. Surat port was used for going to Mecca. Many ships of various countries were coming here for trading so it was said that flags of Choryasi port were waving here. There was a mint opposite Kurja, where golden and silver coins were minted. In the period of Aurangzeb, Surat was given to his sister Jahan Ara as a reward ( Jagir ). The area where she was living is today known as Begumwadi and Begumpura.

The prosperity and splendour of Surat of the Mughal era declined during the Maratha period. The formal power of Marathas was not established on Surat, but Shivaji plundered it in 1644 and in 1678, twice to collect ‘Choth’ ( one-fourth of revenue paid as tribute ). The British shifted their head quarter to Mumbai from Surat on finding Surat insecure. Then after, Mumbai was developed. Many merchants from Surat also shifted to Mumbai.
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