1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Broach (city)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

BROACH, or BHARUCH, an ancient city and modern district of British India, in the northern division of Bombay. The city is on the right bank of the Nerbudda, about 30 m. from the sea, and 203 m. N. of Bombay. The area, including suburbs, occupies 2-1/6 sq. m. Pop. (1901) 42,896. The sea-borne trade is confined to a few coasting vessels. Handloom-weaving is almost extinct, but several cotton mills have been opened. There are also large flour-mills. Broach is the Barakacheva of the Chinese traveller Hsüan Tsang and the Barygaza of Ptolemy and Arrian. Upon the conquest of Gujarat by the Mahommedans, and the formation of the state of that name, Broach formed part of the new kingdom. On its overthrow by Akbar in 1572, it was annexed to the Mogul empire and governed by a Nawab. The Mahrattas became its masters in 1685, from which period it was held in subordination to the peshwa until 1772, when it was captured by a force under General Wedderburn (brother to Lord Loughborough), who was killed in the assault. In 1783 it was ceded by the British to Sindhia in acknowledgment of certain services. It was stormed in 1803 by a detachment commanded by Colonel Woodington, and was finally ceded to the East India Company by Sindhia under the treaty of Sarji Anjangaom.

The DISTRICT OF BROACH contains an area of 1467 sq. m. Consisting chiefly of the alluvial plain at the mouth of the river Nerbudda, the land is rich and highly cultivated, and though it is without forests it is not wanting in trees. The district is well supplied with rivers, having in addition to the Nerbudda the Mahi in the north and the Kim in the south. The population comprises several distinct races or castes, who, while speaking a common dialect, Gujarati, inhabit separate villages. Thus there are Koli, Kunbi or Voro (Bora) villages, and others whose lands are almost entirely held and cultivated by high castes, such as Rajputs, Brahmans or Parsees. In 1901 the population was 291,763, showing a decrease of 15%, compared with an increase of 5% in the preceding decade. The principal crops are cotton, millet, wheat and pulse. Dealing in cotton is the chief industry, the dealers being organized in a gild. Besides the cotton mills in Broach city there are several factories for ginning and pressing cotton, some of them on a very large scale. The district is traversed throughout its length by the Bombay & Baroda railway, which crosses the Nerbudda opposite Broach city on an iron-girder bridge of 67 spans. The district suffered severely from the famine of 1899-1900.