Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Surat

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SURAT, a town of India, Bombay presidency, capital of a district of the same name, on the left bank of the Tapti, about 20 miles above its mouth in the Gulf of Cambay. The town possesses few attractions, and consists of narrow winding streets lined with lofty houses. It contains several public buildings, including two hospitals, and an old castle or fortress now containing public offices. Surat was first heard of in 1512 as sacked by the Portuguese. The first English factory was established here in 1612, and 40 years later all the other possessions of the company were placed in subordination to it. In 1692 the seat of government was transferred to Bombay. Henceforth Surat became a bone of contention between the Mogul deputy and Mahratta invaders. In 1759 the English seized the castle; and in 1799, on the death of the last real nawab, themselves assumed the administration. In 1842 the titular dignity of Nawab of Surat also became extinct. Surat is still a considerable center of trade and minor manufactures. The organization of trade guilds is here highly developed. The chief exports are agricultural produce and cotton. Pop. about 115,000.