Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. According to the 2011 Indian census, it is the seventh most populous city in India; the city had a population of 4.5 million, while the suburb population brought the total to 14.1 million, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India. Kolkata Megalopolis is the area surrounding Kolkata Metropolitan city with additional population. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River approximately 80 kilometres west of the border with Bangladesh, it is the principal commercial, cultural and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India's oldest operating port and its sole major riverine port. The city nicknamed the "City of Joy" is widely regarded as the "cultural capital" of India and as of 2019, six Nobel Laureates have been associated with the city.
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.