Charnock, Job

Job Charnock

Charnock, Job (c1630-1692) was the founder of calcutta and one of the early dreamers of the British empire in India. Job Charnock joined the east india company as a junior merchant at the company's kasimbazar factory in 1658. He was the chief of the company's Hughli settlement when the Anglo-Mughal War of 1686-90 started. In the Bengal theatre of this war, the English were soon driven out and forced to wind up their businesses from Bengal and retire to Madras. But at the end of the war, Subahdar ibrahim khan, the successor of shaista khan|thumbnail|300px|right| invited them back to resume their businesses in Bengal.

Job Charnock negotiated with the subahdar on two major points. One was that the government must agree to the company’s proposal of shifting the English settlement from Hughli to Sutanuti. Secondly, the subahdar should favour the company with a farman permitting them to trade in Bengal duty free on payment of a fixed yearly tribute of Rs 3000. Subahdar Ibrahim Khan accepted both the suggestions. Job Charnock, as chief of the Bay Council, thus hoisted the English flag on the swamp-girdled site of Sutanuti on the banks of the Hughli River on 24 August 1690 and thus laid the foundation of the settlement, which was destined to grow into the city of Calcutta, the capital of British empire.

Charnock married a native girl whom he renamed Maria. According to a well-known story, Charnock rescued her from sati and married her. From Maria he had four daughters all of whom were married to European merchants living in Bengal. Charnock died in Calcutta on 10 January 1692. [Sirajul Islam]