In April 1785 Thomas and William (14 years old) embarked on the ship Atlas bound for China, and they reached India in 1786. Daniell stayed at Calcutta for ca. 10 years and when he returned to London he published his largest work "Oriental Scenery". He continued to publish beautifully illustrated color plate books with Oriental themes.
Although Calcutta's official birthday is August 28, 1690, the city's environs date back to nearly two thousand years ago, when Tamralipti, now known as Tamluk, was a thriving port of the Gupta Empire, trading with the whole of South East Asia. Tamralipti was the starting point of the southwestern silk route that passed through Bengal and Assam and Burma before ending in the Yunnan province of China.
After the decline of the Gupta Empire, Bengal was ruled successively by the Pala and Sena dynasties. Tamralipti, the center of all maritime activity of a kingdom that thrived on foreign trade, continued to develop into a cosmopolitan city. Tamralipti's decline began after Bengal fell to the Sultanate of Delhi in the twelfth century. The new ruling class from Central Asia obviously had little exposure to the sea and was poor seafarers.
In spite of the decline, Tamralipti survived at least until the fifteenth century, the Ming Emperor's fleet led by Admiral Zheng He, called on Tamralipti, in order to strengthen trade relations with Bengal. By the sixteenth century Tamralipti was subject to excessive silting and the new traders from Europe began seeking other sites.
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