Kanpur is a major industrial city located in the central-western part of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Kanpur, founded in 1207 AD, has become one of the most important commercial and military stations in India since British rule. Kanpur is also the financial capital of Uttar Pradesh. Located on the banks of the Ganges River, Kanpur is a major financial and industrial center of northern India and also has the ninth largest urban economy in the country. India is famous for its colonial architecture, gardens, parks and fine quality leather and textile products which are mainly exported to the West. It is the 12th most densely populated city and the 11th most populous urban agglomeration in India. Kanpur was an important British garrison town till 1947. When India got independence, its cosmopolitan form appeared. The urban district of Kanpur Nagar serves as the headquarters of Kanpur Division, Kanpur Range and Kanpur Zone.


The industrial city had journeyed from Kanhiyapur to Kanpur in last 210 years. March 24 has its own significance in the history of the city as it has crawled from small military village to one of the biggest districts of the country. As per few reports & documents, the city was said to be established on March 24, 1803. Nestled on the banks of rivers Ganges, Kanpur now stands tall as one of the major industrial centres of north India.

"Believed to have been founded by King Hindu Singh Chandel of the erstwhile state of Sachendi, the present Kanpur was initially named as Kanhiyapur. In the course of time, Kanhiyapur was abbreviated as Kanhapur and journeyed a long way to get the name: Kanpur," historian SP Singh points out.
Old references also show that this name is derived from Karnapur and is associated with Karna, one of the heroes of Mahabharata. Till the first half of the 18th century, Kanpur continued to survive as a collection of several small military villages. In May 1765, Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab Wazir of Awadh, was defeated by the Britishers near Jajmau.
It was probably then that the strategic importance of Kanpur dawned on Britishers, who also gave a new name to this place as Cawnpoor in 1770. After the advancements and establishments of European businessmen, the city emerged with various names and cultures.
Kanpur came under the British Rule by the treaty of 1801 with Nawab Saadat Ali Khan of Awadh. In the meanwhile, it got a new name by Britishers as 'Caunpour' in 1776. This forms a turning point in the history of Kanpur. "The first two spellings were changed to Caunpore and Cawnpour in 1785 and 1788 respectively. Cawnpore was the name given to the city by Britishers in 1788," said another historian Vinod Tondon and descendant of Lala Thanthi Mal, one of first settlers in the city.
Soon after this, Kanpur became one of the most important military stations of British India with a new name as Kawnpore in 1790. After this, the city witnessed many changes in its name, geographical area and culture. Later, Cawnpore was declared as a district on March 24,1803. The spelling of the city had changed 11 times before Independence.
After 1857, the development of Kannpur (present Kanpur) was even more phenomenal. The city was abbreviated with Caawnpore in 1879, which after several spelling changes becomes Kanpur. Kanpur Diwas was celebrated at UP Stock Exchange where historical and cultural significance of the city was discussed. The event was attended by KD Gupta, Chairman, UP Stock Exchange; Acharya Ramkrishna Telang, LM Behl and others.


Under the British raj (1858–1947), Kanpur grew significantly because of its industrialization and central location. It is the second most populous city in Uttar Pradesh, after Lucknow, and its urban agglomeration is among the largest in India. It is an important road and rail hub and has an airport for domestic flights. The city is a major commercial and industrial centre and is especially renowned for its leather industry, which includes some of the world’s largest tanneries. The central part of the city lies northwest of India’s largest cantonment; most of its industry is still farther northwest. The urban area also includes three railway colonies and Armapur, a suburb. There is a military airfield nearby. Kanpur has a university; colleges of medicine, law, and education; the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (established 1959). Notable buildings include a sacred Hindu glass temple and Kamla Retreat, a rest house on a small lake. There are several museums. The surrounding region is a fertile stretch of alluvial plain between the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. It is watered by tributaries of the two rivers and by the Lower Ganges Canal. Crops include wheat, gram (chickpeas), jowar (grain sorghum), and barley. There are mango and mahua groves and a dhak forest. Bithur, a historic town on the Ganges just to the north of Kanpur, is a Hindu holy place; the region contains many small temples built between the 6th and 9th centuries.

Development Of Modern Industry:

The modern industrial development in Kanpur began first with the establishment of a Government leather factory and some textile mills during the sixties of the last century. The modern industrial development over a period of a century can be divided into three major periods of growth. The first and the early period started from I860 with the establishment of the East India railway. During this period the industrial growth owes entirely to European enterprises. The Government Harness and Saddlery factory was the first large manufacturing enterprise to be set up in I860 followed by Elgin and Muir textile mills in 1864 and 1874 respectively.
The Cawnpore Woollen Mills, the largest in India established in 1878. Cooper Allen & Co., for the manufacturing of boots and shoes in 1880, the Cawnpore Cotton Mills in 1882. The Cawnpore Sugar Works in 1894. The Cawnpore Brush Company in 1896 and the North-Western Tannery in 1900 The second period of industrial growth was mainly The associated with the boom of the First and/Second World Wars. Besides two new Government ordnance factories, about twelve new textile mills and some leather factories sprang up in this. New lines in the existing industries were also
adopted in response to the war needs. Thus a few jute and iron mills and chemical works were also opened. The special feature of this period of industrial growth was the active participation of the Indian businessmen. The third or the post-Independence period witnessed a fairly rapid development of industry, but of small size factory industries. During the last two decades besides one major
factory, the J.K. Rayons, a number of small factories for the manufacturing of leather-goods, paints, glasswares, chemicals and small machinery were established in the town.

Development Of Education in Kanpur

According to the earliest report available, there were only three schools at Kanpur in 1845 including two runs by the Christian missionaries, and had on the roll 345 pupil. Kanpur did not have any college until 1896, in which year the Christchurch school was raised to the status of a college. Great efforts have been made in this century to improve the level of education in the city. They have resulted in the creation of 205 infant and primary schools, 86 secondary schools and 14 degree colleges in the city. The present colleges include two for teachers training and a college of law. There are a number of technical institutes in Kanpur for the professional degree, training and research. In 1965 an University was also opened at Kanpur aka Kanpur university later called as Chhatrapati sahuji maharaj university. Few other institutions came into existence like Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Chandrasekhar azad agriculture university, Harcourt Butler Technical Institute, National Sugar institute and Indian Institute of pulses research.


The country’s Independence brought about a complete change in the outlook of the Government and people towards industrialization. In order to achieve the objective of planned economic development and rapid industrialization, the state began to assume greater responsibility. The industrial act of 1951 attempted to control every facet of the industrial field. Three Five-Year Plans have been taken up since with greater emphasis upon industrial development. Under a scheme for more expansion of small engineering industries, a large industrial estate was also set up at Kanpur by the State Government during the Third Plan period (1961-66). During First and Second Plan periods (1951-56 & 1956-61), the role of the State Government has been largely confined to providingbig loans to the existing private industries for their expansion and also for the development of some new ones. Beside many small concerns, a big rayon textile mill and a factory for the manufacture of textile machinery came into existence at Kanpur during this period by a large loan from the Government. Many other medium and small sized industries have come up solely through the efforts of private enterprise.

Engineering And Chemical Industry:

Immediately after Independence, the engineering industry made considerable advances. M/S Singh Engineering Works are the fore-runners in this field. During the Third Plan, a gigantic enterprise, the Singh Wagon Factory, near the Panki Power Station was established by them. A super phosphate factory by Rallies (India) Ltd. came into existence during the Second Plan period. In the Fourth Plan/fertilizer factory is envisaged in collaboration with the Imperial Chemical Industries of England.

The Defence Industry:

The defence industry in the public sector has come to occupy a prominent place in Kanpur. Besides the old Harness Factory, the Ordnance and Small Arms Factory and a Parachute Factory, were established during the Second World War, another addition has been the establishment of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. for the manufacture of small aeroplanes (AVRO-748) near Chakeri Aerodrome. An aluminium alloy factory has also been planned to be set up in Kanpur to supply necessary alloy material to Hindustan Aeronautics. The defence factories have been a source of large employment opportunity at Kanpur. During the Chinese and Pakistani conflicts in 1962 and 1965 respectively, defence industries were well engaged in producing all sorts of defence requirements. Again, shortage of many articles due to import and transport difficulties created the necessity and opportunity to produce them locally. A number of chemical and engineering works in Kanpur are the outcome of such conditions.