RATNAGIRI, a town and district of British India, in the southern division of Bombay. The town is on the seacoast, 1 3 6 m. S. of Bombay.. Pop. (1901) 16,094. A leading industry is the sardine fishery, which usually takes place in January and February, and engages fleets of canoes.
The District Of Ratnagiri has an area of 3998 sq. m. It forms a strip between the western Ghats and the sea, and its general character is rugged; nearly all the fertile land lies on the banks of the streams which intersect the country. The coast, about 150 m. in length, is almost uniformly rocky and dangerous. At intervals of about 10 m. a river or bay opens, sufficiently large to form a secure harbour for native craft, and the promontories at the, river mouths are almost invariably crowned with the ruins of an old fort. The rivers and creeks are generally navigable for about 20 m., and afford facilities for a coasting trade. At the beginning of British rule there were no roads, and traffic was confined to places where there was water carriage; but a network of roads has been made, opening communication by hill passes with the Deccan. Ratnagiri formed part of the dominions of the peshwa, and was annexed by the British government in 1818 on the overthrow of Baji Rao. In 1901 the population was 1,167,927, showing an increase of 6% in the decade. Ratnagiri is the home of the influential class of Chitpavan Brahmans. It also supplies factory hands to Bombay and sepoys to the native army.
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