Hooghly and Chinsurah was designed as a joint Municipality. Hooghly-Chuchura is a municipal town formed by the merging of two towns, Hugli and Chinsura, in 1865. The names are spelled in other ways including Hooghly, Hugli, Hughli, Ugulim (in Portuguese), Chinsura, Chunchura, Chuchro and Chinsurah.
Both Chinsurah and Hooghly played a role in the Bengal renaissance and the Indian independence movement. "Vande Mataram", India's national song, was composed by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay at Joraghat in Chinsurah, who had been an alumnus of the Hooghly Mohsin College . Nazrul Islam's revolutionary songs were penned while he was imprisoned by the British in Hooghly Jail.
The Portuguese founded the town of Hooghly-Chuchura, in 1579, but the district has thousands of years of heritage in the form of the great kingdom of Bhurshut. The city flourished as a trading port and some religious structures were built. One such structure is a church dedicated to a charismatic statue of the Mother Mary brought by the Portuguese.
In the 17th century, political disorder struck the city and the Mughal governor of Bengal expelled the Portuguese. The fleeing Portuguese lost the statue in the river, but local people later found it on the river bank. The arrested Portuguese were taken to Delhi where a death sentence of trampling by elephants was decreed. When the emperor Shah Jahan heard this he ordered the priests released and granted a piece of land on the bank of the river Hoogly where the statue of the Mother Mary was reestablished. There the Portuguese constructed a church to house the statue, which still receives pilgrims today. The church was renovated in 1980s and has been declared as a basilica by the authority of Rome.
In 1656 the Dutch erected a factory on the site of the town. In 1759 the garrison of Chinsurah, on its march to Chandernagore, attacked a British force under Colonel Forde. The Battle of Chinsurah lasted less than half an hour and ended with the rout of the Dutch attackers. In 1795, during the Napoleonic wars, a British garrison occupied the settlement. The peace of 1814 restored Hughli Chinsurah to the Dutch. However, in 1825, the Dutch ceded many of their possession in India to the British, in exchange for the British possessions in Sumatra.