Baleshwar bə´lĭshwär˝, bä– [key] or Balasorebä´ləsôr [key], town (1991 pop. 101,829), Odisha (Orissa) state, E India, near the Bay of Bengal on the Burhabalang River. It was the first British settlement (1657) in what was then Bengal; French, Dutch, and Danish trading posts were established later. Goods were unloaded there for transport by boat to Bengal. Baleshwar was an important trade center for rice and salt in the 18th cent. The Dutch and Danish areas were ceded to Great Britain in 1846, but a French settlement remained until the French administration of Chandannagar was relinquished to the Indians in 1947. It is a district administrative center with trading in fish, hardware, and rice. There is also rice milling, fish curing, weaving, and a number of light manufactures. Baleshwar is linked by road and rail to Kolkata (Calcutta) and towns in the Odisha.

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