History Of Puducherry

Puducherry, formerly known as Pondicherry, gained its significance as “The French Riviera of the East” after the advent of the French colonialization in India. Puducherry is the Tamil interpretation of “new town” and mainly arrived from “Poduke” , the name of the marketplace as the “Port town” for Roman trading, way back in 1st century as mentioned in the ‘The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea’. The settlement was once an abode of many learned scholars as evidently versed in the Vedas, hence also known as Vedapuri.

The history of Puducherry can broadly be classified in two periods- Pre Colonial period and Colonial Period. The Pre Colonial period started with the reign of the Pallavas who continued to rule the empire from 325 A.D. – 900 A.D., then came the Chola dynasty for the time period from 900 A.D. – 1279 A.D., continued by Pandya Dynasty from 1279 A.D. -1370 A.D. During 14th Century, it was under the rule of the Naikship of Gingee denoting the Vijayanagar Empire from 1370 A.D. – 1614 A.D which was conquered by the Sultan of Bijapur and he continued for the phase from 1614 A.D. - 1638 A.D. It was during the period of the Sultan when the Portuguese and Danish merchants used the place as the trading center.

The colonial period started with Portuguese as they were the first Europeans to trade in textile in 1521 and subsequently with the Dutch and the Danes in the 17th century.

The prospering trade of Puducherry attracted the French and the predominant feature of the town was laid by the French pioneer Francois Martin in the form of a French settlement in 1674 A.D. In 1693, Puducherry was captured by the Dutch but restored in 1699 A.D. subsequently with the Treaty of Ryswick.

The French acquired Mahe in 1720, Yanam in 1731, and Karaikal in 1738. The British captured the city from the French but returned it following the Treaty of Paris in 1763. This Anglo- French war continued until 1814 A.D., when finally France had the control over the settlements of Puducherry, Mahe, Yanam, Karaikal and Chandernagar even during the British period until 1954. It was a reign of one hundred and thirty eight years under French and finally on 31st October, 1954, they left the Indian shores following De Facto transfer of power.

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