History: The region around Chennai has served as an important administrative, military, and economic centre for many centuries..
The Portuguese first arrived in 1522 and built a port called São Tomé after the Christian apostle, St. Thomas, who is believed to have preached in the area between 52 and 70 AD. In 1612, the Dutch established themselves near Pulicat, north of Chennai. On 22 August 1639, which is referred to as Madras Day, the British East India Company bought a small strip of land on the Coromandel Coast. They got a license to build a fort and a castle in the contracted region. The ruler Damarla Chennappa Nayakudu, the Nayaka of Vandavasi, granted the British permission to build a factory and warehouse for their trading enterprises. The region was then primarily a fishing village known as "Madraspatnam". A year later, the British built Fort St. George, the first major British settlement in India, which became the nucleus of the growing colonial city In 1746, Fort St. George and Madras were captured by the French under General La Bourdonnais, the Governor of Mauritius, who plundered the town and its outlying villages. The British regained control in 1749 through the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle and strengthened the town's fortress wall to withstand further attacks from the French and Hyder Ali, the Sultan of Mysore. By the late 18th century, the British had conquered most of the region around Tamil Nadu and the northern modern–day states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, establishing theMadras Presidency with Madras as the capital.
Gradually, the city grew into a major naval base and became the central administrative center for the British in South India. With the advent of railways in India in the 19th century, the thriving urban centre was connected to other important cities such as Bombay and Calcutta, promoting increased communication and trade with the hinterland. Sir Arthur Lawley was Governor of Madras from 1906 to 1911 and promoted... [continues]
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