Blast From The Past – July 17, 1996: When Madras Globally Declared As Chennai: In order to carry out the legacy of the colonial rule, the trend of the renaming cities in India begins in 1947 following the end of the British imperial period.
Over the years, this is turn to be a matter of linguistic pride to rename cities in the vernacular rather than carry out the English names which were given by the earlier and the previous colonial administrator’s left cities with.
22 years ago, on July 17, 1996, M Karunanidhi, then the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, declared that from then on Madras would be recognized globally as Chennai.
The word and the name ‘Chennai’ is said to be derived from Chennaipattanam, a small town near Fort St George, in 1639, built by the British.
In an interview to Rediff dot com, JBP More, the Historian says, before 1639, there was no Madras. Villages like Mylapore, Tiruvallikeni, Tiruvanmiyur existed. There is no mention of Madras or Chennai in the official records and also in the travel diaries of Arab, Portuguese, Dutch, English and French travelers.
Blast From The Past – July 17, 1996: When Madras Globally Declared As Chennai:
Madraspattinam was located in Tondaimandalam and this place was ruled by the Cholas, Pallavas, Pandiyas and the Vijaynagar Empire.
The European traders built a port in the area, in around 1522, and named it Sao Tome. The Europeans were followed by the Dutch, and eventually, Dutch established their base in 1612.
In 1639, the British purchased a piece of land and build a fort and set up a factory and a warehouse for trading. The land was situated between rivers Cooum and the Elambore. The fort was named St George and the place was known as the settlement area of British factory workers, merchants, and others. In the next decade, the fort had over 19,000 inhabitants.
The settlement soon regarded as the White Town or the Fort St George settlement. The Indian settlement was separated by a wall that was REGARDED AS THE ‘Black Town’. The East India Company used to completely control the trade in the area.
Anyway, Over the years the city grew bigger and turn out to be one of the metro city of India.
Fast forward to the 90s
On the fateful day of July 17, 1996, M Karunanidhi, then the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, declared that from then on Madras would globally recognize as Chennai. The name ‘Chennai’ is reported, taken from Chennaipattanam, a small town near Fort St George, built by the British in 1639.
The town Chennai is in the current scenario the largest exporter of IT and IT-enabled services in the whole nation. The city has over the years seen a plenty of development and progress in healthcare, automobile sector, entertainment industry and art and culture.
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