History of Pondicherry(Puducherry)
Peeping into history of Pondicheery one will be aware of the fact
that human habitation of this union territory of India can be traced
quite a long back in history. The numerous views about origin of
Pondicherry say that this place was initially famous by the name of
Vedapuri and Agastya, the saint used to live here. In fact it would
be interesting to note that some French archaeologists consider that
the ashram of Agastaya was situated, today where Sri Aurobindo
Ashram stands. Another fact that makes the history of the
Pondicherry interesting is the existence of business relation. The
evidence of Ancient port town excavated at Arikamendu proves this
Historians consider the history of Pondicherry is the cradle of
numerous civilizations. Ancient, medieval and modern are the three
distinct section of history of Pondicherry. Talking about the
ancient history of Pondicherry, the written documents say that it
was under the dominance of Pallava dynasty, well known as mighty
rulers. Archaeological excavations show that Pondicherry is an
eyewitness to the rise and fall of many dynasties. As we have
already mentioned the fact that ancient Pondicherry have been able
to develop trading relations with Roman Empire through sea.
Historians say that this region was the flourishing and popular
maritime centre of the country.
In the fourth century Pondicherry came under the reign of Pallava
kingdom. Academically, Pondicherry flourished during this reign as
the reference of Sanskrit University can be found in Bahur Plates.
The inscriptions of Vedhapuriswara temple imply that Agastya founded
his ashram in Pondicherry region.
The medieval history of Pondicherry saw the rise and fall of many
royal dynasties. The Pallavas had a good influence on region and was
on continuous conflict with Pandyas and Cholas who in the mean time
followed them in reign of the Pondicherry region. In medieval age
the Chola dynasty was the first who set up their empire in
Pondicherry. After the decline of the Chola dynasty the Pandayas
came in thirteenth century and ruled till fifteenth century. An
interesting fact about Pondicherry’s medieval period is that it
witnessed the rule of Muslim period even for a brief period of time.
Socio-economic situation was very much affected due to rise and fall
of numerous empires.
While talking about the modern history of Pondicherry the influence
of the foreign countries increased in Pondicherry in the beginning
of 16th century. The reason that foreign countries found Pondicherry
attractive was the potential of the site as an access point to the
east coast of India. They realised this fact when they had
participated and enjoyed in maritime activities. So, Portuguese,
Dutch, Danes and English arrived to set up colonies in Pondicheery.
The commerce and the economy of Pondicherry were highly benefited
because of the presence of the foreign countries. The credit of
setting the first factory in Pondicherry goes to the Portuguese that
was built in early 16th century. Following this the Dutch and Danes
formed trading centres in Cuddalore and Novo.
The French set their foot in Pondicherry when the ruler of Gingee
started to have trade relations with them. By 1643 Pondicherry came
under French control and remained for quite a long time. During this
period Pondicheery saw the conflict between British and the French
and ended after British recognized French supremacy in 1814. The
French domination continued till then.
Under the effect of French rule, the architecture of Pondicherry
flourished a lot. Forts and churches that stand in the area are the
evidence of this foreign influence. The conflict to control this
place contributed in shaping Pondicherry’s modern history and
continued till this place gained independence to be listed in Union
territory of India in 1954.