Mal: കൊച്ചി kōccī
‘Short Estuary’ [Kochchi, Cochym, Cochin] City/District, Kerala.
From Mal: koccu, ‘short’, ‘small’; Mal/Tam: aḻi ‘rivermouth’, ‘place where the lagoon joins the sea’, ‘inlet to backwater’.
Kochi is a port city with traditional links to trade with the Middle East and Persian Gulf earning it the sobriquet ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’.
Geographically, Kochi forms a relatively narrow channel where the backwater lagoon joins the Arabian Sea and the city is actually a collection of islands and peninsulas.
In 1341 there were floods in Kerala caused by excess silt in the run-off from the Western Ghats range of mountains. This caused a sudden shift in the flow of the Periyar river inundating the ancient Muziris port and creating Kochi’s natural harbour. This cataclysm secured a new status for Kochi at the expense of the old port whose only remains are at Kodungallur and Cranganore Fort.
The Portuguese first settled here in 1500. And until 1663, Fort Kochi (Fort Emmanuel) was ruled by Portugal and then by the Dutch. The Dutch swapped Fort Kochi with the British in 1814 for an island in Indonesia.
Kochi is Kerala’s financial and commercial capital. It is also its most modern and prosperous city.