Puducherry (Pondicherry)

Tam: புதுச்சேரி putuccēri

‘New Town’  

From Tam: put(h)u, ‘new’; and Tam: c(h)ēri ‘town, village, settlement’.

The French East India Company established a trading post here in 1674 and the French retained control until the formal transfer of power in 1962 when Pondicherry became a Union Territory of India.

Under the governorship of Joseph François Dupleix from 1741 French ambitions in India were at their height: it seemed almost possible that the French would win a race to establish an empire in India. But Dupleix’s schemes failed to win support and funding from his masters in Paris. At its peak the French governed Chandernagore, Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanaon and their surrounding regions, and controlled vast swathes of territory in between thanks to a complex networks of alliances with local rulers. Dupleix’s clash with Robert Clive ultimately put an end to whatever hopes he may have had. He was dismissed in 1754 and summoned to Paris.

This marked the the end of the French ambitions in India with the exception of a few ‘islands’ of territory which remained French. Pondicherry was the capital and one of the five comptoirs of French India which also included: Chandernagore (now Chandannagar, a city in the Hooghly district, West Bengal), Mahé (in Kerala), Karaikal (Tamil Nadu), and Yanam (in Andhra Pradesh). Apart from Chandannagar, these former French enclaves are now part of Puducherry U.T.

The Origin Story of India's States

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