- History

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Long the site of earlier coastal settlements, Madras was founded in 1639 when the British East India Company (represented by Francis Day and Andrew Cogan and aided by a local translator Beri Thimappa) was granted land to build a trading settlement by the local Telugu ruler (Nayak) of the suburb of Vandavasi, Damerla Venkatapathy Naidu on his father's name Damerla Chennappa Naidu. The document of the land grant is dated 22 August 1639, and hence Madras celebrates its birthday on 22 August each year as Madras day. Madras was one of the first outposts of British East India Company. Colonel William Lambton, superintendent of the great Trigonometrical Survey of India, started his journey of triangulating India from St. Thomas Mount. The British built Fort St. George (today the legislative and administrative seat of the state). Fort St George was completed on St George's day in 1640 (23 April) and hence was named after the patron saint. George Town then developed becoming the modern city of Madras, absorbing several nearby boroughs. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, is associated with Chennai. He is said to have come to India as an evangelist and died in what is now Chennai.

Madras is derived from Madraspatnam, a name given to the area when the British negotiated settling there with Damerla Venkatapathy Nayakudu. Chennappa served under Sriranga Deva Raya assisting him against the Golkonda forces of Ibrahim Qutb Shah in several battles,notably in 1576 when Penukonda was captured by Ali Adil Shah and in 1579 when he captured the Golkonda Commander Murari Rao.

In 1580, Ibrahim Qutb Shah of Golkonda invaded Kondavidu. Later he took the Udayagiri Fort and began to massacre the locals. However he was defeated after a brief fight with the Raya's army. Qutb Shah later took the fort of Vinukonda. Sriranga defeated the Sultan's forces with the assistance of his generals muthuraja Chennappa[damarla was his surname] and Kasturiranga. During this fight, Chennappa lost his life. He was succeeded by Kasturiranga. When East India Company was established the St.George fort in the present day Chennai, for which the permission was granted by Damarla Venkatadri Nayakudu,the local palegar of that area ,under the condition that area is to be named in the honour of his father Muthuraja chennapa nayakudu as muthuraja chennapatanam.The East India Company in brief named the area as madras[madras is a corrupt form of muthuraj].In earlier days this area was called as madraspattanam and also chennapatnam. Later Govt. of Tamil Nadu renamed it as Chennai.

Under the British, the then city of Madras grew to be a major city, It was the capital of the Madras presidency, a province that covered the parts of Southern India that were not governed by any of the other princely states.

 

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