French Colonial History

From French Pondicherry to Indian Puducherry

Pondicherry’s history is tightly linked with the trade that starting flourishing in the 17th century. The “Compagnie des Indes Orientales”, the French answer to the East India Company, was founded in 1664 and given the approval to trade with India by the French King Louis XIV.

The first settlement was a factory located in Surat, followed by loges in Tellichery and Calicut on the Malabar coast. The Pondicherry « comptoir » became the central point of the French presence in India from 1675 on. A port was built, and the population increased to reach 20.000 people.

The governor Dupleix ruled the city from 1742 to 1756, oscillating between periods of prosperity as well as wars, which led to the destruction of the city in 1761. From then on, the city went through several changes of power, between the Dutch and the British, but it was always for a fairly short period of time, and the French were always the central influence until 1954.