British Era Madras Harbour, Postcard 1915

This is an old 1915 postcard of then British-era Madras Harbour. The image shows a vast harbour that has grown from what it was before. Madras, now Chennai was where the British Empire was first founded. It was the coveted spices and cloth that brought the British to the shores of Madras. The neighbourhood produced cheap and excellent muslins and printed calicos. The Portuguese had an established trading post at San Thome in Mylapore from 1522.

See older post San Thome Fort Madras – Antique Map 1757.

They had a good start with a stronghold on the spices and cotton goods trade. During the 16th century, there were difficulties in getting cotton fabrics and pepper. Because the Portuguese extracted an enormous profit on the goods in which they traded. Making them very expensive, British merchants got tired of it and decided to do something. A group of men in London got together and founded a company to trade in the East.

They obtained a charter from Queen Elizabeth, and that was the beginning of the famous East India Company, in the year 1600. By 1612, the East India Company started doing business in Surat (Gujarat). Later in 1616, they came round to the eastern side of India and opened up a factory at Masulipatam (Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh).

Francis Day and Andrew Cogan came further south to Madraspatnam (Chennai) and obtained a strip of land after negotiating a treaty with the Raja of Chandragiri. Francis Day proceeded to build a factory on this strip of land and enclosed it with a fortified wall. Thus the beginning of Fort St George and trading by the East India Company took root in 1639. Ships were anchored at sea and the passengers and goods were ferried by masula boats. It was only by 1861 that the iron screw pile pier came up. This simple screw pile pier metamorphosed into the major Port of Chennai, which is what it is today. Click on the photo for better view.

See post British Era Iron Pier Harbour Chennai – Photo 1870

Did you know- the British Parliament formally dissolved the East India Company in 1874.

From the collection-1964 M. Suriyamoorthy Charcoal Art Abstract (#17)., French India Colonial Bungalow With Punkah – Old Photo 1870

The images are of the actual items from my collection. And Not a photocopy, pirated, reproduced, stock photos, or taken from other sources.