The Iron Pier Harbour British Era Madras, 1915 Postcard
A 1915 postcard of the Iron Pier Harbour in British-era Madras (Chennai). The harbour consisted of an iron pier encircled with a protective concrete pontoon. Although it has grown into a huge harbour today to what it was as shown in the image. Madras was where the British Empire was first formed. It was the coveted spices and cloth that attracted the British and other colonists to its shores. The region produced cheap and excellent muslin cloth and printed calicos. The Portuguese had an established trading post at San Thome in Mylapore from 1522.
The Portuguese had a good start with a stronghold on the spice 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 banded together and formed a company to trade in the East.
In 1600 they obtained a charter from Queen Elizabeth, and that was the beginning of the famous East India Company. By 1612, the East India Company started doing business in Surat (Gujarat). Later in 1616, they came around 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 was constructed. This simple screw pile pier metamorphosed into a major port today.
Did you know- the British Parliament formally dissolved the East India Company in 1874.
The images are of the actual items from my collection. And Not a photocopy, pirated, reproduced, stock photos, or taken from other sources.