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A boarded window in one of the abandoned buildings in Fort St George, Chennai

Fort St. George is the name of the first English fortress in India, founded in 1644 at the coastal city of Madras, the modern city of Chennai. The construction of the fort provided the impetus for further settlements and trading activity, in what was originally an uninhabited land.

The East India Company, which had entered India around 1600 for trading activities, had begun licensed trading at Surat, which was its initial bastion. However, to secure its trade lines and commercial interests in the spice trade, it felt the necessity of a port closer to the Malaccan Straits, and succeeded in purchasing a piece of coastal land, originally called Chennirayarpattinam or Channapatnam, from a Vijayanagar chieftain named Damerla Chennappa Nayaka based in Chandragiri, where the Company began the construction of a harbour and a fort.

The fort was completed on 23 April 1644, coinciding with St. George's Day, celebrated in honour of the patron saint of England. The fort, hence christened Fort St. George, faced the sea and some fishing villages, and it soon became the hub of merchant activity. It gave birth to a new settlement area called George Town (historically referred to as Black Town), which grew to envelop the villages and led to the formation of the city of Madras. It also helped to establish English influence over the Carnatic and to keep the kings of Arcot and Srirangapatna, as well as the French forces based at Pondicherry, at bay.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10627 W: 63 N: 29872] (130967)
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