Nagapattinam

Nagapattinam District is a coastal district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The town of Nagapattinam is the district headquarters. As of 2011, the district had a population of 1,616,450 with a sex-ratio of 1,025 females for every 1,000 males. It is the only discontiguous district in Tamil Nadu

Nagapattinam is derived from Nagar, referring to people from Sri Lanka who settled here, and pattinam referring to town.The town was also called Cholakula Vallipattinam during the Chola period, when it was one of the important ports. Ptolemy refers to Nagapattinam as Nikam and mentions it as one of the most important trade centres of the ancient Tamil country.This view is doubtful as there are no contemporary evidences to prove the existence of the town as a metropolis in the name of “Nikama” or “Nikam”.Nagapattinam was referred to by early writers and the Portuguese as “the city of Coromandel”.Appar and Tirugnanasambandar, the 7th-century saint poets refer the city as Nagai in their verses in Tevaram. The town was originally called “Nagai”; the word Pattinam was attached during the Chola era when the town emerged as an important port.

There are urn burials in and around the city from the Sangam period indicating some level of human habitation.The neighbouring port, Kaveripoompattinam (modern day Poompuhar), was the capital of the Chola kingdom of the Sangam Age, referred widely in Tamil scriptures like Paṭṭiṉappālai.The early works of Tevaram by the 7th-century poets Appar and Sambandar mention the town had fortified walls, busy roads buildings and a busy port.The inscriptions from the Kayarohanswami temple indicate the construction was initiated during the reign of the Pallava king, Narasimha Pallava II (691 – 729 CE).A Buddhist pagoda was built under Chinese influence by the Pallava king and town was frequented by Buddhist travellers.Thirumangai Azhwar, the 9th century vaishnavite saint poet, is believed to have stolen the golden Buddha statue to fund the Ranganthaswamy Temple at Srirangam; the authenticity of the theory is questionable.In the 11th century CE, Chudamani Vihara, a Buddhist monastery was built by Javanese king Sri Vijaya Soolamanivarman with the patronage of Raja Raja Chola.Nagapattinam was the prominent port of Cholas for trade and conquering gateway to the east.

In the early 16th century the Portuguese started commercial contacts with the town and established a commercial centre in 1554 CE. The Portuguese also conducted missionary enterprise in the town.In 1658, the Dutch established an agreement between King Vijaya Nayakkar of Thanjavur on 5 January 1662. Ten villages were transferred from the Portuguese to the Dutch – Nagappattinam Port, Puthur, Muttam, Poruvalancheri, Anthanappettai, Karureppankadu, AzhingiMangalam, Sangamangalam, Thiruthinamangalam, Manjakollai, Nariyankudi. Ten Christian churches and a hospital were built by the Dutch. They also released coins with the name Nagappattinam engraved in Tamil letters. As per agreement between the first Maratta King Egoji of Thanjavur and the Dutch, Naagappattinam and surrounding villages were handed over to the Dutch on 30 December 1676. In 1690, the capital Dutch Coromandel changed from Pulicat to Nagapattinam.

This town fell into the hands of the British in 1781 after the two naval battles between British and French fleets were fought off the coast of Negapatam, as it was then known: the first in 1758 as part of the Seven Years’ War and the second in 1782 as part of the American Revolutionary War. The town was taken by the British from the Dutch in 1781 (who had been formally brought into the war in 1780).When the Dutch and British reached a peace agreement in 1784, Nagapattinam was formally ceded to the British. 277 villages with Nagore as the headquarters were handed over to the East India Company.

From 1799 to 1845 CE Nagapttinam was the headquarters of Tanjore district.Nagapattinam and Nagore were incorporated as a single municipality in 1866 CE.The town remained one of the chief ports to the Madras Presidency. The port suffered decline after the inclusion of Tranquebar and Tuticorin. Nagapattinam was one of the regions severely affected by the tsunami which followed the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

The district of Nagapattinam lies on the shores of the Bay of Bengal between latitude 10.7906°N and Longitude 79.8428°E an area of 2,715 square kilometres (1,048 sq mi).The District capital, Nagapattinam lies on the eastern coast, 350 kilometers down south of the State capital Chennai and of Tiruchirappalli. It has an average elevation of 9 metres (30 ft) above the mean sea level.The district has a coastline of 187 kilometres (116 mi).