PONDICHERRY, the capital of the French possessions in India, situated on the Coromandel or western coast, 122 m. by rail S. of Madras. The territory, which is entirely surrounded by the British district of South Arcot, has an area of 115 sq. m. with a population (1901) of 174,456. The chief crops are dry grains, rice, earth-nuts and a little indigo. The territory is traversed by a branch of the South Indian railway from Villapuram. The town has a population of 27,448. It is well laid out with fine public buildings; the water-supply is derived from artesian wells. It has an open roadstead, with a small iron pier. The port is visited yearly by 500 vessels, and has trade of the value of about some 1,300,000. The principal imports are areca-nuts, wines and liqueurs, and the chief exports groundnuts, oil, cotton fabrics and rice. Of the export trade more than one-half is with France, but of the import trade only onefourth. The weaving of various fabrics forms the principal industry.
Pondicherry was founded in 1683 by Francois Martin, on the site of a village given him by the governor of Gingee. In 1693 the Dutch took Pondicherry, but restored it, with the fortifications greatly improved, in 1697, at the peace of Ryswick. In 1748 Admiral Boscawen laid siege to. it without success, but in 1761 it was taken by Colonel Coote from Lally. In 1763 it was restored to the French. In 1778 it was again taken by Sir Hector Munro, and its fortifications destroyed. In 1783 it was retransf erred to the French, and in 1793 recaptured by the English. The treaty of Amiens in 1802 restored it to the French, but it was retaken in 1803. In 1816 it was finally restored to the French.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)