History of Pondicherry
Pondicherry is the French interpretation of the original name "Puducheri" meaning new settlement'. Pondicherry was part of the Pallava, the Chola and Pandya empires from the 4th to 14th century, and thereafter it became a part of the Vijayanagara Empire, followed by Islamic rule. Excavations at Arikamedu, about 7 kms to the south of the town, show that the Romans came here to trade in the 1st century AD. The trade included dyed textiles, pottery and semi-precious stones.
The establishment of trade in textiles by the Portuguese in 1521 and by the Dutch and the Danes in the 17th century attracted the French to establish a settlement in 1674.
Under Governors such as Francois Martin and Dupleix, it grew into a prominent fortified town and an important port of call. In 1746 the British lost Fort St. George in Madras to Dupleix, and retaliated by capturing Pondicherry in 1761 and razing the town to the ground, sparing only a few structures. However the Treaty of Paris returned Pondicherry to the French. The removal of fortifications led to flattened ramparts, which form the boulevards of Pondicherry today. The streets were laid in the form of grid with a storm water canal separating the Tamil and French Quarters. By 1768 much of the old town of Pondicherry, as we know it today, had been laid out and rebuilt on its former foundations.