Occupied by the Portuguese in 1503, Fort Kochi was the first European colonial settlement in India. It remained the capital of Portuguese India until 1530 제주감성민박 till they opted for Goa as their capital. This Portuguese period was a harrowing time for the Jews living in the region, as the Inquisition was active in Portuguese India. The time during which Cochin was under the Portuguese rule is very interesting. It is said admiral, Pedro Cabral was sent by the Portuguese king to set up a factory at the city. The Raja of Cochin succumbed to the demand of the admiral predominantly to negate the Zamorins.
Who ruled the Malabar region. Zamorins were the dominant power in the region and was constantly breathing down the neck of the King of Raja for political influence within the Kochi Kingdom. With the arrival of Vasco Da Gama, peace was made with the Zamorins after which the Portuguese built Fort Manuel to protect their factory from any sort of attack. Once the Portuguese shifted their capital to Goa, their strategic intent shifted from Kerala and was centered on it.
The Portuguese rule was followed by that of the Dutch, who had allied with the Zamorins in order to conquer Kochi. The Dutch rule over Cochin lasted from 1663 to 1795. They defeated the Portuguese and disposed the Cochin Raja. After landing confidently at Njarakal, they went on to seize the Pallipuram fort, which they later gave to the Zamorins.
Cochin prospered under the Dutch rule by shipping pepper, cardamom and other spices, coir, coconut, and copper. In between by 1773, Kochi has slipped into the hands of the Mysore King Hyder Ali extended his conquest in the Malabar region and briefly forced Kochi to become a tributary of Mysore. Later the authority was recaptured by the Dutch. They fearing an outbreak of war on the United Provinces signed the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 with the United Kingdom, under which Kochi was ceded to the United Kingdom in exchange for the island of Bangka.
However, there are evidences of English habitation in the region even prior to the signing of the treaty. The port city of Cochin had become highly developed during the time of the British rule in India In 1866, Fort Kochi became a municipality, and its first Municipal Council election was conducted in 1883. The Maharaja of Cochin, who ruled under the British, in 1896, initiated local administration by forming town councils in Mattancherry and Ernakulam. In 1925, Kochi legislative assembly was constituted due to public pressure on the state.
Many written accounts clearly state that Cochin was invaded by foreigners and colonized many times. The king remained the titular head. The pungent smell of pepper and fragrances of other spices beckoned the invaders. The intra-struggles between the dominant powers of Kerala resulted in the weakening of its politico-military institutions and resulted in the dominance by the colonial powers. Religion was also liberally used to consolidate colonial hold resulting in numerous conversions primarily by the European powers and to Islam by Haider Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. These conversions resulted in a fragmentation of the native mind and this enabled the erstwhile powers to continue their exploitation of the natural resources of the state as well as its manpower.
In 1949, Travancore-Cochin state came into being with the merger of the erstwhile Cochin and Travancore states. Travancore-Cochin was in turn merged with the Malabar district of the Madras State. Finally, the Government of India’s States Re-organisation Act (1956) inaugurated a new state – Kerala – incorporating Travancore-Cochin (excluding the four southern Taluks (smaller administrative unit) which were merged with the contemporary state of Tamil Nadu), Malabar District, and the taluk of Kasaragode.
South Kanara. On 1 November 1967, exactly eleven years since the establishment of the state of Kerala, the corporation of Cochin came into existence. The merger leading to the establishment of the corporation, was between the municipalities of Ernakulam, Mattancherry and Fort Kochi, along with that of the Willingdon Island, four panchayats (Palluruthy, Vennala, Vyttila and Edappally), and the small islands of Gundu and Ramanthuruth.
A growing centre of shipping industries, international trade, and tourism and information technology, Kochi is the commercial hub of Kerala, and one of the fastest growing second-tier metros in India. Kochi’s economic growth was accelerated after the introduction of economic reforms in India by the central government in the mid-1990s. Since 2000, the service sector has revitalized the city’s stagnant economy. The establishment of several industrial parks based on Information technology (IT) and other port based infrastructure triggered a construction and realty boom in the city. Over the years, Kochi has witnessed rapid commercialization, and has today grown into the commercial capital of Kerala.
Kochi is now a major destination for IT and ITES companies, ranked by NASSCOM as the second-most attractive city in India for IT-based services. Availability of cheap bandwidth through undersea cables and lower operational costs compared to other major cities in India has been turned to its advantage. Various technology and industrial campuses including the government promoted Info Park, Cochin Special Economic Zone and KINFRA Export Promotion Industrial Park operate in the outskirts of the city.
Kochi is the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command, the primary training centre of the Indian Navy. The Cochin Shipyard in Kochi is the largest shipbuilding facility in India. The Cochin fishing harbor, located at Thoppumpady is a major fishing port in the state and supplies fish to local and export markets. To further tap the potential of the all-season deep-water harbor at Kochi, an international cruise terminal and several marinas are being constructed.
Exports and allied activities continue to be important contributors to the city’s economy. Kochi’s historical reliance on trade continues into modern times, as the city is a major exporter of spices and is home to the International Pepper Exchange, where black pepper is globally traded. The Spices Board of India is also headquartered in Kochi. The Cochin Port currently handles export and import of container cargo at its terminal at the Willingdon Island. A new international container transshipment terminal-the first in the country-is being commissioned at Vallarpadam, which is expected to be play a vital role in India’s economic aspirations.
Kochi also has an oil refinery-the Kochi Refineries (BPCL) at Ambalamugal. Central Government establishments like the Coconut Development Board, the Coir Board and the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) have head offices located in the city.
Highlights of Kochi:
Willingdon Island: Towards the early 20th century, trade at the Kochi port had increased substantially, and the need to develop the port became necessary. The English harbor engineer Robert Bristow was brought to Kochi in 1920 under the direction of Lord Willingdon, then the Governor of Madras. In a span of 21 years, he transformed Kochi as one of the safest harbors in the peninsula. This man-made island was created in 1933 by sand dredged while deepening the backwaters for the Cochin Port, under the direction of Sir Robert Bristow. A while back the Airport, Sea port and the railway terminus (Cochin Harbor Terminus) were situated on this island. Today, it is the home of the Cochin Port and the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command.
Marine Drive: A stroll along the long tree-lined coastal pathway that lines the backwater is well worth the time spent, especially late afternoon or dusk. The bustling backwaters, dotted with fishing boats, speedboats, ships, tankers and passenger boats, can be observed from this walkway that lines the coast. The greatest pleasure is to stand and watch when the monsoon lashes Kerala-it’s a awesome sight by itself.
Cherai Beach: This lovely beach ideal for swimming is located on the north end of Vypeen island, one of the many small islands just off the mainland. The beach is lined by gorgeous coconut groves and paddy fields. Vypeen can be reached by land or by boat.
Parikshith Thampuran Museum: The Kings of Cochin used to conduct their durbars (grand banquets) in this impressive building located within the Durbar Hall grounds. It was later converted to a museum which has a treasure trove of archaeological findings and relics including old coins, sculptures, oil paintings and murals. The building has been taken over by the Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy and now houses the Gallery of Contemporary Art. All the royal exhibits of the museum have been moved to the Hill Palace museum.
Museum of Kerala History, Kalamassery: The museum takes visitors mainly through the anthropological and cultural history of the geographical unit called Kerala. In line with modern techniques, it has on display spectacular audio-visual exhibits depicting the history and culture of Kerala along with many life size statues of ancient tribal people, famous personalities and several paintings depicting Kerala history. To understand Kerala, a visit to this museum is a must.
Palliport (Pallipuram) Fort: The first and the oldest surviving European fort in India, built by the Portuguese in 1503. It is situated in Pallipuram on Vypeen Island.
Hill Palace, Tripunithura: Built in the 19th century by the Raja of Kochi, this palace served as the seat of the Raja of the Kochi province. The palace has been converted into a museum displaying a fine collection of royal articles displaying the wealth and splendour of the Rajas of Kochi, including the throne and the crown. The museum also houses a large collection of archaeological findings. Hill Palace is located 16km east of Cochin in Tripunithura, a satellite town of Cochin.
Bolghatty Palace located on the Bolghatty Island: This Dutch palace is situated on Bolghatty Island is just a short boat ride away from the mainland. The palace has been converted to a hotel run by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC). The island has a tiny golf course and the panoramic views of the port and the harbor, makes it an attractive picnic spot. Frequent boat service is available from the mainland.