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The Portuguese Settlement on the Coromandel Coast, a Case Study of San Thome and Nagapattinam in the Seventeenth Century

A S Shngreiyo

The origin of the Saint Thomas, who is believed to be buried at Mylapur gradually led to the emergence of San Thome as an important trading post for the Portuguese in the Coromandel Coast. The Portuguese discovered the remnants of the Saint when they excavated the place and it become a major influence in their settlement of the town called San Thome. San Thome slowly developed as an urban center in the sixteenth century. The chapter also attempts to show the crucial role that the Portuguese played in the process of urbanization and in the social and political spheres as well. Down the coast lies another Portuguese port called Nagapattinam probable it was the first Portuguese to settle at Coromandel Coast in the 1520s. The first Portuguese settlers were mostly private traders interested in the rice trade to Sri Lanka. Later it become one of the flourishing ports as many individual Portuguese settle down and do commerce.  It is said that more than seven hundred sailing vessels were frequently docked at the same time on the river. Every year these vessels carried more than twenty thousand measures of rice from here to the western Coast of India. The trade here attracted merchants from all parts of India as well as from Pegu, Malacca and Sumatra. However, both the port did not enjoy for long as it sweep away by the coming of other European countries in the following centuries.

Growth of Portuguese Settlement on the Coromandel Coast, A Case Study of San Thome and Nagapattinam in the Seventeenth Century
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