History of Chennai ( Earlier Madras )
Chennai, formerly known as Madras is the capital city of Tamil Nadu. Originally Chennai was a cluster of villages, bordered by palm trees balanced amidst paddy fields. The Pallavas, the Cholas, the Pandyas and the Vijaynagar Empire, all the popular dynasties of South India, have had an influence over forming of Chennai city. The zone of Chennai was called Tondaimandalam in former days and had its military headquarters at Puzhal. It is now a small and rather inconsequential village on the outskirts of the city.
Modern Chennai was grown out of a small village, in 1639. Formerly it was selected by early English merchants of the East India and was a fishing hamlet called Chennaipatnam. Chennai has grabbed a huge array of people right from seafarers, spice traders and cloth merchants over the period. In sixteenth century Chennai saw the arrival of the Portuguese followed by the Dutch trading companies.
It was established on a land provided by the Raja of Chandragiri, the last representative of the Vijayanagar rulers of Hampi to British traders in 1639. A small fort was constructed in the fishing settlement and a town subsequently came to be known as George Town in 1644. It finally grew in the area of Fort St. George.
In 19th century, it became one of the four divisions of British Imperial India, the seat of the Chennai Presidency. After Independence, the city started to be known by the name Madras until the government of Tamil Nadu under the chief minister Mr. M. K. Karunanidhi officially transformed it to Chennai in 1997. Since then, it has been a significant southern gateway and grown into a bustling metropolis of India.