Trade Under Portuguese - Thoothukudi

  • Arunjunai devi S Assistant Professor, Fatima College, Madurai
Keywords: Pearl Fishing, Portuguese, Pazhayakayal Port, Manappadu, Marine Products, Slavery, Saltpetre, Elephant, Horse Trade, Jesuit Missionaries


One after another, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British ruled over this town and the Pearl Fishery Coast. They exploited its revenue for nearly 450 years. The Portuguese were the strongest colonial rulers of this town and its surroundings. The Nayaks and the local Kings or chieftains, the Vadugars and finally the Muslims under the patron ship of then Travancore and Calicut rulers harassed the natives. This forced them into the saving hands of the Portuguese. By the end of the beginning of the sixteenth century the Pearl Fishery Coast was brought under the control of Portuguese. The Mass conversion in 1536 is a historic event which changed the history of Thoothukudi.
The Paravas of Thoothukudi regained their lost rights of the Pearl fishing from the Muslims and started living a peaceful life under the protection of the Portuguese for more than a century then onwards. They returned their gratitude to the European coloniser by paying tributes in large amounts from their prize catches of the pearls and the chanks of the Gulf of Mannar.
At the far end of the Portuguese colonial regime in this region, by the year 1658, Thoothukudi was lost to the Dutch invaders. Thoothukudi came under the control of the Dutch in the year 1658 and continued so till the end of the eighteenth century. The Dutch East India Company built a fort at Thoothukudi making it their strong bastion. The Dutch occupation of Thoothukudi ended in 1825 .

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