Madras Presidency
The Madras Presidency officially the Presidency of Fort St. George and also known as Madras Province, was an administrative subdivision of British India. At its greatest extent, the presidency included much of southern India, including the present-day Indian State of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

, the Malabar region of North Kerala, Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep , formerly known as the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands, is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea, 200 to 440 km off the coast of the South West Indian state of Kerala...

 Islands, the Coastal Andhra
Coastal Andhra
Coastal Andhra or Kosta, is a region of India's Andhra Pradesh State. This region was part of Madras State before 1953 and Andhra State from 1953 to 1956. According to the 2011 census, it has an area of and a population of 3,41,93,868...

 and Rayalaseema
Rayalaseema is a geographic region in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. It includes the districts of Anantapur, Chittoor, Kadapa, Kurnool. These Telugu speaking districts were part of Madras Presidency until 1953 when Telugu speaking districts of Madras presidency were carved out to form...

 regions of Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

, Ganjam
Ganjam District
Ganjam district is a district in the Indian state of Orissa located on the border of Andhra Pradesh. Ganjam's total area is 8,070 km² . Its population is approximately 2,704,056.Ganjam is known for its beaches bordering the Bay of Bengal, the most famous ones being Gopalpur and Dhavaleshwar...

, Malkangiri
Malkangiri district
Malkangiri district is a district of the state of Orissa, India.-History:This district was carved out as district from the undivided Koraput district on 2nd Oct, 1992. The administrative headquarters of this district is Malkangiri town....

, Koraput
Koraput District
Koraput is a tribal dominated district of Orissa, India, and known for rich and diverse types of mineral deposits. It is located along the Eastern Ghats.-History:...

, Rayagada
Rayagada District
Rayagada is a mineral-rich district in the southern part of the state of Orissa, in India. The city Rayagada is its headquarter. The population of this district consists mainly of tribals.The District occupies a total area of 7,584.7 km2...

, Nabarangapur and Gajapati
Gajapati district
Gajapati is a district of Orissa, India. It was created from Ganjam District in October, 1992. Gajapati district was named after Maharaja Sri Krushna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Dev, the Raja Sahib of the Paralakhemundi estate , who is remembered for his contribution in the formation of a separate...

 districts of southern Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

 and the Bellary
Bellary is a historic city in Bellary District in Karnataka state, India.-Origins of the city's name:There are several legends about how Bellary got its name....

, Dakshina Kannada
Dakshina Kannada
- Geography :The district geography consists of sea shore in the west and Western Ghats in the east. The major rivers are Netravathi, Kumaradhara, Phalguni, Shambhavi, Nandini or Pavanje and Payaswini which all join Arabian sea. Vast areas of evergreen forests which once covered this district, have...

, and Udupi districts of Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

. The presidency had its winter capital at Madras and summer capital at Ootacamund
Ootacamund , is a town, a municipality and the district capital of the Nilgiris district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Ootacamund is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills...


In 1639, the English
English colonial empire
The English colonial empire consisted of a variety of overseas territories colonized, conquered, or otherwise acquired by the former Kingdom of England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries....

 East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 purchased the village of Madraspatnam and one year later it established the Agency of Fort St George, precursor of the Madras Presidency, although there had been Company factories at Machilipatnam
Machilipatnam is a city and a special grade municipality in the Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh, India. It is located south east of state capital, Hyderabad.-History:...

 and Armagon since the very early 17th century. The agency was upgraded to a Presidency in 1652 before once more reverting to its previous status in 1655. In 1684, it was re-elevated to a Presidency and Elihu Yale
Elihu Yale
Elihu Yale was a Welsh merchant and philanthropist, governor of the East India Company, and a benefactor of the Collegiate School of Connecticut, which in 1718 was named Yale College in his honour.- Life :...

 was appointed as President. In 1785, under the provisions of Pitt's India Act
Pitt's India Act
The East India Company Act 1784, also known as Pitt's India Act, was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain intended to address the shortcomings of the Regulating Act of 1773 by bringing the East India Company's rule in India under the control of the British Government...

, Madras became one of three provinces established by the East India Company. Thereafter, the head of the area was styled "Governor" rather than "President" and became subordinate to the Governor-General in Calcutta, a title that would persist until 1947. Judicial, legislative and executive powers rested with the Governor who was assisted by a Council whose constitution was modified by reforms enacted in 1861, 1909, 1919 and 1935. Regular elections were conducted in Madras up to the outbreak of the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 in 1939. By 1908, the province comprised twenty-two districts, each under a District Collector
District collector
The District Collector is the district head of administration of the bureaucracy in a state of India. Though he/she is appointed and is under general supervision of the state government, he/she has to be a member of the elite IAS recruited by the Central Government...

, and it was further sub-divided into taluks and firqas with villages making up the smallest unit of administration.

Following the Montague-Chelmsford reforms of 1919, Madras was the first province of British India to implement a system of dyarchy, and thereafter its Governor ruled alongside a Prime Minister. In the early decades of the 20th century, many significant contributors to the Indian independence movement
Indian independence movement
The term Indian independence movement encompasses a wide area of political organisations, philosophies, and movements which had the common aim of ending first British East India Company rule, and then British imperial authority, in parts of South Asia...

 came from Madras. With the advent of Indian independence on August 15, 1947, the Presidency was dissolved. Madras was later admitted as a state of the Indian Union at the inauguration of the Republic of India on January 26, 1950, and was reorganized in 1956.

Before the arrival of the English

Between 1685 and 1947 a variety of kings ruled the areas that became part of the Madras Presidency, while the discovery of dolmen
A dolmen—also known as a portal tomb, portal grave, dolmain , cromlech , anta , Hünengrab/Hünenbett , Adamra , Ispun , Hunebed , dös , goindol or quoit—is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of...

s has shown that this portion of the subcontinent was inhabited as early as the Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

. The Satavahana dynasty, which held sway over the northern part of the future Presidency from the third century BC to the third century AD, the Sangam period, became the region's first prominent rulers. To the south, the Cheras
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

, Cholas
Chola Dynasty
The Chola dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which was one of the longest-ruling in some parts of southern India. The earliest datable references to this Tamil dynasty are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BC left by Asoka, of Maurya Empire; the dynasty continued to govern over varying territory until...

 and Pandyas were contemporaries of the Satavahanas. Following the decline of the Satavahanas of Andhra and the Cholas in Tamil Nadu, the country was conquered by a little known race of people called the Kalabhras
The Kalabhras dynasty ruled over the entire Ancient Tamil country between the 3rd and the 6th century in an era of South Indian history called the Kalabhra interregnum. The Kalabhras displaced the kingdoms of the early Cholas, early Pandayan and Chera dynasties. Information about its origin and...

. The country recovered under the subsequent Pallava dynasty and its civilization attained a golden age under the later Cholas and the Pandyas. Following the conquest of Madurai by Malik Kafur
Malik Kafur
Malik Kafur, General , or Chand Ram as his name was originally, was a slave who became a head general in the army of Alauddin Khilji, ruler of the Delhi sultanate from 1296 to 1316 AD. He was originally seized by Alauddin's army after the army conquered the city of Khambhat...

 in 1311 AD, there was a brief lull when both culture and civilization began to deterioate. The Tamil and Telugu territories recovered under the Vijayanagar Empire, founded in 1336. Following the empire's demise, the country was parcelled out amongst numerous sultans, polygars
Palaiyakkarar, Poligar, Polygar or Palegar or Polegar was the feudal title for a class of territorial administrative and military chiefs appointed by the Naicker rulers of South India during 16th - 18th centuries...

 and European trading companies.

Early English trading posts

On December 31 1600, Queen Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 granted a group of English merchants a charter to establish the East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

, an early joint-stock company. Subsequently, during the reign of King James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

, Sir William Hawkins and Sir Thomas Roe were sent to negotiate with the Mughal Emperor Jahangir for permission to establish trading factories
Factory (trading post)
Factory was the English term for the trading posts system originally established by Europeans in foreign territories, first within different states of medieval Europe, and later in their colonial possessions...

 in India on behalf of the Company. The first of these were built at Surat
Surat , also known as Suryapur, is the commercial capital city of the Indian state of Gujarat. Surat is India's Eighth most populous city and Ninth-most populous urban agglomeration. It is also administrative capital of Surat district and one of the fastest growing cities in India. The city proper...

 on the west coast and at Masulipatam on the country's eastern seaboard. Dating back to 1611, Masulipatam is the oldest trading post on India’s east coast. In 1625, another factory was established at Armagon a few miles to the south, whereupon both the factories came under the supervision of an agency
Agencies of British India
An agency was an administrative unit of India managing the relations of British India with the sub-continent's princely states.At one time, the list consisted of:* Alwar Agency *Baghelkhand Agency March 1871 / 1933...

 based at Machilipatam. Soon afterwards, the English authorities decided to relocate the factories farther south due to the shortage of cotton cloth available for purchase, the main item of trade on the east coast at that time. This problem was compounded by harassment from the Sultan of Golconda
Golconda may be:Places:* Golkonda, ruined city and fortress in India* Golconda, Illinois, town in the United States* Golconda, Nevada, former town in the United StatesOther:* Golconda...

's local officers. The East India Company administrator Francis Day
Francis Day of Madras
Francis Day was an English colonial administrator, associated with the East India Company. He served as a factor of the Company's factory at Masulipatnam from 1632 to 1639. In 1639, he negotiated the purchase of a strip of land south of the Dutch factory at Pulicat from the Raja of Chandragiri,...

 was then sent south and after negotiations with the Raja of Chandragiri succeeded in obtaining a land grant to set up a factory in the village of Madraspatnam where the new Fort St George was built. An agency was created to govern the new settlement and factor Andrew Cogan
Andrew Cogan
Andrew Cogan was the first agent of the English East India Company to rule Madras. He was the chief of the Masulipatnam factory when Madras was purchased from the Raja of Chandragiri and the chief negotiator in that venture.- Purchase of Madras :...

 of Masulipatnam appointed first Agent. All the agencies along India’s east coast were subordinate to the presidency of Bantam
Bantam (city)
Bantam in Banten province near the western end of Java was a strategically important site and formerly a major trading city, with a secure harbor on the Sunda Strait through which all ocean-going traffic passed, at the mouth of Banten River that provided a navigable passage for light craft into...

 in Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

. By 1641, Fort St. George had become the Company's headquarters on the Coromandel Coast.

Agency of Fort St George

Andrew Cogan was succeeded by Francis Day, then Thomas Ivie
Thomas Ivie
Thomas Ivie was an English colonial administrator, the third agent of Madras after Andrew Cogan and Francis Day. He served in his post from 1644 to 1648.....

 followed by Thomas Greenhill
Thomas Greenhill
Thomas Greenhill was an English colonial administrator, one of the early pioneers of the East India Company and the Agent of Madras for two terms from 1648 to 1652 and 1655 to 1658.- Early life :...

. At the end of Greenhill's term in 1653, Fort St George was elevated to a Presidency, independent of Bantam and under the leadership of first President Aaron Baker
Aaron Baker
Aaron Eli Baker was an English colonial agent of the Honourable East India Company, holding Presidency positions in Bantam and Madras in the 1640s and 1650s. Baker made a fortune in the East India trade.-Madras period:...

. However, in 1655, the status of the fort was downgraded to an Agency and made subject to the factory at Surat until 1684. In 1658, control of all factories in Bengal was given to Madras when the English occupied the nearby village of Triplicane
Triplicane also has the famous powerful Ellamman temple in SMV Koil street. A beautiful Sundaramurthy Vinayagar temple is right opposite to the Ellamman Temple....




In 1684, Fort St. George was again elevated in rank to become the Madras Presidency with William Gyfford
William Gyfford
William Gyfford was an English factor and Agent of Madras from July 3, 1681 to August 8, 1684 and the President of Madras from January 26, 1685 to July 25, 1687.....

 as its first President. During this period, the Presidency significantly expanded and had reached its present dimensions by the early 19th century. During the early years of the Madras Presidency, the British were repeatedly attacked by the powerful Mughals, Maratha
The Maratha are an Indian caste, predominantly in the state of Maharashtra. The term Marāthā has three related usages: within the Marathi speaking region it describes the dominant Maratha caste; outside Maharashtra it can refer to the entire regional population of Marathi-speaking people;...

s and the Nawab
A Nawab or Nawaab is an honorific title given to Muslim rulers of princely states in South Asia. It is the Muslim equivalent of the term "maharaja" that was granted to Hindu rulers....

s of Golkonda
Golkonda or Golla konda a ruined city of south-central India and capital of ancient Kingdom of Golkonda , is situated 11 km west of Hyderabad.The most important builder of Golkonda was a Hindu Kakatiya King...

 and the Carnatic region
Carnatic region
The Carnatic coast is the region of South India lying between the Eastern Ghats and the Coromandel Coast, in the modern Indian states of Tamil Nadu, south eastern Karnataka and southern Andhra Pradesh....

. The President of Madras was made subordinate to the Governor-General based at Calcutta in September 1774 by Pitt's India Act, passed by the Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland...

 to unify and regulate the administration of the territories owned by the East India Company. In September 1746, Fort St George was taken by the French who ruled Madras as a part of French India until 1749 when Madras was handed back to the British under the terms of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle
Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748)
The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1748 ended the War of the Austrian Succession following a congress assembled at the Imperial Free City of Aachen—Aix-la-Chapelle in French—in the west of the Holy Roman Empire, on 24 April 1748...


During the Company Raj

From 1774 until 1858, Madras was a part of British India and was ruled by the British East India Company. The last quarter of the 18th century was a period of rapid expansion. Successful wars against Tipu
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

, Velu Thambi, Polygars and Ceylon added vast areas of land and contributed to the exponential growth of the Presidency. Newly-conquered Ceylon formed part of the Madras Presidency between 1793 and 1798. The system of Subsidiary Alliances originated by Lord Wellesly also created many princely states subordinate to the Governor of Fort St George. The hill tracts of Ganjam
Ganjam is a town and a notified area committee in Ganjam district in the state of Orissa, India.-Geography:Ganjam is located at . It has an average elevation of 3 metres .-Demographics:...

 and Visakhapatnam
Visakhapatnam is a major sea port on the south east coast of India. With a population of approximately 1.7 million, it is the second largest city in the state of Andhra Pradesh and the third largest city on the east coast of India after Kolkata and Chennai. According to the history, the city was...

 were the last to be annexed by the British.

This period also witnessed a number of rebellions starting with the 1806 Vellore Mutiny
Vellore Mutiny
The Vellore Mutiny on 10 July 1806 was the first instance of a large-scale and violent mutiny by Indian sepoys against the British East India Company, predating the Indian Rebellion of 1857 by half a century...

. The rebellion of Velu Thambi and Paliath Achan
Paliath Achan
Paliath Achan or Paliyath Achan : is the name given to the oldest male member of the Paliam family , a Nair family from the Indian state of Kerala that figured prominently in the history of the region.-Overview:...

 and the Poligar Wars were other notable insurrections against British rule although the Madras Presidency remained relatively undisturbed by the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.

The Madras Presidency annexed the kingdom of Mysore in 1831 on allegations of maladministration and restored it to Chamaraja Wodeyar
Chamaraja Wodeyar
Chamaraja Wadiyar X was the ruling Maharaja of Mysore between 1881 and 1894.-Adoption and accession:Chamaraja was born at the old palace in Mysore on February 22, 1863, as the third son of Sardar Chikka Krishnaraj Urs, of the Bettada-Kote branch of the ruling clan. His father died about a week...

, the grandson and heir of the deposed Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar
Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar
Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar was the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Mysore in India. Also known as Krishnaraja Wodeyar III, he belonged to the Wodeyar dynasty and ruled his state for nearly seventy years, from 30 June 1799 to 27 March 1868. He is known for his contribution and patronage...

 in 1881. Thanjavur was annexed in 1855, following the death of Shivaji II
Shivaji II of Thanjavur
Raja Shivaji II was the son of Raja Serfoji II and ruled the fortress of Thanjavur and its surroundings from 1832 to 1855. He was the last Raja of Thanjavur known to wield any authority....

 who left no male heir.

The Victorian era

In 1858, under the terms of the Queen's Proclamation issued by Queen Victoria, the Madras Presidency, along with the rest of British India, came under the direct rule of the British crown. Lord Harris
George Harris, 3rd Baron Harris
George Francis Robert Harris, 3rd Baron Harris GCSI , was a British peer, Liberal politician and colonial administrator...

 was the first Governor appointed by the Crown. During this period, measures were taken to improve education and increase representation of Indians in the administration. Legislative powers were given to the Governor's council under the Indian Councils Act 1861
Indian Councils Act 1861
The Indian Councils Act 1861 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that transformed the Viceroy of India's executive council into a cabinet run on the portfolio system. This cabinet had six "ordinary members" who each took charge of a separate department in Calcutta's government: home,...

. The council was reformed and expanded under the Indian Councils Act 1892, the Indian Councils Act 1909, the Government of India Act 1919
Government of India Act 1919
-See also:*British India*British Raj*History of Bangladesh*History of India*History of Pakistan*Governor-General of India*Government of India Act*India Office*Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms*Secretary of State for India...

, and the Government of India Act 1935
Government of India Act 1935
The Government of India Act 1935 was originally passed in August 1935 , and is said to have been the longest Act of Parliament ever enacted by that time. Because of its length, the Act was retroactively split by the Government of India Act 1935 into two separate Acts:# The Government of India...

. V. Sadagopacharlu
V. Sadagopacharlu
Vembaukum Sadagopacharlu was an Indian lawyer and politician who served as a member of the Madras Legislative Council from 1861 to 1863. He was the first native Indian to serve as a member of the council.- Early life :...

 was the first Indian to be appointed to the council. The legal profession was especially prized by the newly-emerging corpus of educated Indians. In 1877, T. Muthuswamy Iyer
T. Muthuswamy Iyer
Sir Thiruvarur Muthuswamy Iyer KCIE was an Indian lawyer who, in 1877, became the first native Indian to be appointed as judge of the Madras High Court. He also acted as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court in 1893....

 became the first Indian judge of the Madras High Court
Madras High Court
The Madras High Court is a senior court located at Chennai , in India. The court buildings, which are believed to be the second largest judicial complex in the world, are located near the beach, in one of the city's major business districts....

 despite strong opposition from the Anglo-Indian
Anglo-Indians are people who have mixed Indian and British ancestry, or people of British descent born or living in India, now mainly historical in the latter sense. British residents in India used the term "Eurasians" for people of mixed European and Indian descent...

 media. He also acted as the Chief Justice
Chief Justice
The Chief Justice in many countries is the name for the presiding member of a Supreme Court in Commonwealth or other countries with an Anglo-Saxon justice system based on English common law, such as the Supreme Court of Canada, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the Court of Final Appeal of...

 of the Madras High Court for a few months in 1893, thereby becoming the first Indian to do so. In 1906, C. Sankaran Nair
C. Sankaran Nair
Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair KCIE was the President of the Indian National Congress in 1897 held at Amraoti. Until present he is the only Keralite to hold the post.-Early life and education:...

 became the first Indian to be appointed Advocate-General of the Madras Presidency. A number of roads, railways, dams and canals were constructed during this time.

Two great famines occurred in Madras during this period, the Great Famine of 1876–78
Great Famine of 1876–78
The Great Famine of 1876–1878 was a famine in India that began in 1876 and affected south and southwestern India for a period of two years...

 followed by the Indian famine of 1896–97
Indian famine of 1896–97
The Indian famine of 1896–1897 was a famine that began in Bundelkhand, India, early in 1896 and spread to many parts of the country, including the United Provinces, the Central Provinces and Berar, Bihar, parts of the Bombay and Madras presidencies, and the Hissar district of the Punjab; in...

. The population of the Presidency fell from 31.2 million in 1871 to 30.8 million in 1881 as a result of the first famine. These famines and alleged partiality shown by the government in handling the Chingleput Ryots' Case
Chingleput Ryots' Case
The Chingleput Ryots' Case was a prominent trial which took place in the then Madras Presidency in India between 1881 and 1883. The action of the then Governor of Madras M. E. Grant Duff provoked outrage all over the Presidency...

 and the Salem riots trial
Salem Riots of 1882
The Salem Riots of 1882 is a term used to refer to serious Hindu-Muslim disturbances which took place in the city of Salem, Tamil Nadu in the then Madras Presidency in August 1882.- Causes :...

 caused discontent among the population.

Indian Independence Movement

A strong sense of national awakening emerged in the Madras Presidency in the later half of the 19th century. The first political organisation in the province, the Madras Native Association, was established by Gazulu Lakshminarasu Chetty
Gazulu Lakshminarasu Chetty
Gazulu Lakshminarasu Chetty CSI was an Indian merchant, Indian independence activist and political activist who founded the Madras Native Association and the first Indian-owned newspaper, The Crescent....

 on February 26, 1852. However, the organisation did not last long. The Madras Native Association was followed by the Madras Mahajana Sabha
Madras Mahajana Sabha
Madras Mahajana Sabha was an Indian nationalist organisation based in the Madras Presidency. Along with the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha, Bombay Presidency Association and the Indian Association, it is considered to be a predecessor of the Indian National Congress....

 which was started on May 16, 1884. Of the 72 delegates who participated in the first session of the Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 at Bombay in December 1885, 22 hailed from the Madras Presidency. Most of the delegates were members of the Madras Mahajana Sabha. The third session of the Indian National Congress was held in Madras in December 1887 and was a huge success attended by 362 delegates from the province. Subsequent sessions of the Indian National Congress took place in Madras in 1894, 1898, 1903, 1908, 1914 and 1927.

Madam Blavatsky and Colonel H. S. Olcott
Henry Steel Olcott
Colonel Henry Steel Olcott was an American military officer, journalist, lawyer and the co-founder and first President of the Theosophical Society....

 moved the headquarters of the Theosophical Society
Theosophical Society
The Theosophical Society is an organization formed in 1875 to advance the spiritual principles and search for Truth known as Theosophy. The original organization, after splits and realignments has several successors...

 to Adyar in 1882. The society's most prominent figure was Annie Besant
Annie Besant
Annie Besant was a prominent British Theosophist, women's rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self rule.She was married at 19 to Frank Besant but separated from him over religious differences. She then became a prominent speaker for the National Secular Society ...

, who founded the Home Rule League
Home Rule League
The Home Rule League, sometimes called the Home Rule Party, was a political party which campaigned for home rule for the country of Ireland from 1873 to 1882, when it was replaced by the Irish Parliamentary Party.-Origins:...

 in 1916. The Home Rule Movement was organized from Madras and found extensive support in the Province. Nationalistic newspapers such as The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu is an Indian English-language daily newspaper founded and continuously published in Chennai since 1878. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, it has a circulation of 1.46 million copies as of December 2009. The enterprise employed over 1,600 workers and gross income reached $40...

, the Swadesamitran
Swadesamitran was the first Tamil language newspaper owned and operated by Indians. It was published from Chennai . It was founded by G Subramania Aiyer who also served as the papers first editor. It was founded as a sister paper of The Hindu which Aiyer had also founded two years earlier in 1879...

and the Mathrubhumi
Mathrubhumi is a Malayalam language newspaper that is published from Kerala, India. Mathrubhumi was founded by K. P. Kesava Menon, an active volunteer in the Indian freedom struggle against the British.-History:...

actively endorsed the struggle for freedom. India's first trade union was established in Madras in 1918 by V. Kalyanasundaram
V. Kalyanasundaram
Thiruvarur Viruttacala Kalyanasundaram, , better known by his Tamil initials Thiru Vi Ka , was a Tamil scholar, essayist and activist. He is esteemed for the strong humanism of his essays, the analytical depth of his commentaries on classical Tamil literature and philosophy, and the clear, fluid...

 and B. P. Wadia
Bahman Pestonji Wadia
Bahman Pestonji Wadia oder Bomanji Pestonji Wadia was an Indian theosophist and labour activist. He was first a member of the TS Adyar, later of the United Lodge of Theosophists. On 13 April 1918, along with V...


Dyarchy (1920-37)

A dyarchy was created in Madras Presidency in 1920 as per the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms
Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms
The Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms were reforms introduced by the British Government in India to introduce self-governing institutions gradually to India. The reforms take their name from Edwin Samuel Montagu, the Secretary of State for India during the latter parts of World War I and Lord Chelmsford,...

 with provisions made for elections in the presidency. Democratically elected governments would henceforth share power with the Governor's autocratic establishment. Following the first elections held in November 1920, the Justice Party
Justice Party (India)
The Justice Party , officially known as South Indian Liberal Federation, was a political party in the Madras Presidency of British India. The party was established in 1917 by T. M. Nair and Theagaroya Chetty as a result of a series of non-Brahmin conferences and meetings in the presidency...

, an organization established in 1916 to campaign for increased representation of non-Brahmins in the administration, came to power. A. Subbarayalu Reddiar
A. Subbarayalu Reddiar
Diwan Bahadur Agaram Subbarayalu Reddiar was a landlord, Justice Party leader and Chief Minister or Premier of Madras Presidency from December 17, 1920 to July 11, 1921....

 became the first Chief Minister of the Madras Presidency but resigned soon after due to declining health and was replaced by P. Ramarayaningar, Minister of Local Self-Government and Public Health. The party split in late 1923 when C. R. Reddy resigned from primary membership and formed a splinter group allied with the opposition Swarajists. A no-confidence motion was passed against Ramarayaningar's government on November 27, 1923, and defeated 65–44. Ramarayaningar, popularly known as the Raja of Panagal, remained in power until November 1926. The passing of the first communal Government Order (G.O. No.613) in August 1921, which introduced caste-based communal reservations in government jobs, remains one of the high points of his rule. In the following 1926 elections the Justice Party lost. However, as no party was able to obtain a clear majority, the Governor set up an independent government under the leadership of P. Subbarayan
P. Subbarayan
Paramasiva Subbarayan was an Indian politician, freedom fighter and diplomat and was the Chief Minister of Madras Presidency, India's ambassador to Indonesia and Union Minister of Transport and Communications in Jawaharlal Nehru's government. He is the father of General P. P...

 and nominated its supporting members. In 1930, the Justice Party was victorious and P. Munuswamy Naidu
P. Munuswamy Naidu
Bollini Munuswamy Naidu was the Chief Minister of Madras Presidency from October 27, 1930 to November 4, 1932. He was conferred 'Diwan Bahadur' by British Government....

 became Chief Minister. The exclusion of Zamindars from the Ministry split the Justice Party once again. Fearing a no-confidence motion against him, Munuswamy Naidu resigned in November 1932 and the Raja of Bobbili
Ramakrishna Ranga Rao
Raja Sri Ravu Svetachalupati Sir Ramakrishna Ranga Rao KCIE was an Indian politician and zamindar who served as the Chief Minister of Madras Presidency from November 5, 1932 to April 4, 1936 and August 24, 1936 to April 1, 1937.Ramakrishna Ranga Rao was born in the royal family of Bobbili...

 was appointed Chief Minister in his place. The Justice Party eventually lost the 1937 elections
Madras Presidency legislative assembly election, 1937
The First legislative assembly election for the Madras Presidency was held in February 1937. The Indian National Congress obtained a majority by winning 159 of 215 seats in the Legislative Assembly. This was the first electoral victory for the Congress in the presidency since elections were first...

 to the Indian National Congress and Chakravarti Rajagopalachari became Chief Minister of Madras Presidency.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the Anti-Brahmin movement emerged in the Madras Presidency. It was launched E. V. Ramaswamy Naicker who, unhappy with the principles and policies of the Brahmin leadership of the provincial Congress left the party to form the Self-Respect Movement
Self-Respect Movement
The Self-Respect Movement was founded in 1925 by Periyar E. V. Ramasamy in Tamil Nadu, India. The movement has the aim of achieving a society where backward castes have equal human rights, and encouraging backward castes to have self-respect in the context of a caste based society that...

. Periyar, as he was alternatively known, criticized Brahmins, Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and Hindu superstitions in periodicals and newspapers such as Viduthalai and Justice. He also participated in the Vaikom satyagraha
Vaikom Satyagraha
Vaikom Satyagraha was a satyagraha in Travancore, India against untouchability in Hindu society. The movement was centered at the Shiva temple at Vaikom, near Kottayam.The Satyagraha aimed at securing freedom of movement for all sections of society through the public roads leading to the Sri...

, which campaigned for the rights of untouchables in Travancore
Kingdom of Travancore was a former Hindu feudal kingdom and Indian Princely State with its capital at Padmanabhapuram or Trivandrum ruled by the Travancore Royal Family. The Kingdom of Travancore comprised most of modern day southern Kerala, Kanyakumari district, and the southernmost parts of...

 to enter temples.

Last days of British rule

In 1937, the Indian National Congress was elected to power for the first time in the presidency. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was the first Chief Minister of the Madras Presidency to come from the Congress party. He issued the Temple Entry Authorization and Indemnity Act and introduced prohibition and sales taxes in the Madras Presidency. His rule is largely remembered for compulsory introduction of Hindi in educational institutions which made him highly unpopular as a politician. This measure sparked off widespread Anti-Hindi agitations
Anti-Hindi agitations
The Anti-Hindi agitations of Tamil Nadu are a series of agitations that happened in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu during both pre- and post-Independence periods...

, which led to violence in some places. Over 1,200 men, women and children were jailed for their participation in Anti-Hindi agitations while Thalamuthu and Natarasan died during the protests. In 1940, Congressional ministers resigned in protest over the declaration of war on Germany without their consent. The Governor took over administration and the unpopular law was eventually repealed by him on February 21, 1940.

Most Congressional leadership and erstwhile ministers were arrested in 1942 following their participation in the Quit India movement
Quit India Movement
The Quit India Movement , or the August Movement was a civil disobedience movement launched in India in August 1942 in response to Mohandas Gandhi's call for immediate independence. Gandhi hoped to bring the British government to the negotiating table...

. In 1944, Periyar renamed the Justice Party as Dravidar Kazhagam
Dravidar Kazhagam
Dravidar Kazhagam or Dravida Kazhagam was the first fully Dravidian party in India. It was a radical party formed by E. V. Ramaswamy, also called Thanthai Periyar of erstwhile Madras Presidency...

 and withdrew it from electoral politics. After the end of World War II, the Indian National Congress re-entered politics, and in the absence of any serious opposition easily won the 1946 election
Madras Presidency legislative assembly election, 1946
The second legislative assembly election for the Madras Presidency after the establishment of a bicameral legislature by the Government of India Act of 1935 was held in 1946. The election was held after 6 years of Governor's rule starting from 1939, when the Indian National Congress government of...

. Tanguturi Prakasam
Tanguturi Prakasam
Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu was an Indian politician and Freedom Fighter and the first Chief Minister of the Indian province Andhra state...

 was then elected Chief Minister with the support of Kamaraj and served for 11 months. He was succeeded by O. P. Ramaswamy Reddiyar
O. P. Ramaswamy Reddiyar
Omandur Ramasamy Reddiar was an Indian freedom-fighter and politician of the Indian National Congress. He served as the Premier of Madras Presidency from March 23, 1947 to April 6, 1949.-Early life:...

 who became first Chief Minister of Madras state
Madras State
Madras State was the name by which the Indian districts in Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Northern Kerala, Bellary and Dakshina Kannada were collectively known as from 1950 to 1953....

 when India was granted independence on August 15, 1947. The Madras Presidency became the Madras State
Madras State
Madras State was the name by which the Indian districts in Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Northern Kerala, Bellary and Dakshina Kannada were collectively known as from 1950 to 1953....

 in independent India.


In 1822, the Madras Presidency underwent its first census, which returned a population of 13,476,923. A second census conducted between 1836–37 recorded a population of 13,967,395, an increase of only 490,472 over 15 years. The first quinquennial population enumeration took place from 1851 until 1852. It returned a population of 22,031,697. Subsequent enumerations were made in 1856–57, 1861–62 and 1866–67. 1851–52. The population of Madras Presidency was tallied at 22,857,855, 24,656,509 in 1861–62 and 26,539,052 in 1866–67.

The first organized census of India was conducted in 1871 and returned a population of 31,220,973 for the Madras Presidency. Since then, a census has been conducted once every ten years. The last census of British India held in 1941 counted a population of 49,341,810 for the Madras Presidency.


The Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

, Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya
Oriya language
Oriya , officially Odia from November, 2011, is an Indian language, belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is mainly spoken in the Indian states of Orissa and West Bengal...

, Tulu
Tulu language
The Tulu language |?]]]) is a Dravidian language spoken by 1.95 million native speakers mainly in the southwest part of Indian state Karnataka known as Tulu Nadu. In India, 1.72 million people speak it as their mother tongue , increased by 10 percent over the 1991 census...

 and English languages were all spoken in the Madras Presidency. Tamil was spoken in the southern districts of the Presidency from a few miles north of Madras city as far west as the Nilgiri hills and Western Ghats. Telugu was spoken in the districts to the north of Madras city and to the east of Bellary and Anantapur districts. In the district of South Kanara , the western part of Bellary and Anantapur districts and parts of Malabar, Kannada was spoken. Malayalam was spoken in the districts of Malabar and South Kanara and the princely states of Travancore and Cochin, while Tulu was spoken in South Canara. Oriya was spoken in the district of Ganjam and parts of Vizagapatam district. English was spoken by Anglo-Indians and Eurasians. It was also the link language for the Presidency and the official language of British India in which all government proceedings and court hearings were conducted.

According to the 1871 census, there were 14,715,000 people who spoke Tamil, 11,610,000 people who spoke Telugu, 2,324,000 people who spoke Malayalam, 1,699,000 spoke Canarese or Kannada, 640,000 people spoke Oriya and 29,400 people spoke Tulu. The 1901 census returned 15,182,957 speakers of Tamil, 14,276,509 Telugu-speakers, 2,861,297 speakers of Malayalam, 1,518,579 were speakers of Kannada, 1,809,314 spoke Oriya, 880,145 spoke Hindusthani and 1,680,635 spoke other languages. At the time of Indian independence, Tamil and Telugu speakers made up over 78% of the total population of the presidency, with Kannada, Malayalam and Tulu speakers making up the rest.


In 1901, the population breakdown was: Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

s (37,026,471), Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s (2,732,931), and Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s (1,934,480). By the time of India's independence in 1947, Madras had an estimated population of 49,799,822 Hindus, 3,896,452 Muslims and 2,047,478 Christians

Hinduism was the predominant religion in the presidency and practised by around 88% of the population. The main Hindu denominations were Saivite, Vaishnavite and Lingayat. Among the Brahmins, the Smartha doctrine was quite popular. Worship of village gods was strong in the southern districts of the presidency while the matha
A matha ) is a term for monastic and similar religious establishments of Hinduism and Jainism. A matha is usually more formal, hierarchical, and rule-based than an ashram.-Advaita Mathas:...

s at Kanchi, Sringeri and Ahobilam
Ahobhilam also known as Ahobalam is located in the Allagadda mandal of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is located at a distance of 40 km from Nandyal and about 150 km from Kurnool, the district headquarters...

 were regarded as the centres of the Hindu faith. Of the Hindu temples, the largest and most important were the Venkateswara temple at Thirupathi
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple ), is a Hindu temple in the hill town of Tirumala, near Tirupati in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, South India. It is around from Chennai, from Hyderabad, and from Bangalore....

, the Brihadeeswarar temple
Brihadeeswarar temple
The Peruvudaiyar Koyil , also known as Rajarajeswaram, at Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the world's first complete granite temple and a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas kingdom Vishwakarmas in Tamil architecture. It is a tribute and a reflection of the...

 at Tanjore, the Meenakshi Amman temple
Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple or Tiru-alavai is a historic Hindu temple located in the south side of river Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India...

 at Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

, the Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam, the Krishna temple at Udupi and the Padmanabhaswamy temple in the princely state of Travancore. Islam was brought to the southern part of India by Arab traders although most converts were made from the 14th century onwards, when Malik Kafur
Malik Kafur
Malik Kafur, General , or Chand Ram as his name was originally, was a slave who became a head general in the army of Alauddin Khilji, ruler of the Delhi sultanate from 1296 to 1316 AD. He was originally seized by Alauddin's army after the army conquered the city of Khambhat...

 conquered Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

. Nagore
Nagore is a town in the Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu, India. It is located approximately 16 km south of Karaikal and 4 km north of Nagapattinam. Tiruvarur , Mayiladuthurai , Muthupet are nearby towns. It has a population of approximately 90,000. The prime attraction is the renowned...

 was the holiest city for the Muslims of the Madras Presidency. The presidency also had one of the oldest Christian populations in India. Branches of the Syrian church were established by St. Thomas
Thomas the Apostle
Thomas the Apostle, also called Doubting Thomas or Didymus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is best known for questioning Jesus' resurrection when first told of it, then proclaiming "My Lord and my God" on seeing Jesus in . He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman...

, an apostle of Jesus Christ who visited the Malabar coast in 52 AD Christians were mainly concentrated in the Tinnevely and Malabar
Malabar District
Malabar District was an administrative district of Madras Presidency in British India and independent India's Madras State. The British district included the present-day districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Palakkad , and Chavakad Taluk of Thrissur District in the northern part of...

 districts of Madras Presidency with native Christians forming over one–quarter of the total population of the princely state of Travancore.
Hill tribes of the Nilgiris, Palani and Ganjam regions such as the Todas, Badagas
The Badagas are an indigenous people inhabiting the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu, southern India. Their language is Badaga.-Traditional Attire:In olden days the Badagas used to wear distinctive dresses...

, Kodavas, Kotas, Yerukalas and the Khonds
Khonds, or Kandhs are an aboriginal tribe of India, inhabiting the tributary states of Orissa and Srikakulam, in the Visakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh. Their main divisions are into Kutia, or hill Khonds and plain-dwelling Khonds; the landowners are known as Raj Khonds. They are hunter...

, worshipped tribal gods and were often classified as Hindus. Until the early years of the 20th century, the Pallar
The Pallar are a caste from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. They are mostly agriculturalists in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka and amongst the Tamil diaspora...

, Paraiyar
Paraiyar, Parayar, and Sambavar, anglicised by Europeans as Pariah are a social group found in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and in Sri Lanka . In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, though they have been enumerated under three different caste names, they have generally been referred to as...

, Sakkiliar
Arunthathiyar are one of the most marginalized social groups or castes from Tamil Nadu and Arunthathiyar are one of the most marginalized [[social groups]] or castes from [[Tamil Nadu]] and...

, Pulayar
The Pulayar , also Pulayar, Pulaya, or Pulayas or Holeya or Cheramar, are one of the main social groups found in Kerala, Karnataka and in historical Tamil Nadu or Tamilakam.- Traditions :...

, Madiga
Madiga is a social group or caste group of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharastra etc. found almost in all Indian states with different names. The people belonging to this community are most oppressed and exploited in the society. The term Madiga is derived from Sanskrit word Maha-Adiga which can be...

, Izhava and Holeya Hindu communities were regarded as untouchable and were not allowed inside Hindu temples. However, along with the emancipation of Indian women and removal of social evils, untouchability was slowly eradicated through legislation and social reform. The Raja of Bobbili
Ramakrishna Ranga Rao
Raja Sri Ravu Svetachalupati Sir Ramakrishna Ranga Rao KCIE was an Indian politician and zamindar who served as the Chief Minister of Madras Presidency from November 5, 1932 to April 4, 1936 and August 24, 1936 to April 1, 1937.Ramakrishna Ranga Rao was born in the royal family of Bobbili...

 who served the Premier from 1932 to 1936, appointed untouchables to temple administration boards all over the presidency. In 1939, the Congress government of C. Rajagopalachari
C. Rajagopalachari
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari , informally called Rajaji or C.R., was an Indian lawyer, independence activist, politician, writer and statesman. Rajagopalachari was the last Governor-General of India...

 introduced the Temple Entry Authorization and Indemnity Act which removed all restrictions on untouchables entering Hindu temples. Chithira Thirunal of Travancore had issued a similar had earlier introduced similar legislation, the Temple Entry Proclamation
Temple Entry Proclamation
The Temple Entry Proclamation issued by Maharaja Shri Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma and his Dewan Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer in 1936 abolished the ban on low-caste people or avarnas from entering Hindu Temples in the state of Travancore .The edict is as follows:Today, the Temple Entry...

 at the advice of his Diwan, Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Ayyar, in 1937.

In 1921 the Raja of Panagal's government passed the Hindu Religious Endowments Bill that established government-controlled trusts in the Madras Presidency to manage Hindu temple
Hindu temple
A Mandir, Devalayam, Devasthanam, or a Hindu temple is a place of worship for followers of Hinduism...

s and prevent potential misuse of their funds. The Raja of Bobbili also introduced reforms in the administration of the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams, the trust which manages the Hindu temple at Tirupathi
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple ), is a Hindu temple in the hill town of Tirumala, near Tirupati in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, South India. It is around from Chennai, from Hyderabad, and from Bangalore....



The Pitt's India Act
Pitt's India Act
The East India Company Act 1784, also known as Pitt's India Act, was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain intended to address the shortcomings of the Regulating Act of 1773 by bringing the East India Company's rule in India under the control of the British Government...

 of 1784 created an executive council with legislative powers to assist the Governor. The council initially consisted of four members, two of whom were from the Indian civil service or covenanted civil service and the third, an Indian of distinction. The fourth was the Commander-in-chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Madras Army
Madras Army
The Madras Army was the army of the Presidency of Madras, one of the three presidencies of the British India within the British Empire.The presidency armies, like the presidencies themselves, belonged to the East India Company until the Government of India Act 1858 transferred all three...

. The council was reduced to three members when the Madras Army was abolished in 1895. The legislative powers of this council were withdrawn as per the Government of India Act 1833 and it was reduced to the status of a mere advisory body. However, these powers were restored as per Indian Councils Act 1861. The council was expanded from time to time through the inclusion of official and non-official members and served as the main legislative body till 1935, when a legislative assembly of a more representative nature was created and legislative powers were transferred to the assembly. On India's independence on August 15, 1947, the three-member Governor's executive council was abolished.

The origins of Madras Presidency lay in the village of Madraspatnam which was obtained in 1640. This was followed by Fort St David
Fort St David
Fort St. David was a British fort near the town of Cuddalore, a hundred miles south of Madras on the Coromandel Coast of India.-History:It was bought from the Mahrattas by the British East India Company in 1690. Robert Clive served as the governor of Fort St David in 1756.The ruins of Fort St David...

 which was acquired in 1690. Chingleput district
Chingleput District (Madras Presidency)
Chingleput district was a district in the Madras Presidency of British India. It covered the area of the present-day districts of Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur and parts of Chennai city. It was sub-divided into six taluks with a total area of...

, known as the "jaghire" of Chingleput, obtained in 1763, was the first district in the Madras Presidency.Salem and Malabar
Malabar District
Malabar District was an administrative district of Madras Presidency in British India and independent India's Madras State. The British district included the present-day districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Palakkad , and Chavakad Taluk of Thrissur District in the northern part of...

 districts were obtained from Tipu Sultan in 1792 as per the Treaty of Seringapatam
Treaty of Seringapatam
The Treaty of Seringapatam, signed 19 March 1792, ended the Third Anglo-Mysore War. Its signatories included Lord Cornwallis on behalf of the British East India Company, representatives of the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Mahratta Empire, and Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore.-Background:The war...

 and Coimbatore
Coimbatore District (Madras Presidency)
Coimbatore district was one of the districts of the erstwhile Madras Presidency of British India. It covered the areas of the present-day districts of Coimbatore, Erode and Tirupur and the Kollegal taluk of present-day Karnataka. It covered a total area of and was sub-divided into 10 taluks...

 and Kanara
The Kanara or Canara region comprises three coastal districts of Karnataka, namely Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada and Kasaragod district of Kerala in southwestern India. Kanara forms the southern part of the Konkan coast...

 districts after the Fourth Mysore War in 1799. The territories of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom were constituted as a separate district in 1799. In 1800, the districts of Bellary and Cuddapah were created out of the territory ceded by the Nizam
Nizam-ul-Mulk of Hyderabad popularly known as Nizams of Hyderabad was a former monarchy of the Hyderabad State, now in the states of Andhra Pradesh , Karnataka , and Maharashtra in India...

 of Hyderabad. In 1801, the districts of North Arcot, South Arcot, Nellore, Trichnipoly, Madura and Tinnevely were created out of the territories of the erstwhile Carnatic kingdom. Trichinopoly district was made a sub-division of Tanjore district in June 1805 and remained so till August 1808 when its status as a separate district was restored. The districts of Rajahmundry, Masulipatnam and Guntur were created in 1823. These three districts were reorganized in 1859 into two - the Godavari and Kistna districts. Godavari district was further bifurcated into East and West Godavari districts in 1925. The Kurnool kingdom was annexed in 1839 and was constituted as a separate district of the Madras Presidency. For administrative convenience, the district of Kanara was split into North and South Kanara in 1859. North Kanara was transferred to Bombay Presidency
Bombay Presidency
The Bombay Presidency was a province of British India. It was established in the 17th century as a trading post for the English East India Company, but later grew to encompass much of western and central India, as well as parts of post-partition Pakistan and the Arabian Peninsula.At its greatest...

 in 1862. Between 1859-60 and 1870, the districts of Madras and Chingleput were put together into a single district. A separate Nilgiris district was carved out of Coimbatore district in 1868. As of 1908, Madras Presidency was made up of 24 districts each administered by a District Collector who was from the Indian Civil Service. The districts were sometimes sub-divided into divisions each under a Deputy Collector. The divisions were further sub-divided into taluks and union panchayats or village committees. Agencies were sometimes created in British India out of volatile, rebellion-prone areas of the Presidency. The two important agencies in the Madras Presidency were the Vizagapatam Hill Tracts Agency
Vizagapatam Hill Tracts Agency
The Vizagapatam Hill Tracts Agency was an agency in the Madras Presidency of British India. The agency was autonomous and supervised by an agent subordinate to the District Collector of Vizagapatam district.- History :...

  which was subject to the District Collector of Vizagapatam and the Ganjam Hill Tracts Agency
Ganjam Hill Tracts Agency
Ganjam Hill Tracts Agency was an agency in the Ganjam district of the erstwhile Madras Presidency, British India. It was created by the Act XXIV of 1839 from the tribal territories inhabited by the Khonds and the Savarahs and made up the western part of Ganjam district...

 subject to the District Collector of Ganjam. In 1936, the districts of Ganjam and Vizagapatam (including the Vizagapatam and the Ganjam agencies) were partitioned between Madras and the newly-created province of Orissa.

There were five princely states subordinate to the Madras government. They were Banganapalle, Cochin, Pudukkottai, Sandur, and Travancore. All these states had a considerable degree of internal autonomy. However, their foreign policy was completely controlled by a Resident who represented the Governor of Fort St George. In case of Banganapalle, the Resident was the District Collector of Kurnool while the District Collector of Bellary was the Resident of Sandur. The Resident of Pudukkottai from 1800 to 1840 and 1865 to 1873, was the District Collector of Tanjore, from 1840 to 1865, the District Collector of Madura and from 1873 to 1947, the District Collector of Trichinopoly.


The British East India Company was first permitted to set up its own garrison in 1665 to guard its settlements. Notable amongst the army's early operations were the defence of the city from Mughal and Maratha invaders and the forces of the Nawab of Carnatic. In 1713, the Madras forces under Lieutenant John de Morgan distinguished themselves in the siege of Fort St David and in putting down Richard Raworth's Rebellion.

When Joseph François Dupleix
Joseph François Dupleix
Joseph-François, Marquis Dupleix was governor general of the French establishment in India, and the rival of Robert Clive.-Biography:Dupleix was born in Landrecies, France...

, the Governor of French India began to raise native battalions in 1748, the British of Madras followed suit and established the Madras Regiment. Though native regiments were subsequently established by the British in other parts of India, the distances that separated the three presidencies resulted in each force developing divergent principles and organizations. The first reorganization of the army took place in 1795 when the Madras army was reconstituted into the following units:
  • European Infantry – Two battalions of ten companies.
  • Artillery – Two European battalions of five companies each, with fifteen companies of lascars.
  • Native Cavalry – Four regiments.
  • Native Infantry – Eleven regiments of two battalions.

In 1824, a second reorganization took place whereupon the double battalions were abolished and the existing battalions renumbered. The Madras Army at the time consisted of one European and one native brigade of horse artillery, three battalions of foot artillery of four companies each, with four companies of lascars attached, three regiments of light cavalry, two corps of pioneers, two battalions of European infantry, 52 battalions of native infantry and three local battalions.

Between 1748 and 1895, as with the Bengal and Bombay armies, the Madras Army had its own Commander-in-Chief who was subordinate to the President, and later, the Governor of Madras. By default the Commander-in-chief of the Madras Army was a member of the Governor's Executive Council. The army's troops participated in the conquest of Manila
Battle of Manila (1762)
The Battle of Manila was fought during the Seven Years' War , from September 24, 1762 to October 6, 1762, between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Spain in and around Manila, the capital of the Philippines, a Spanish colony at that time.-Prelude:British troops stationed in India were...

 in 1762, the 1795 expeditions against Ceylon and the Dutch as well as the conquest of the Spice Islands in the same year. They also took part in expeditions against Maurutius (1810), Java
Java Expedition
The Java Expedition established the British in control of Java from 1811 to August 1816, with Stamford Raffles as its Lieutenant Governor.Around 1807, Napoleon I of France, after having deposed his brother Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland, had ordered General Charles Mathieu Isidore Decaen to...

 (1811), the wars against Tipu Sultan
Anglo-Mysore Wars
The Anglo-Mysore Wars were a series of wars fought in India over the last three decades of the 18th century between the Kingdom of Mysore and the British East India Company, represented chiefly by the Madras Presidency...

 and the Carnatic Wars
Carnatic Wars
The Carnatic Wars were a series of military conflicts in the middle of the 18th century on the Indian subcontinent...

 of the 18th century, the British attack on Cuttack
Cuttack is the former capital of the state of Orissa, India. It is the headquarters of Cuttack district and is located about 20 km to the north east of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa. The name of the city is an anglicised form of Kataka that literally means The Fort, a reference to the...

 dring the Second Anglo-Maratha War
Second Anglo-Maratha War
The Second Anglo-Maratha War was the second conflict between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India.-Background:...

, the Siege of Lucknow
Siege of Lucknow
The Siege of Lucknow was the prolonged defense of the Residency within the city of Lucknow during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. After two successive relief attempts had reached the city, the defenders and civilians were evacuated from the Residency, which was abandoned.Lucknow was the capital of...

 during the Indian mutiny and the invasion of Upper Burma during the Third Anglo-Burmese War
Third Anglo-Burmese War
The Third Anglo-Burmese War was a conflict that took place during 7–29 November 1885, with sporadic resistance and insurgency continuing into 1887. It was the final of three wars fought in the 19th century between the Burmese and the British...


The 1857 mutiny, which caused drastic changes in the Bengal and Bombay armies, had no effect on the Madras Army. In 1895, the presidency armies were finally abolished and the Madras regiments brought under the direct control of the Commander-in-chief of British India.

The Madras Army relied heavily on the Moplahs of Malabar and soldiers from Kodagu
Kodagu , also known by its anglicised former name of Coorg, is an administrative district in Karnataka, India. It occupies an area of in the Western Ghats of southwestern Karnataka. As of 2001, the population was 548,561, 13.74% of which resided in the district's urban centres, making it the least...

, at that time known as Coorg.


Revenue from land rental as well as an income tax based on the tenant's net profits from their land was the presidency's main source of income.

In ancient times, land appears to have been held in common with an individual unable to sell it without the consent of the other owners, who in most cases were members of the same community. Prior to the arrival of the British, the concept of individual proprietorship of land had already emerged along India's west coast such that the new administration's land revenue system was not markedly different from that of its predecessor. Nevertheless, landlords never sold land without the consent of other members of the community. This communistic property rights system was known as kaniachi among the Vellalars, swastium among the Brahmins and mirasi among Muslims and Christians. In the Tanjore district, all mirasi in the village were vested in a single individual who was called the Ekabhogam. The mirasidars were required to donate a certain amount of money known as mirei to the village administration. They also paid a specified sum to the Government. In return, the mirasidars demanded non-interference by the government in the internal affairs of the villages.

The proprietary system was entirely different in the district of Malabar and the states of Cochin and Travancore where communal ownership of land did not exist. Instead, land was individual property mostly owned by people from the Namboodhiri, Nair
Nair , also known as Nayar , refers to "not a unitary group but a named category of castes", which historically embody several castes and many subdivisions, not all of whom bore the Nair title. These people historically live in the present-day Indian state of Kerala...

 and Moplah communities who did not pay land-tax. In return the Nairs supplied the king with fighting men in times of war while the Namboodhiris managed the upkeep of Hindu temples. These landlords were somewhat self-sufficient and had their own police and judicial systems such that the personal expenses of the Raja were minimal. However, landlords lost their exemption from the taxes on land if they disposed of it meaning that mortgage of land was more common than sale. Individual propreitorship of land was also common in the Telugu-speaking areas of the Presidency. The chieftains of the Telugu-speaking districts had more or less maintained an independent existence for a long time, furnishing the sovereign with armies and equipment in times of war. In return, their right to revenues from land remained unmolested. During the time of the British, most of land in the northern districts of the Presidency were parcelled out among these petty "Rajahs".

Islamic invasions caused minor changes in the land proprietorship system when taxes on Hindu land owners were raised and private owmership of property came down.

When the British took over administration, the centuries-old system of land proprietorship was left intact. The new rulers appointed middlemen to collect revenue for lands which were not under the control of local zamindar
A Zamindar or zemindar , was an aristocrat, typically hereditary, who held enormous tracts of land and ruled over and taxed the bhikaaris who lived on batavaslam. Over time, they took princely and royal titles such as Maharaja , Raja , Nawab , and Mirza , Chowdhury , among others...

s. In most cases, these go-betweens ignored the welfare of the farmers and exploited them to the full. A Board of Revenue was established in 1786 to solve the issue but to no avail. At the same time, the zamindari settlement established in Bengal by Lord Cornwallis
Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis
Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis KG , styled Viscount Brome between 1753 and 1762 and known as The Earl Cornwallis between 1762 and 1792, was a British Army officer and colonial administrator...

 proved highly successful and was later implemented in the Madras Presidency from 1799 onwards.

However, the Permanent Settlement was not as successful as it had been in Bengal. When the Company did not reach the expected profit levels, a new system known as the "Village Settlement" was implemented between 1804 and 1814 in the districts of Tinnevely, Trichinopoly, Coimbatore, North Arcot and South Arcot. This involved the leasing of land to the principal cultivators, who in turn leased the land to ryot
Ryot was a general economic term used throughout India for peasant cultivators but with variations in different provinces. While zamindars were landlords, raiyats were tenants and cultivators, and served as hired labour...

, or peasant farmers. However, as a village settlement had few differences compared to a permanent settlement, it was eventually discarded. In its place came the "Ryotwari Settlement" implemented by Sir Thomas Munro between 1820 and 1827. According to the new system, land was handed over directly to the ryots who paid their rent directly to the government. The land was assessed and paid revenue fixed by the Government This system had a number of advantages as well as disadvantages for the ryots. In 1833, Lord William Bentinck implemented a new system called the "Mahalwari" or village system under which landlords as well as ryots entered into a contract with the Government.

In 1911, the greater part of the land was held by ryots who paid rent directly to the Government. Zamindari estates occupied about 26 million acres (105,218.4 km²), more than one-quarter of the whole presidency. The peshkash, or tribute, payable to the government in perpetuity was about £330,000 a year. Inams, revenue-free or quit-rent grants of lands made for religious endowments or for services rendered to the state, occupied an aggregate area of nearly 8 million acres (32,374.9 km²). In 1945–46, there were 20945456 acres (84,763.3 km²) of Zamindari estates yielding revenues of Rs. 97,83,167 and 58904798 acres (238,379.5 km²) of ryotwari lands which produced Rs. 7,26,65,330. Madras had forest coverage of 15782 square miles (40,875.2 km²).

The Land Estates Act of 1908 was passed by the Madras Government in order to protect cultivators in Zamindaris from exploitation. Under the act, ryots were made permanent occupants of the land. However, far from protecting the ryots, the legislation proved to be detrimental to the interests of the cultivators in the Oriya-speaking northern districts of the presidency who were the intended beneficiaries, as it tied the cultivator to his land and landlord with the chains of eternal serfdom. In 1933, an amendment to the Act was introduced by the Raja of Bobbili to curb the rights of zamindars and safeguard the cultivators from exploitation. This act was passed in the legislative council despite strong opposition from the zamindars.

Agriculture and irrigation

Almost 71% of the population of Madras Presidency was engaged in agriculture with the agricultural year usually commencing on July 1. Crops cultivated in the Madras Presidency included cereals such as rice, corn, kambhu (Indian millet
Indian millet
Indian Millet is a name widely used in different parts of the world to describe a number of different plants. A possibly incomplete list is:*Sorghum bicolor *Stipa hymenoides*Panicum miliaceum...

) and ragi
Finger millet
Eleusine coracana, commonly Finger millet , also known as African millet or Ragi is an annual plant widely grown as a cereal in the arid areas of Africa and Asia. E...

 as well as vegetables including brinjal, sweet potato
Sweet potato
The sweet potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are an important root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of...

, ladies' fingers
Okra is a flowering plant in the mallow family. It is valued for its edible green seed pods. The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of South Asian, Ethiopian and West African origins...

, beans, onions, garlic and spices such as chilli
Chili pepper
Chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The term in British English and in Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia and other Asian countries is just chilli without pepper.Chili peppers originated in the Americas...

, pepper
Black pepper
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed...

 and ginger
Ginger is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It lends its name to its genus and family . Other notable members of this plant family are turmeric, cardamom, and galangal....

 along with vegetable oils made from castor beans and peanuts. Fruits cultivated included lime
Lime (fruit)
Lime is a term referring to a number of different citrus fruits, both species and hybrids, which are typically round, green to yellow in color, 3–6 cm in diameter, and containing sour and acidic pulp. Limes are a good source of vitamin C. Limes are often used to accent the flavors of foods and...

, banana jackfruit
The jackfruit is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry family . It is native to parts of Southern and Southeast Asia. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh, . The jackfruit tree is believed to be indigenous to the southwestern rain forests of India...

, cashew nuts, mangos, custard apple
Custard apple
Custard apple, a common name, can refer to:*Custard-apple, also called bull's heart, the fruit of the tree Annona reticulata.*The custard-apple tree itself, Annona reticulataThe term may also refer to:...

s and papaya
The papaya , papaw, or pawpaw is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, the sole species in the genus Carica of the plant family Caricaceae...

s. In addition, cabbages, cauliflowers, pomelo
The pomelo is a citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia. It is usually pale green to yellow when ripe, with sweet white flesh and very thick albedo . It is the largest citrus fruit, 15–25 cm in diameter, and usually weighing 1–2 kg...

s, peachs, betel pepper, niger seed and millet
The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult...

 were introduced from Asia, Africa or Europe, while grapes were introduced from Australia. The total cultivated area used for food crops was 80% and for cash crops, 15%. Of the gross area, rice occupied 26.4 percent; kambhu, 10 percent; ragi, 5.4 percent and Cholam, 13.8 percent. Cotton occupied 1740000 acres (7,041.5 km²), oilseeds, 2.08 million, spices,0.4 million and indigo, 0.2 million. In 1898, Madras produced 7.47 million tons of food grains from 21570000 acres (87,290.8 km²) of crops grown on 19300000 acres (78,104.4 km²) of ryotwari and inam lands, which supported a population of 28 million. The rice yield was 7 to 10 cwt. per acre, the cholam yields were 3.5 to 6.25 cwt. per acre, khambu, 3.25 to 5 cwt. per acre and ragi, 4.25 to 5 cwt. per acre. The average gross turnout for food crops was 6.93 cwt. per acre.
Irrigation along the east coast is carried out mostly by means of dams across rivers, lakes and irrigation tanks. The main source of water for agriculture in the Coimbatore
Coimbatore , also known as Kovai , is the second largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a major commercial centre in Tamil Nadu and is known as the "Manchester of South India"....

 district were tanks.

The Land Improvement and Agriculturists Loan Act passed in 1884 provided funds for the construction of wells and their utilization in reclamation projects. In the early part of the 20th century, the Madras government established the Pumping and Boring Department to drill boreholes with electric pumps. The Mettur Dam
Mettur Dam
The Mettur Dam is a large dam in India built in 1934.It was constructed in a gorge, where the Kaveri River enters the plains. The dam is one of the oldest in India . It provides irrigation facilities to a part of Salem, the length of Erode, Namakkal, Karur, Tiruchirappali and Thanjavur district for...

, the Periyar Project, the Cudappah-Kurnool canal and the Rushikulya Project were the biggest irrigation projects launched by the Madras Government. Constructed below the Hogenakkal Falls on the Madras-Mysore border in 1934, the Mettur Dam supplied water to the western districts of the Presidency. The Periyar Dam (now known as the Mullaperiyar Dam) was constructed across the Periyar river in Travancore, near the border. This project diverted the waters of the Periyar river to the Vaigai River basin in order to irrigate the arid lands to the east of the Western Ghats. Similarly, the Rushikulya Project was launched to utilize the waters of the Rushikulya river in Ganjam. Under the scheme over 142000 acres (574.7 km²) of land were brought under irrigation. The British also constructed a number of dams and canals for irrigation. An upper dam was constructed across the Kollidam river near Srirangam island. The Dowlaishwaram dam across the Godavari river, the Gunnavaram aqueduct across the Vaineteyam Godavari, the Kurnool-Cuddapah canal and the Krishna dam are examples of major irrigation works carried out by the British. In 1946–47, the total area under irrigation was 9736974 acres (39,404.2 km²) acres which yielded a return of 6.94% on capital outlay.

Trade, industry and commerce

The trade of the Madras Presidency comprised that of both the Presidency with other Provinces and its overseas trade. External trade made up 93 percent of the total with internal trade making up the remainder. Foreign trade accounted for 70 percent of the total while 23 percent was inter-provincial. In 1900–01, imports from other provinces of British India amounted to Rs. 13.43 crores while exports to other provinces amounted to Rs. 11.52 crores. During the same year, exports to other countries reached Rs. 11.74 crores while imports were valued at Rs. 6.62 crores. At the time of India's independence, imports of the Presidency amounted to Rs. 71.32 crores a year while exports were valued at Rs. 64.51 crores. Trade with the United Kingdom made up 31.54% of the total trade of the Presidency with Madras the chief port accounting for 49% of the total trade.

Cotton piece-goods, cotton twist and yarn, metals and kerosene oil were the main items of import while animal hides and skins, raw cotton, coffee and piece-goods were the chief exports. Raw cotton, animal hides, oil seeds, grains, pulses, coffee, tea and cotton manufactures were the main items of sea trade. Most of the sea trade was carried through the presidency's principal port of Madras. Other important ports were Gopalpur, Kalingapatnam, Bimlipatnam, Visakhapatnam, Masulipatnam, Cocanada, Madras, Cuddalore, Negapatam, Pamban and Tuticorin on the east coast along with Mangalore, Cannanore, Calicut, Tellicherry, Cochin, Alleppey, Quilon and Colachel on the western seaboard. The port of Cochin was taken over by the Government of India on August 1, 1936 and that of Madras on April 1, 1937. There were Chambers of Commerce in Madras, Cochin and Cocanada. These chambers each nominated a member to the Madras Legislative Council.

Cotton-ginning and weaving were two of the main industries in the Madras Presidency. Cotton was produced in large quantities in the Bellary district and was pressed in Georgetown
George Town, Chennai
George Town is a historical neighbourhood of Fort St. George in Chennai , India. Also known as Black Town during the colonial period, the settlement was formed after the English constructed the fort and was the first settlement of the city of Madras, begun soon after the completion of the...

, Madras. The scarcity of cotton in Lancashire caused by a decline in trade due to the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 gave an impetus to cotton and textile production and led to cotton presses being established all over the Presidency. In the early years of the 20th century, Coimbatore emerged as an important centre for cotton textiles and earned the epithet "Manchester of South India". The northern districts of Godavari, Vizagapatam and Kistna were well-known cotton-weaving centres. There was a sugar factory at Aska in Ganjam run by F. J. V. Minchin and another at Nellikuppam in South Arcot district run by the East India Distilleries and Sugar Factories Company. In the Telugu-speaking northern districts of the presidency large quantities of tobacco were cultivated to be subsequently rolled into cheroot
The cheroot or stogie is a cylindrical cigar with both ends clipped during manufacture. Since cheroots do not taper, they are inexpensive to roll mechanically, and their low cost makes them particularly popular. Typically, stogies have a length of 3.5 to 6.5 inches, and a ring gauge of 34 to...

s. Trichinopoly, Madras and Dindigul were the main cheroot-producing areas. Until the discovery of artificial aniline
Aniline, phenylamine or aminobenzene is an organic compound with the formula C6H5NH2. Consisting of a phenyl group attached to an amino group, aniline is the prototypical aromatic amine. Being a precursor to many industrial chemicals, its main use is in the manufacture of precursors to polyurethane...

 and alizarine dyes, Madras possessed a thriving vegetable dye manufacturing industry. The city also imported large quantities of aluminium for the manufacture of aluminium utensils. In the early 20th century, the government established the Chrome Tanning Factory which manufactured high-quality leather. The first brewery in the Presidency was founded in the Nilgiri Hills in 1826. Coffee was cultivated in the region of Wynad and the kingdoms of Coorg and Mysore while tea was grown on the slopes of the Nilgiri Hills. Coffee plantations were also established in Travancore but a severe blight at the end of the 19th century destroyed coffee cultivation in the kingdom and almost wiped out coffee plantations in neighbouring Wynad. Coffee-curing works were located at Calicut, Tellicherry, Mangalore
Mangalore is the chief port city of the Indian state of Karnataka. It is located about west of the state capital, Bangalore. Mangalore lies between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghat mountain ranges, and is the administrative headquarters of the Dakshina Kannada district in south western...

 and Coimbatore
Coimbatore , also known as Kovai , is the second largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a major commercial centre in Tamil Nadu and is known as the "Manchester of South India"....

. In 1947, Madras had 3,761 factories with 276,586 operatives.

The presidency's fishing industry thrived, with Shark's fins, fish maws and fish curing-operations the main sources of income for fishermen. The southern port of Tuticorin was a centre of conch-fishing but Madras, along with Ceylon, was mainly known for its pearl fisheries. Pearl fisheries were harvested by the Paravas
Parava or Paravar , also known as Parathavar , Bharathar , Bharathakula Pandyar or Bharathakula Kshathriyar is a caste in southern India that in ancient times were subordinate Tamil chiefs and coastal fishermen, as well as, according at least to one modern writer, "ferocious...

 and was a lucrative profession.

The total revenue of the Presidency was Rs. 57 crores in 1946–47 made as follows: Land revenue, Rs. 8.53 crores; Excise, Rs. 14.68 crores; Income tax, Rs. 4.48 crores; Stamp revenue, Rs. 4.38 crores; forests, Rs. 1.61 crores; other taxes, Rs. 8.45 crores; Extraordinary receipts, Rs. 2.36 crores and revenue fund, Rs.5.02 crores. Total expenditure for 1946–47 was Rs. 56.99 crores. 208,675 k.v.a of electricity was generated at the end of 1948 of which 98% was under government ownership. The total amount of power generated was 467 million units.

The Madras Stock Exchange
Madras Stock Exchange
The Madras Stock Exchange is a stock exchange in Madras, , India. The Madras Stock Exchange is the fourth Stock Exchange to be established in the country, and the first in South India...

 was established in Madras city in 1920 with a strength of 100 members but gradually faded away and membership had reduced to three by 1923 when it had to be closed down. Nevertheless, the Madras Stock Exchange was successfully revived in September 1937 and was incorporated as the Madras Stock Exchange Association Limited. EID Parry
EID Parry
EID Parry Limited is a public company, headquartered in Chennai, South India, which has been in business for more than 200 years. It has many firsts to its credit, including manufacturing of fertilizers for the first time in the Indian subcontinent...

, Binny and Co.
Binny and Co.
Binny and Co. is a shipping, textile, banking and insurance firm based in the city of Chennai, India. It is one of the oldest business firms in Chennai city.- History :...

 and Arbuthnot Bank
Arbuthnot & Co
Arbuthnot & Co was a mercantile bank, based in Madras, India. It was founded as Francis Latour & Co in the late 18th century, then became Arbuthnot De Monte & Co and failed spectacularly on 22 October 1906....

 were the largest private-owned business corporations at the turn of the 20th century. EID Parry manufactured and sold chemical fertilizers and sugar while the Binnys marketed cotton garments and uniforms manufactured at its spinning and weaving facility, the Buckingham and Carnatic Mills
Buckingham and Carnatic Mills
Buckingham and Carnatic Mills , popularly known as B & C Mills, were textile mills run by Binny and Co. in the city of Chennai, India. The mills were closed down in 1996 and the site is presently used as a container freight station and is a popular venue for film shootings.- History :Messrs Binny &...

 in Otteri. Arbuthnot, owned by the Arbuthnot family, was the largest bank in the Presidency until its crash in 1906. Reduced to penury, disillusioned former Indian investors established the Indian Bank
Indian Bank
Indian Bank is a major Indian Commercial Bank headquartered in Chennai , India. It has 22,000 employees, 1923 branches and is one of the big public sector banks of India. It has overseas branches in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and 229 correspondent banks in 69 countries...

 with funds donated by Nattukottai Chetties
The Nagarathars is a Chettiar community in Shaivism that originated in Kaveripoompattinam under the Chola kingdom of India. They are a prominent mercantile Vaishya, caste in Tamil Nadu, South India...


Between 1913–14, Madras had 247 companies. In 1947, the city led in the establishment of registered factories but employed only 62% of the total productive capital.

The first Western-style banking institution in India was the Madras Bank which was established on June 21, 1683 with a capital of one hundred thousand pounds sterling. This was followed by the opening of the Carnatic Bank in 1788, the Bank of Madras in 1795 and the Asiatic Bank in 1804. In 1843, all the banks were merged together to form the Bank of Madras. The Bank of Madras had branches in all the presidency's major cities and princely states including Coimbatore, Mangalore, Calicut, Tellicherry, Alleppy
Alappuzha , also known as Alleppey, is a town in Alappuzha District of Kerala state of southern India. As per 2001 census Alleppey is the sixth largest city in Kerala with an urban population of 177,029. Alleppey is situated to the south of Kochi and north of Trivandrum...

, Cocanada, Guntur
Guntur , is a city and a municipal corporation in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, located to the north and west of the Bay of Bengal. It is approximately to the south of the national capital, New Delhi and south east of state capital, Hyderabad. Guntur is the fourth largest city in Andhra...

, Masulipatnam, Ootacamund
Ootacamund , is a town, a municipality and the district capital of the Nilgiris district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Ootacamund is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills...

, Negapataam, Tuticorin, Bangalore, Cochin and Colombo
Colombo is the largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital of the country, since Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is a satellite city of Colombo...

 in Ceylon. In 1921, the Bank of Madras merged with the Bank of Bombay and the Bank of Bengal to form the Imperial Bank of India. In the 19th century, the Arbuthnot Bank was one of the largest privately-owned banks in the Presidency. The City Union Bank
City Union Bank
City Union Bank is an Indian bank. The Kumbakonam Bank Limited, as it was at first called, was incorporated as a limited company on 31 October, 1904. The bank initially preferred the role of a regional bank in the Thanjavur District Tamil Nadu....

, the Indian Bank
Indian Bank
Indian Bank is a major Indian Commercial Bank headquartered in Chennai , India. It has 22,000 employees, 1923 branches and is one of the big public sector banks of India. It has overseas branches in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and 229 correspondent banks in 69 countries...

,Canara Bank
Canara Bank
Canara Bank is a state-owned financial services company in India. It was established in 1906, making it one of the oldest banks in the country. As on 2009 November, the bank had a network of 3057 branches, spread across India...

, Corporation Bank
Corporation Bank
Corporation Bank is an India-based banking company based in Mangalore, India. The bank was founded with an initial capital of Rs. 5000 , and first day’s canvassed resources of less than one USD 1, has currently 12,724 full time employees, and operates from several branches in India.The Bank is a...

, Nadar Bank, Karur Vysya Bank
Karur Vysya Bank
Karur Vysya Bank is a privately held Indian bank, headquartered in Karur in Tamil Nadu. It was set up in 1916 by M. A. Venkatarama Chettiar and Athi Krishna Chettiar.The bank has a branch network of 417 and an ATM network of 620 as on 28.11.2011....

, Catholic Syrian Bank
Catholic Syrian Bank
Catholic Syrian Bank Limited is a private sector bank situated in Thrissur city of Kerala state in India. Catholic Syrian Bank has 363 branches, 1 extension counter and over 125 ATMs, and a net profit of Rs 36.56 crore in 2007-08 on revenues of Rs 50 crore...

, Karnataka Bank
Karnataka Bank
Karnataka Bank Limited is a private sector banking institution based in the town of Mangalore in Karnataka, India. The Reserve Bank of India has designated Karnataka Bank as an A1+-class scheduled commercial bank....

, Bank of Chettinad
Bank of Chettinad
Bank of Chettinad is a defunct bank that originated in the Nattukottai Chettiar community.*1929: Two prominent Nattukottai Chettiar business family partnerships established the bank with its Head Office in Rangoon and registered it as a private company in India and incorporated under the Indian...

, Andhra Bank
Andhra Bank
Andhra Bank was registered on 20 November 1923 and commenced business on 28 November 1923 with a paid up capital of Rs 1.00 lakh and an authorised capital of Rs 10.00 lakhs. The Bank crossed many milestones and the Bank's Total Business as on 30.06.2008 stood at Rs.83,256 Crores with a Clientele...

,Vysya Bank
ING Vysya Bank
ING Vysya Bank is a Bangalore-based retail and commercial bank, formed after the ING Group formally merged with Vysya Bank in 2002. This merger marks the first between an Indian bank and a foreign bank.-Early years:...

, Vijaya Bank
Vijaya Bank
-History:Vijaya Bank , a medium sized bank with presence across India. It was founded on October 23, 1931 by A. B. Shetty and a few other farmers in Mangalore, Karnataka in India.. The objective was to promote banking habits, thrift and entrepreneurship among the farming community of Dakshina...

, Indian Overseas Bank
Indian Overseas Bank
Indian Overseas Bank is a major bank based in Chennai , with 2018 domestic branches and six branches overseas. Indian Overseas Bank has an ISO certified inhouse Information Technology department, which has developed the software that 2018 branches use to provide online banking to customers; the...

 and the Bank of Madura
Bank of Madura
Bank of Madura was established in 1943 by Karumuttu Thiagarajan Chettiar. It acquired Chettinad Mercantile Bank and Illanji Bank in the 1960s. Bank of Madura was a Chettiar bank with a large customer base of 2 million plus customers and a network of more than 280 branches and 40+ ATMs centres...

 were some of the leading banks headquartered in the Presidency.

Transport and communication

In the early days of the agency, the only means of transportation were bullock-carts known as jhatkas along with palanquins. Tipu Sultan was considered to be a pioneer in the construction of roads. The primary purpose of the roads connecting Madras to Calcutta in the north and the kingdom of Travancore in the south was to serve as lines of communication during wars. From the early 20th century onwards, bullock-carts and horses were gradually replaced by bicycles and motor vehicles while motor buses were the main means of private road transportation. Presidency Transport and the City Motor Service were pioneers, operating buses manufactured by Simpson and Co. as early as 1910. The first organized bus system in Madras city was operated by Madras Tramways Corporation between 1925 and 1928. The 1939 Motor Vehicles Act imposed restrictions on public-owned bus and motor services. Most of the early bus services were operated by private agencies.

The first organized initiative for the construction of new roads and maintenance of existing roads in the Presidency was made in 1845 with the appointment of a special officer for the maintenance of main roads. The principal roads under the aegis of the officer were the Madras-Bangalore road, Madras-Trichinopoly road, Madras-Calcutta road, Madras-Cuddapah road and the Sumpajee Ghaut road. A Public Works Department was initiated by Lord Dalhousie in 1852 then in 1855 an East coast canal was constructed for the purpose of easy navigation. Roadways were handled by the Public Works Secretariat which was under the control of the member of the Governor's Executive Council in charge of public works. The principal highways of the Presidency were the Madras-Calcutta road, the Madras-Travancore road and the Madras-Calicut road. By 1946–47, the Madras Presidency had 26201 miles (42,166.3 km) of metalled roads and 14406 miles (23,184.2 km) of unmetalled roads, and 1403 miles (2,257.9 km) of navigable canals.

The first railway line in South India was laid between Madras and Arcot and opened for traffic on July 1, 1856. This line was constructed by the Madras Railway Company formed in 1845. The railway station at Royapuram
Royapuram , a locality of Chennai, South India, is the place where the first railway station of south India was constructed, and from where the laying down of the second railway line of the South Asia commenced in the 1850s. This railway line extended from Royapuram to Arcot, then capital of the...

, the first in South India, was built in 1853 and served as the headquarters of the Madras Railway Company. The Great Southern Indian Railway Company was set up in the United Kingdom in 1853. and had its headquarters at Trichinopoly where it constructed its first railway line between Trichinopoly and Negapatam in 1859. The Madras Railway Company operated standard or broad-gauge railway lines while the Great South Indian Railway Company operated metre-gauge railway lines. In 1874, The Great Southern Indian Railway Company merged with the Carnatic Railway Company (established in 1864) and was renamed the Southern Indian Railway Company. The Southern Indian Railway Company merged with the Pondicherry Railway Company in 1891 while the Madras Railway Company merged with the Southern Mahratta Railway Company in 1908 to form the Madras and South Mahratta Railway Company. A new terminus was built at Egmore
Chennai Egmore
Chennai Egmore , formerly known as Madras Egmore, is a railway station in Egmore, Chennai , South India. The station acts as the arrival and departure point for trains connecting Chennai and southern, central Tamil Nadu and Kerala.This is one of the two main railway terminals in the city along with...

 for the Madras and South Mahratta Railway Company. In 1927, the South Indian Railway Company shifted its headquarters from Madurai to Chennai Central
Chennai Central
Chennai Central , erstwhile Madras Central, is the main railway terminus in the city of Chennai . It is the home of the Southern Railway and the most important rail hub in South India. The other major railway hub stations in the city are Chennai Egmore and Tambaram...

. The company operated a suburban electric train service for Madras city from May 1931 onwards. In April 1944, the Madras and South Mahratta Railway Company was taken over by the Madras Government. In 1947, there were 4961 miles (7,983.9 km) of railway in the Presidency, in addition to 136 miles (218.9 km) of district board lines. Madras was well-connected with other Indian cities such as Bombay and Calcutta and with Ceylon. The 6776 feet (2,065.3 m) Pamban railway bridge
Pamban Bridge
The Pamban Bridge is a cantilever bridge on the Palk Strait connects Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India. It refers to both the road bridge and the cantilever railway bridge, though primarily it means the latter. It was India's first sea bridge...

 connecting Mandapam
Mandapam is a panchayat town in Ramanathapuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.-Geography:Mandapam is located at . It has an average elevation of 9 metres .-Demographics:...

 on the Indian mainland with Pamban island
Pamban Island
Pamban Island , also known as Rameswaram Island, is an island located between peninsular India and Sri Lanka. The island is a part of India and is governed by the administration of Ramanathapuram district of the state of Tamil Nadu...

 was opened for traffic in 1914. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is a railway in Tamil Nadu, India, built by the British in 1908, and was initially operated by the Madras Railway Company. The railway still relies on its fleet of steam locomotives. NMR comes under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Salem Division...

 was inaugurated between Mettupalayam and Ootacamund
Ootacamund , is a town, a municipality and the district capital of the Nilgiris district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Ootacamund is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills...

 in 1899.

The Madras Tramways Corporation was promoted in Madras city in 1892 by Hutchinsons and Co. and began operating in 1895, before even London had its own tramway system. It plied six routes in Madras linking distant parts of Madras city and covered a total of 17 miles (27.4 km).

The chief navigable waterways in the presidency were the canals in the Godavari and the Kistna deltas. The Buckingham canal
Buckingham Canal
The Buckingham Canal is a long fresh water navigation canal, running parallel to the Coromandel Coast of South India from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh to Villupuram District in Tamil Nadu. The canal connects most of the natural backwaters along the coast to the port of Chennai...

 was cut in 1806 at a cost of 90 lakh
A lakh is a unit in the Indian numbering system equal to one hundred thousand . It is widely used both in official and other contexts in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and is often used in Indian English.-Usage:...

s of silver to connect the city of Madras with the delta of the Kistna river at Peddaganjam. Ships of the British India Steam Navigation Company frequently docked at Madras and provided frequent services to Bombay, Calcutta, Colombo and Rangoon.

In 1917, Simpson and Co. arranged for a test flight by the first aeroplane in Madras while a flying club was established at the Mount Golf Club grounds near St Thomas Mount by a pilot named G. Vlasto in October 1929. This site was later used as the Madras aerodrome. One of the early members of the club, Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar went on to establish an aerodrome in his native Chettinad. On October 15, 1932, Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 pilot Nevill Vintcent
Nevill Vintcent
Nevill Vintcent, O.B.E., D.F.C. was a South African aviator and airline founder.He was the son of Charles Vintcent, a South African cricketer....

 piloted J. R. D. Tata
J. R. D. Tata
Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata was a pioneer aviator and important businessman of India. He was awarded India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna in 1992 and the Legion of Honour from the French government in 1954.-Early life and education:J. R. D...

's plane carrying air-mail from Bombay to Madras via Bellary. This was the beginning of Tata Sons
Tata Airlines
Tata Airlines, a division of Tata Sons Ltd. was founded by J. R. D. Tata in 1932 as Tata Sons.It was started as a mail service between Karachi, Bombay and Madras.-The beginning:...

' regular domestic passenger and airmail service from Karachi to Madras. The flight was later re-routed through Hyderabad and became bi-weekly. On November 26, 1935, Tata Sons started an experimental weekly service from Bombay to Trivandrum via Goa and Cannanore. From February 28, 1938 onwards, Tata Sons' Aviation division, now renamed Tata Airlines, began a Karachi to Colombo airmail service via Madras and Trichinopoly. On March 2, 1938, the Bombay-Trivandrum air service was extended to Trichinopoly.

The first organized postal service was established between Madras and Calcutta by Governor Edward Harrison
Edward Harrison (British administrator)
Edward Harrison was a British aristocrat who served as the President of Madras from 11 July 1711 to 8 January 1717.- War with Gingee :...

 in 1712. After reform and regularisation, a new postal system was started by Sir Archibald Campbell and was introduced on 1 June 1786. The Presidency was divided into three postal divisions: Madras North up to Ganjam, Madras South-West to Anjengo (erstwhile Travancore) and Madras West, up to Vellore. In the same year, a link with Bombay was established then in 1837, the Madras, Bombay and Calcutta mail services were integrated to form the All-India Service. On October 1, 1854, the first stamps were issued by the Imperial Postal Service. The General Post Office (GPO), Madras, was established by Sir Archibald Campbell in 1786. In 1872–73, a bimonthly sea-mail service began between Madras and Rangoon. This was followed by the commencement of a fortnightly sea-mail service between Madras and ports on the eastern coast.

Madras was linked to the rest of the world through telegraphs in 1853 and a civilian telegraph service was introduced on February 1, 1855. Soon afterwards, telegraph lines linked Madras and Ootacamund with other cities in India. A Telegraph department was set up in 1854 and a Deputy Superintendent stationed in Madras city. In 1882, the Colombo
Colombo is the largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital of the country, since Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is a satellite city of Colombo...

Talaimannar is a settlement in Sri Lanka located on the northwestern coast of Mannar Island.- Transport :Prior to the severe destructions by a cyclone in December 1964, it was the terminus of a ferry service to India across the very shallow Palk Bay...

 telegraph line established in 1858, was extended to Madras thereby connecting the city with Ceylon. Telephones were introduced in the presidency in 1881 and on November 19, 1881, the first telephone exchange with 17 connections was established at Errabalu Street in Madras. A wireless telgraphy service was established between Madras and Port Blair in 1920 and in 1936, the Indo-Burma radio telephone service was established between Madras and Rangoon.


The first schools offering Western-style education in the presidency were established in Madras during the 18th century. In 1822, a Board of Public Instruction was created based on the recommendations of Sir Thomas Munro, after which schools teaching students in vernacular language was established. A central training school was set up in Madras as per Munro's scheme. However, this system appeared to be a failure and the policy was altered in 1836 in order to promote European literature and science. The Board of Public Instruction was superseded by a Committee for Native Education. In January 1840, during the viceroyalty of Lord Ellenborough
Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough
Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough GCB, PC was a British Tory politician. He was four times President of the Board of Control and also served as Governor-General of India between 1842 and 1844.-Background and education:...

, a University Board was established with Alexander J. Arbuthnot
Alexander John Arbuthnot
Sir Alexander John Arbuthnot KCSI CIE was a British official and writer. Educated at Rugby School.Arbuthnot served in Madras as the director of Public Instruction ; he was a key force in the incorporation of Madras University ; he was the chief secretary to the Madras Government ; he was a...

 as the Joint Director of Public Instruction. The central school was converted to a high school in April 1841 with 67 students and in 1853 became the Presidency College with the addition of a college department. On 5 September 1857, the University of Madras
University of Madras
The University of Madras is a public research university in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the three oldest universities in India...

 was established as an examining body using the University of London
University of London
-20th century:Shortly after 6 Burlington Gardens was vacated, the University went through a period of rapid expansion. Bedford College, Royal Holloway and the London School of Economics all joined in 1900, Regent's Park College, which had affiliated in 1841 became an official divinity school of the...

 as a model with the first examinations held in February 1858. C. W. Thamotharam Pillai
C. W. Thamotharampillai
C.W. Thamotharampillai also sometimes the initials are used as S.V , devoted his energies to the work of editing and publishing some of the oldest works of classical Tamil poetry and grammar.Pillai along with his contemporaries such as U. V...

 and Caroll V. Visvanatha Pillai of Ceylon were the first to graduate from the University. Sir S. Subramaniya Iyer
S. Subramania Iyer
Sir Subbier Subramania Iyer KCIE was an Indian lawyer, jurist and freedom fighter who, along with Annie Besant, founded the Home Rule Movement. He was popularly known as the "Grand Old Man of South India"....

 was the first Indian Vice-Chancellor of the University.

Similarly, Andhra University
Andhra University
Andhra University or Andhra Viswa Kala Parishad , located in Visakhapatnam, north east coastal Andhra Pradesh, is one of the older premier universities in India with a broad focus...

 was established by the Andhra University Act of 1925 and in 1937, the University of Travancore was established in the princely state of Travancore.

The Government Arts College, established in Kumbakonam
Kumbakonam , also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India , is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located 40 kilometres from Thanjavur and 272 kilometres from Chennai, it is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam...

 in 1867, was one of the first educational institutions outside Madras. The oldest engineering college in the presidency, College of Engineering, Guindy
College of Engineering, Guindy
College of Engineering, Guindy in Chennai, India, is India's oldest engineering and technical institution, having been established in 1794. Today it is one of the four constituent colleges of Anna University, Chennai....

, was established as a Government Survey School in 1794 before being upgraded to an Engineering College in 1861. Initially, only Civil Engineering
Civil engineering
Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings...

 was taught, with the further disciplines of Mechanical Engineering added in 1894, Electrical Engineering in 1930 and Telecommunication and Highways in 1945. The AC College, with its emphasis on textiles and leather technology, was founded by Alagappa Chettiar in 1944. The Madras Institute of Technology
Madras Institute of Technology
The Madras Institute of Technology is an engineering institute located in Chromepet, Chennai , India. It is one of the four autonomous constituent colleges of Anna University. It was started in 1949 by Mr. C. Rajam as the first self-financing engineering institute in the country, and later it...

, which introduced courses such as aeronautical and automobile engineering was established in 1949. In 1827, the first medical school in the Presidency was established then followed by the Madras Medical College
Madras Medical College
The Madras Medical College is an educational institution located in Chennai, India. It was established on February 2, 1835. It is the oldest medical college in India, along with the Medical College Kolkata.-History:...

 in 1835. The Government Teacher's College was established at Saidapet
Saidapet is an important neighbourhood in Chennai , India. The Saidapet Court, the only other court of judicature in Chennai city apart from the Madras High Court and the Saidapet bus depot are located here...

 in 1856.

Among the private institutions, the Pachaiyappa's College
Pachaiyappa's College
Pachaiyappa's College is one of the oldest educational institutions in Chennai, in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The college was established as Pachaiyappa's Central Institution at Popham's Broadway on January 1, 1842, from money given in Pachaiyappa Mudaliar's will. It was the first Hindu...

, established in 1842, is the oldest Hindu educational institution in the presidency. The Annamalai University
Annamalai University
Annamalai University is a Public University located in Annamalai Nagar, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India. The university offers courses of higher education in arts, sciences and engineering.The university also provides around 380 courses under distance mode...

, established by Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar in his native Chettinad in 1929, was the first university in the presidency to have hostel facilities Christian missionaries were pioneers in promoting education in the region. The Madras Christian College
Madras Christian College
The Madras Christian College, commonly known as MCC, is a liberal arts and sciences college in Madras , India. Founded in 1837, MCC is one of Asia's oldest extant colleges. Currently, the college is affiliated to the University of Madras, but functions as an autonomous institution from its campus...

, St. Aloysius College
St. Aloysius College (Mangalore)
St. Aloysius College is a Jesuit college in Mangalore, Karnataka, India. It is situated on a campus atop Light House Hill, overlooking the Arabian Sea....

 at Mangalore, Loyola College
Loyola College, Chennai
Loyola College is a Jesuit institution in Chennai, India. The college admits undergraduates and post-graduates and offers degrees in the liberal arts, sciences and commerce. It is an autonomous institution affiliated with the University of Madras.-History:...

 in Madras and the St. Peter's College at Tanjore were some of the educational institutions established by Christian missionaries.

The Madras Presidency had the highest literacy rate of all the provinces in British India. In 1901, Madras had a male literacy rate of 11.9 percent and a female literacy rate of 0.9 percent. In 1950, when the Madras Presidency became Madras State, the literacy rate was slightly higher than the national average of 18 percent. In 1901, there were 26,771 public and private institutions with 923,760 scholars of whom 784,621 were male and 139,139 female. By 1947, the number of educational institutions had increased to 37,811 and the number of scholars to 3,989,686. Apart from colleges, in 1947 there were 31,975 public and elementary schools, 720 secondary schools for boys and 4,173 elementary and 181 secondary schools for girls. Most of the early graduates were Brahmins. The preponderance of Brahmins in the universities and in the civic administration was one of the main causes for the growth of the Anti-Brahmin movement in the presidency. Madras was also the first province in British India where caste-based communal reservations were introduced.

In 1923, the Madras University Act was passed after its introduction by Education Minister A. P. Patro
A. P. Patro
Rao Bahadur Sir Annepu Parasuramdas Patro KCIE was an Oriya politician, zamindar and education minister in the erstwhile Madras Presidency....

. Under the bill's provisions, the governing body of Madras University was completely reorganized on democratic lines. The bill asserted that the governing body would henceforth be headed by a Chancellor who would be assisted by a pro-Chancellor, usually the Minister of Education. Apart from the Chancellor and the pro-Chancellor who were elected, there was to be a Vice-Chancellor appointed by the Chancellor.

Culture and society

Hindus, Muslims and Indian Christians generally followed a joint family system. The society was largely patriarchal with the eldest male member the leader of the family. Most of the presidency followed a patrilineal system of inheritance. The only exceptions were the district of Malabar and the princely states of Travancore and Cochin which practised the marumakkathayam
Marumakkathayam is a matrilinear system of inheritance which was followed by all Nair castes including of Royal Families, some of the Ambalavasis, Arayars, Ezhava, some tribal groups and Mappilas in North Malabar of Kerala state, South India. Unlike other Brahmin families, Payanoor Nambootiris...


Women were expected to confine themselves to indoor activities and the maintenance of the household. Muslims and high-caste Hindu women observed purdah
Purdah or pardeh is the practice of concealing women from men. According to one definition:This takes two forms: physical segregation of the sexes, and the requirement for women to cover their bodies and conceal their form....

. The daughter in the family rarely received an education and usually helped her mother with household chores. Upon marrying, she moved to the house of her in-laws where she was expected to serve her husband and the elder members of his family. There have been recorded instances of torture and ill treatment of daughter-in-laws. A Brahmin widow was expected to shave her head and was subjected to numerous indignities.

Rural society comprised villages where people of different communities lived together. Brahmins lived in separate streets called agraharams. Untouchables lived outside village limits in small hamlets called cheris and were strictly forbidden from having houses in the village. They were also forbidden from entering important Hindu temples or approaching high-caste Hindus.

With the influx of Western education starting from the middle of the 19th century, social reforms were introduced to remove the problems of traditional Indian society. The Malabar Marriage Act of 1896
Malabar Marriage Act, 1896
In 1896, the government of Madras passed the Malabar Marriage Act in response to the recommendations of the Malabar Marriage Commission of 1891. This allowed members of any caste practising marumakkatayam in Malabar to register a sambandham as a marriage...

 recognized sambandham
Sambandham was a form of marital system primarily followed by the Nairs in what is the present-day Indian state of Kerala. This system of marriage was followed by the matriarchal castes of Kerala, though today the custom has ceased to exist...

contracts as legal marriages while the marmakkathayam system was abolished by the Marmakkathayam Law of 1933. Numerous measures were taken to improve the lot of Dalit
Dalit is a designation for a group of people traditionally regarded as Untouchable. Dalits are a mixed population, consisting of numerous castes from all over South Asia; they speak a variety of languages and practice a multitude of religions...

 outcasts. The Thirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams Act (1933), included Dalits in the devasthanams administration. The presidemcy's Temple Entry Authorization Act (1939) and its Temple Entry Proclamation (1936) of Travancore were aimed at elevating the status of Dalit and other low castes to a position equal to that of high-caste Hindus. In 1872, T. Muthuswamy Iyer
T. Muthuswamy Iyer
Sir Thiruvarur Muthuswamy Iyer KCIE was an Indian lawyer who, in 1877, became the first native Indian to be appointed as judge of the Madras High Court. He also acted as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court in 1893....

 established the Widow Remarriage Association in Madras and advocated the re-marriage of Brahmin widows. The devadasi
In Hinduism, the devadasi tradition is a religious tradition in which girls are "married" and dedicated to a deity or to a temple and includes performance aspects such as those that take place in the temple as well as in the courtly and mujuvani [telegu] or home context. Dance and music were...

system was regulated in 1927 and completely abolished on November 26, 1947. The Widow Re-marriage movement was spearheaded in the Godavari district by Kandukuri Veeresalingam
Kandukuri Veeresalingam
Rao Bahadur Kandukuri Veeresalingam , also known as Kandukuri Veeresalingham Pantulu , was a social reformer of Andhra Pradesh. He was born in an orthodox Niyogi Telugu Brahmin family...

. Most of the pioneers of social reform were Indian nationalists.

Traditional pastimes and forms of recreation in rural areas were cock-fighting, bull-fighting
Jallikattu or Eruthazhuvuthal or Manju Virattu is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations usually on Mattu Pongal day. This is one of the oldest living ancient sports seen in the modern era. Although it sounds similar to the Spanish running of the bulls, it is...

, village fairs and plays. Men in urban areas indulged in social and communistic activities at recreational clubs, music concerts or sabhas, dramas and welfare organizations. Carnatic music
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

 and bharatanatyam
Bharata Natyam or Chadhir Attam, is a classical dance form from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, practiced predominantly in modern times by women. The dance is usually accompanied by classical Carnatic music...

 were especially patronized by the upper and upper-middle class Madras society. Of the sports introduced by the British in the presidency, cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

, tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

, football and hockey
Hockey is a family of sports in which two teams play against each other by trying to maneuver a ball or a puck into the opponent's goal using a hockey stick.-Etymology:...

 were the most popular. An annual cricket tournament, known as the Madras Presidency Matches
Madras Presidency Matches
The Madras Presidency Matches were annual first-class cricket matches played in Madras from the 1915-16 season to 1951-52 between the cricket teams of Indians and the Europeans . The matches were played in the Chepauk Grounds usually in mid-January around the time of Pongal festival...

, was held between Indians and Europeans during Pongal
Thai Ponggal is a harvest festival celebrated by Tamils in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Indian Union Territory of Pondicherry and in Sri Lanka. Pongal coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi celebrated throughout India. Pongal in Tamil means "boiling over" or "spill over". The boiling...


The presidency's first newspaper, the Madras Courier, was started on October 12, 1785 by Richard Johnston, a printer employed by the British East India Company. The first Indian-owned English-language newspaper was The Madras Crescent which was established by freedom-fighter Gazulu Lakshminarasu Chetty
Gazulu Lakshminarasu Chetty
Gazulu Lakshminarasu Chetty CSI was an Indian merchant, Indian independence activist and political activist who founded the Madras Native Association and the first Indian-owned newspaper, The Crescent....

 in October 1844. Lakshminarasu Chetty is also credited with the foundation of the Madras Presidency Association which was a forerunner of the Indian National Congress. The number of newspapers and periodicals published in the presidency totalled 821 in 1948. The two most popular English-language newspapers were The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu is an Indian English-language daily newspaper founded and continuously published in Chennai since 1878. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, it has a circulation of 1.46 million copies as of December 2009. The enterprise employed over 1,600 workers and gross income reached $40...

established by G. Subramania Iyer
G. Subramania Iyer
Ganapathy Dikshitar Subramania Iyer was a leading Indian journalist, social reformer and freedom fighter who founded 'The Hindu' newspaper on September 20, 1878...

 in 1878, and The Mail
The Madras Mail
The Mail, known as The Madras Mail till 1928, was an English-language daily evening newspaper published in the Madras Presidency from 1868 to 1981.- History :...

, established as the Madras Times by the Gantz family in 1868.

Regular radio service in the presidency commenced in 1938 when All India Radio
All India Radio
All India Radio , officially known since 1956 as Akashvani , is the radio broadcaster of India and a division of Prasar Bharati. Established in 1936, it is the sister service of Prasar Bharati's Doordarshan, the national television broadcaster. All India Radio is one of the largest radio networks...

 established a station in Madras. Cinemas became popular in the 1930s and 1940s with the first film in a South Indian language, R. Nataraja Mudaliar's Tamil film Keechaka Vadham, released in 1916. The first sound films in Tamil and Telugu were made in 1931 while the first Kannada talkie Sati Sulochana was made in 1934 and the first Malayalam talkie Balan in 1938. There were film studios at Coimbatore, Salem, Madras and Karaikudi
Karaikudi is a town in Sivaganga District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.Chettinad literally 'Chetti land' in Tamil, is a collection of 76 villages/towns. Chettinad stretched from Ramnad District and Pudukottai State of 'British' India. The Chettiars, or more properly the Nattukottai...

. Most early films were made in Coimbatore and Salem but from the 1940s onwards, Madras began to emerge as the principal center of film production. Until the 1950s, most films in Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam were made in Madras.

Image:Tamil brahmin couple circa 1945.jpg|A Westernized middle-class urban Tamil Brahmin couple. c.a .1945
Image:Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar aerodrome.JPG|Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar
Raja Annamalai Chettiar
Raja Sir Satappa Ramanatha Muttaiya Annamalai Chettiar KCSI , also known as S. Rm. M. Annamalai Chettiar, was an Indian industrialist, banker, educationist and philanthropist, who is largely remembered for his social work and endowments in Tamil Nadu...

 (third from left) at his aerodrome
An aerodrome, airdrome or airfield is a term for any location from which aircraft flight operations take place, regardless of whether they involve cargo, passengers or neither...

 in Chettinad
Chettinad is a region of the Sivaganga district of southern Tamil Nadu state, India. Karaikudi is known as the capital of Chettinad , which includes Karaikudi and 74 other villages...

. c.a. 1940
Image:Ambikapathycolour.jpg|Tamil film actor M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar
M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar
Mayavaram Krishnamurthy Thyagaraja Bhagavathar , also called M.K.T., was a Tamil film actor, producer and Carnatic music singer. He is considered to be one of the most successful Tamil film actors ever....

Image:Nambudiri house 1909.jpg|A Namboodiri Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

's house, c.a. 1909
Image:Hindu devotees Secunderamalai Madurai.jpg|Hindu devotees in procession around the temple at Tirupparamkunram
Tirupparamkunram is a small township, located 10 km from the city of Madurai, in South India. It is renowned for the Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple dedicated to Lord Muruga, a Hindu God who is revered by the people of South India...

, c.a. 1909
Image:Kapu bride and groom 1909.jpg|Telugu
Telugu people
The Telugu people or Telugu Prajalu are an ethnic group of India. They are the native speakers of the Telugu language, the most commonly spoken language in India after Hindi and Bengali...

 bride and groom belonging to the Kapu
Kapu (caste)
Kapu refers to a social grouping of the sub-castes Telaga, Balija found primarily in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The etymology of the name is variously given as "to protect",, "agricultor" , "watchman", or "watching"...

 caste, c.a. 1909
Image:Cajetan Lobo Prabhu.jpg|A Mangalorean Catholic gentleman belonging to the Bamonn
Roman Catholic Brahmin
The Roman Catholic Brahmin, also referred to asBamonn in Konkani, is a caste among the Goan and Mangalorean Catholics, of modern-day descendants of Konkani Brahmin converts to Roman Catholicism.-Origins:In Goa, the Brahmins were originally engaged in the priestly occupation, but had taken up...

caste, c. a. 1938
Image:Kalki 03 1948.jpg|Cover of Tamil magazine Kalki
Kalki (magazine)
Kalki is a Tamil magazine published from Chennai, Tamilnadu. The magazine was established by Kalki Krishnamurthy, a popular Tamil novelist and Indian freedom fighter. The magazine was very famous for its publication of historic novels by Kalki such as Ponniyin Selvan and Sivagamiyin Sabadham....

issue dated March 28, 1948
Image:William Henry Jackson-Refreshment stall.jpg|Refreshment stall at a railway station in the Madras Presidency, c. a. 1895

See also

  • History of Tamil Nadu
    History of Tamil Nadu
    The region of Tamil Nadu in modern India has been under continuous human habitation since prehistoric times, and the history of Tamil Nadu and the civilization of the Tamil people are among the oldest in the world. Throughout its history, spanning the early Paleolithic age to modern times, this...

  • Governors Of Madras
    Governors of Madras
    -English Agents:In 1639, the grant of Madras to the English was finalized between the factors of the Masulipatnam factory, represented by Francis Day, and the Raja of Chandragiri. In 1640, Andrew Cogan, the chief of the Masulipatnam factory, made his way to Madras in the company of Francis Day and...

  • South India
    South India
    South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

  • Dravidian peoples
    Dravidian peoples
    Dravidian peoples is a term used to refer to the diverse groups of people who natively speak languages belonging to the Dravidian language family. Populations of speakers of around 220 million are found mostly in Southern India. Other Dravidian people are found in parts of central India, Sri Lanka,...

External links

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