Cochin is popularly referred to as the Gateway of South India. In fact Cochin has been an important link to the rest of the world since ancient times. Cochin is basically a collection of islands and narrow peninsulas and can be mainly divided into Ernakulum, Willington Island, Mattancherry and Fort Cochin, spreading in an area of around eighty seven sq.kms. Ernakulum is the business centre and forms the main land. It is separated from Fort Cochin and Mattancherry by the river Periyar that flows down to the Arabian Sea. Cochin has the finest natural harbors in the world around which the city has grown. Cochin now known as Kochi is known to be a chief trading centre in ancient India, with the bulk of export consisting mainly of Indian spices.
When we think about Cochin we can visualize that, it is supposed to have trade relations with Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Jews and Chinese. By the turn of the 16th century, European voyagers and traders started rushing towards the Malabar Coast and many of them sought settlement in Cochin and its adjoining areas. Soon the Portuguese became the masters of the region and the entire area of Kochi came under their control. The Dutch, supported by the Zamorins, defeated the Portuguese and took control of the city. In 1773, the Malabar region was conquered by Hyder Ali, the King of Mysore and Kochi was forced to be a tributary of Mysore. The British got control of Cochin as a result of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty signed in 1814 and subsequently, they made it a municipality. The port was redesigned and developed further to make it suitable for handling a large volume of cargo, which had by now increased to a substantial level. The Maharaja continued to rule under the British guidance and the area was given the status of a princely state. The Maharaja joined the Indian Union, when the British left the area in 1947. When Kerala was formed as a new state, Cochin was made a part of it however it was in 1967 when the corporation of Cochin came into existence after merging the existing municipalities of Fort Kochi, Ernakulum and Mattancherry.
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