French, Dutch, English and Nawab connections to Machilipatnam

VIJAYAWADA: The people of Machilipatnam and surrounding districts are happy over fulfilling of the long-pending dream of Machilipatnam (Bandar) port construction and recalling the association of Bandar with French, Dutch, English and Nawab rulers.

Notably, several localities in Machilipatnam carry the names of Dutch, French, English and Nawabs and several monuments testify to the past associations.

As per history, Machilipatnam came into existence from the time of Satavahana Kings in the 3rd Century BC. During that period, Bandar was known as Maisolos and Masalia. In 1478, Machilipatnam came under Muhammad Shah Bahamani II. In 1515, Sri Krishna Devaraya defeated the king.

After this, the city was captured by Orissa rulers like Golconda King and Quli Qutb Shah. Meanwhile, European traders, particularly the Portuguese and Dutch, established their trade centers near the port. The British came to the port and set up their factory there in 1611.

Machilipatnam was a port of call for the British, French and Dutch in the course of their merchandise and journey through the seas for trade in Europe, Southeast Asia and Southeast.

During that time, the major export items from here were diamonds, spices, turmeric, muslin cloth, kalamkari fabrics and potassium nitrate.

The Golconda kings were defeated by the Emperor of Delhi during a conquest. Later, with the entry of foreign traders and due to frequent wars and disasters, the growth of Machilipatnam stopped in its tracks.

In 1779, the city faced a major cyclone, in which almost 20,000 people were killed and the Dutch Factory got damaged.

Machilipatnam reestablished itself once again during colonial rule as the British East India Company set up their first trading post on the Coromandel Coast.

The Bandar locals say Dutch, French, English and Portuguese traders came to Machilipatnam and left their footprints. In the year 1602, the Dutch first entered Machilipatnam via the sea route from Holland and settled in Machavaram of Bandar. The traders who came from Holland were called Hollandeeyulu or Hollandeeya, which turned into Vollandeeya, and the settlement of the Vollandeeya people came to be known as Vollandeyapalem.

Over the years, this turned into Valandapalem. There also exists a Dutch cemetery there, which is being maintained by the ASI.

Parasupeta is named after French traders who came to Machilipatnam from Paris in 1756. The people who came from France were called Faraasulu or Paraasulu and their settlement was called Parasupeta or the French Peta.

Locals said English Palem belongs to Britishers, who entered Machilipatnam in 1611 and settled there for hundreds of years. The Britishers mainly lived in Rangrez palem, the land of Rangrezulus or people who used to dye clothes. The Muslim population called it Angrezulu. With the entry of the British, over time, it came to be known as English Palem. This name exists till date, though no Brit lives here now.

Another locality is Robertsonpeta named after a European by name Robertson. In 1816, he served as the collector of Krishna district. Then it was a combination of the present Guntur, East and West Godavari and Krishna districts. He constructed a huge market in this area which is still operational.

Sultana Nagaram and other Muslim localities related to the Golconda Nawab regime.

Bandar MLA Perni Venkataramaiah said that with the Bandar port construction, Machilipatnam would regain its past glory and international trade activity. It would flourish as the main port of AP in future, he hoped.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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