Place:Chandannagar, Hooghly, West Bengal, India


Alt namesChandernagarsource: Wikipedia
Chandernagoresource: Wikipedia
TypeCity or town
Coordinates22.85°N 88.35°E
Located inHooghly, West Bengal, India
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Chandannagar or Chandernagore is a city and a municipal corporation of Hooghly district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is headquarter of Chandannagore subdivision. It is a part of the area covered by Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA). It is a former French colony, located in the western bank of Hooghly River. The city has been able to maintain a unique identity different from all other cities and abide by her own characteristics.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Chandannagar came into being colonial times, proved conclusively by the fact that no mention of the town is found in medieval Bengali texts like Chandimangal and Manasamangal. Historians are of the opinion that the French created the town by amalgamating various smaller localities in the area. The three notable villages to be incorporated were Gondolpara to the South, Boro in the North and Khalisani to the West. The name "Chandernagor" can be first found in the letter dated 1696, intended for the officials of French East India Company, dispatched by Andre Boureau Deslandes and Palle, French officials posted in Chandernagore.

The First Director of the French East India Company, Deslandes paid 40,000 coins to the Mughal subahdar in 1688 to gain control of the area and build a factory there. But the first Frenchman to possess any subsequent land holding in this area was Du Plessis who bought land of 13 Arpents at Boro Kishanganj, now located at North Chandannagar for Taka 401 in the year 1673-74.

The prosperity of Chandannagar as a French colony started soon after. At this time the Company establishment consisted of 1 Director, and 5 members who formed a council, 15 merchants and shopkeepers, 2 notaries, 2 padres, 2 doctors and 1 Sutradhar. The army consisted of 130 foot soldiers, 20 among them were Indians. The Fort de Orleans was constructed in the year 1696-97 and was better defended than its French and British counterparts. After the initial success the French trade languished due to the lax policy of its Directors.

In 1730 Joseph François Dupleix was appointed governor of the city, during whose administration more than two thousand brick houses were erected in the town and a considerable maritime trade was carried on. It also attracted people from all over India who came and settled here for trade and commerce. The population of the city reached to be around a lakh at this time and the fledgling town of Calcutta was a poor cousin of Chandannagar. From Dupleix's time to 1756, Chandannagar was the main center for European commerce in Bengal. The city had thriving centres of trade involving Opium, Indigo, Silk, Rice, Rope, Sugar etc. The fine clothes of Chandannagar was imported to Europe.

One of the premier men of the town who made it big at this time was Indranarayan Chaudhari. He had arrived at the end of the seventeenth century from Jessore as an orphan sheltered at his maternal grandfather's house. He secured a job at the Company out of his own industriousness and then went on to gain a tremendous fortune being associated with the burgeoning trade of the Company. When the British seized his house after the sack of 1756, cash and jewelry worth 65 lakhs was secured from his house alone. Nandadulal Temple, a temple to Krishna established by him still houses the secret chamber in which he reportedly hid his immense fortune which was later recovered by Clive. Maharaj Krishna Chandra of Krishnanagar would often come to him to lend money.

In 1756 war broke out between France and Great Britain, and Colonel Robert Clive of the British East India Company and Admiral Charles Watson of the British Navy bombarded and captured Chandannagar on 23 March 1757. The town's fortifications and many houses were demolished thereafter, and Chandannagar's importance as a commercial center was eclipsed by that of Calcutta situated down river. Chandernagore was restored to the French in 1763, but retaken by the British in 1794 in the Napoleonic Wars. The city was returned to France in 1816, along with a enclave of surrounding territory. It was governed as part of French India until 1850, under the political control of the governor-general in Pondicherry. By 1900 the town's former commercial importance was gone, and it was little more than a quiet suburb of Calcutta, with a population of 25,000 (1901). But it was noted for its clean wide thoroughfares, with many elegant residences along the riverbank. The chief festival of French Chandernagore was the Fete National, commemorating the establishment of the French Republic.

Like the other three French occupied colonies of India, Chandernagore was under Pondicherry. There was only one Governor for the entire French India. He lived in the principal city of Pondicherry, from time to time he would visit the colonies. There was one Administrator under the Governor in each colony. Though there were courts and magistrates here, a separate judge used to come from Pondicherry for session trials. There was a High court in Pondicherry for filing an appeal. The Collectorates, the Education Department, the Housing Department etc. were all under the said department of Pondicherry. One Inspector from France used to come here every year for inspecting all the affairs. The French Consul who lived in Calcutta had no connection with the administration of Chandernagore.

Formerly the government kept a troop of sepoys to help maintenance of peace in the town. It is known that Chandernagore had two divisions of infantry during 1743-45. Under the terms of the treaty it had no alternative but to keep not more than 15 soldiers.

The laws of this place were not separate, laws were the same in regard to all the colonies and they were drawn up by the Minister of the Interior of France. In the councils of Depute and Senateur of France there was one representative elected by the citizens and representatives of French India in each.

Though no Indian ever got a place in the Councils of Depute and Senateur, the citizens of Chandernagore had the right to be elected to those seats.

A Municipality was created here on 1 August 1880. Charles Dumaine became the first Mayor.

There was a post called 'Notaire' like the Registrar of British India. All the deeds as for testament, sale and purchase, debts and dues were registered by him.

The judicial system even passed a few death sentences in the town. Two persons named Sk. Abdul Panjari and Hiru Bagdi were sentenced to death for the first time on 26 January 1883. The guillotine was used to carry out capital punishment and was used in the town for the last time on 22 July 1895.

Merger with India

India became independent from Britain in 1947. In June 1948 the French Government held a plebiscite which found that 97% of Chandannagar's residents wished to become part of India. In May 1950, the French allowed the Indian government to assume de facto control over Chandannagar, officially ceding the city to India on 2 February 1951. De jure transfer took place on 9 June 1952.

On 2 October 1954 Chandannagar was integrated into the state of West Bengal.

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