Friday, April 18, 2014

Evolution of Fort St.George 1746 (As Documented by Col.DM Reid)

Map Prepared by Col. DM Reid. Exhibits Evolutions and Developments in Fort St.George during 1711 - 1746
The French siege of Madras in 1746 and city surrendered in September 1746. (Wikimedia Commons)
Surrender of the City of Madras 1746 (Wikimedia Commons)

At the Fort Museum, one can see maps and illustrations which documents the evolution of the fort and settlement over the centuries. Col. D.M.Reid (Douglas Muir Reid) prepared drawings of the fort with Madras volunteers. These drawings describe the evolution of this fort. He has also written a book title: 'The Story of Fort St. George.'

1711 -- First Printing Press erected in Madras.

Removal of the inner walls surrounding the Fort House, its rubble used to form the Fort Square.

The trading rivalry among the East India Companies of Dutch and Portuguese made them to disappear from Indian markets. The East India Companies of British and French competed each other for Indian markets. Their rivalry had been growing in intensity.

1735 -- Chintadripet was formed.

1740 to 1763 -- In India the French and British forces locked in a conflict for economic and political fortune. In Southern India these two trading companies engaged in three Carnatic wars.

The French decision to participate in the War of the Austrian Succession displeased Britain and even triggered them to dispatch a Royal Navy squadron under Commodore Curtis Barnett to raid and harass French settlements in India.

1742 -- Veperi, Perimet, Perambur and Pudupakkam annexed to the city.

1945 -- Royal Navy attacked few French ships and break up commerce and the downfall of many top French merchants resulted.  The French also dispatched a similarly-sized fleet under the Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais to counter attack British. There were inconclusive battles between these two fleets and the fleets were withdrawn to repair. Pondicherry became the French base.

1746 -- Santhome and Mylapore annexed to the City.

Bertrand François Mahé de La Bourdonnais
The French Governor of Pondicherry Dupleix authorised an attack on Madras. On 7 September 1746 -  Joseph Francois Dupleix troops and ships of La Bourdonnais engaged an expedition of French campaign designed to siege and capture Madras from the British Company.

Dupleix Jean Francois estampe
The French ships opened fire and French troops bombarded from both land and shore. The poor  fortifications of Madras were largely unable to resist such an attack.

On 9 September Nicholas Morse, the Governor of Madras sued for peace and offered the fort and warehouses for the French to take over and was seeking consent to retain the rest of the town under British control. The treaty emerged between La Bourdonnais and Nicholas Morse. Due to violent storm during October La Bourdonnais withdraw his fleet to Pondicherry and Dupleix took charge of the siege and brought the entire Fort under his control and was even willing to loot and destroy the Fort.  Many buildings were considerably damaged and most of them lost their upper floors. The St. Mary's Church was the only one that survived.

1746-49 -- For the next three years, Madras remained under French Governors, until 1749.  Mahe de la Bordannais served as acting Governor for a period of 22 days (From 10 September 1746  to 2 October 1746) and Jean-Jacques Duval d'Eprémesnil served between 2 October 1746 and August 1749. The French destroyed part of Black Town for security reasons.


Madras was handed over back to the British as per the Treaty of Aix-la-Chappele.
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