1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kodungalur

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KODUNGALUR (or Cranganur), a town of southern India, in Cochin state, within the presidency of Madras. Though now a place of little importance, its historical interest is considerable. Tradition assigns to it the double honour of having been the first field of St Thomas's labours (A.D. 52) in India and the seat of Cheraman Perumal's government. The visit of St Thomas is generally considered mythical; but it is certain that the Syrian Church was firmly established here before the 9th century (Burnell), and probably the Jews' settlement was still earlier. The latter, in fact, claim to hold grants dated A.D. 378. The cruelty of the Portuguese drove most of the Jews to Cochin. Up to 1314, when the Vypin harbour was formed, the only opening in the Cochin backwater, and outlet for the Periyar, was at Kodungalur, which must then have been the best harbour on the coast. In 1502 the Syrian Christians invoked the protection of the Portuguese. In 1523 the latter built their first fort there, and in 1565 enlarged it. In 1661 the Dutch took the fort, the possession of which for the next forty years was contested between this nation, the zamorin, and the raja of Kodungalur. In 1776 Tippoo seized the stronghold. The Dutch recaptured it two years later, and, having ceded it to Tippoo in 1784, sold it to the Travancore raja, and again in 1789 to Tippoo, who destroyed it in the following year. The country round Kodungalur now forms an autonomous principality, tributary to the raja of Cochin.