Day, Francis (DNB00)

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DAY, FRANCIS (d. 1642), the founder of Madras, is first mentioned in the records of the East India Company as the founder of a factory at Armagaum, a small port in the Nellore district, in 1625. This was the second in date of the English settlements on the eastern or Coromandel coast of India, and soon grew to be next in importance to the English factory at Masulipatam. Both these factories were, however, in much danger both from native powers and from the Dutch, who had settlements close at hand, and in 1638 the East India Company again sent Day to India with special directions to find a spot more suited for the headquarters of their possessions on that coast. After much exploration he fixed upon a site adjoining the Portuguese settlement of St. Thomé, and in 1639 purchased from the Rájá of Chandragiri, on behalf of the company, a tract of land five miles along the coast and one mile inland for the new settlement. In March 1639 he built the factory and protected it with a fort, occupied by a hundred men, to which he gave the name of Fort St. George, which is still the official name of the great city and presidency of Madras. The original fort was only four hundred yards long by a hundred deep, and cost about 3,500l., but it served the purpose of protecting the infant settlement, where its founder, Day, died in 1642.

[Higginbotham's Men whom India has known; Wheeler's Early Records of the Madras Presidency; Mill's Hist. of British India.]

H. M. S.