French India

French India

Infobox Former Country
native_name = Établissements français de l'Inde
conventional_long_name = French India
common_name = India
continent = moved from Category:Asia to South Asia
region = South Asia
country = India
empire = France
status = Colony
era = Imperialism
year_start = 1769
year_end = 1954
event_start =Treaty of Paris
date_start = January 18
date_end = November 1
event_end = De-facto Transfer
p1 = French East India Company
flag_p1=Flag_of_medieval_France.pngs1 = Pondicherry
flag_s1 = Flag of India.svg

symbol=Coat of arms of France
symbol_type=Coat of arms

image_map_caption = Maximum extent of French influence (1741-1754)
national_motto = Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
national_anthem = La Marseillaise
capital = Pondichéry
common_languages = French, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam
stat_year1 = 1948
stat_area1 = 510
stat_year2 = 1948
stat_pop2 = 332045
title_leader = Governor General of French India
currency = French Indian Rupee

French India is a general name for the former French possessions in India. These included Pondichéry (now Puducherry), Karikal and Yanaon (now Yañam) on the Coromandel Coast, Mahé on the Malabar coast, and Chandannagar in Bengal. In addition there were lodges ("loges") located at Machilipatnam, Kozhikode and Surat, but they were merely nominal remnants of French factories.

The total area amounted to 203 mi² (526 km²), of which 113 mi² (293 km²) belonged to the territory of Pondichéry. In 1901 the total population amounted to 273,185.


The first French expedition to India is believed to have taken place in the reign of Francis I, when two ships were fitted out by some merchants of Rouen to trade in eastern seas; they sailed from Le Havre and were never afterwards heard of. In 1604 a company was granted letters patent by Henry IV, but the project failed. Fresh letters patent were issued in 1615, and two ships went to India, only one returning.

"La Compagnie française des Indes orientales" (French East India Company) was formed under the auspices of Cardinal Richelieu (1642) and reconstructed under Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1664), sending an expedition to Madagascar. In 1667 the French India Company sent out another expedition, under the command of François Caron (who was accompanied by a Persian named Marcara), which reached Surat in 1668 and established the first French factory in India.Fact|date=March 2008 In 1669, Marcara succeeded in establishing another French factory at Masulipatam. In 1672, Saint Thomas was taken but the French were driven out by the Dutch. Chandernagore (present-day Chandannagar) was established in 1673, with the permission of Nawab Shaista Khan, the Mughal governor of Bengal. In 1674, the French acquired Valikondapuram from the Sultan of Bijapur and thus the foundation of Pondichéry was laid. By 1720, the French lost their factories at Surat, Masulipatam and Bantam to the British.

On February 4, 1673, Bellanger, a French officer, took up residence in the Danish Lodge in Pondichéry and the French Period of Pondichéry began. In 1674 François Martin, the first Governor, started to build Pondichéry and transformed it from a small fishing village into a flourishing port-town. The French were in constant conflict, in India, with the Dutch and the English. In 1693 the Dutch took over and fortified Pondichéry considerably. The French regained the town in 1699 through the Treaty of Ryswick signed on September 20, 1697.

Between 1720 and 1741, the objectives of the French were purely commercial. The French occupied Yanam (about 840 km north-east of Pondichéry on Andhra Coast) in 1723, Mahe on Malabar Coast in 1725 and Karaikal (about 150 km south of Pondichéry) in 1739. After 1742 political motives began to overshadow the desire for commercial gain. All factories were fortified for the purpose of defence.

In the 18th century the town of Pondichéry was laid out on a grid pattern and grew considerably. Able Governors like Pierre Christoph Le Noir (1726-1735) and Pierre Benoît Dumas (1735-1741) expanded the Pondichéry area and made it a large and rich town. Soon after his arrival in 1741, the most famous French Governor of Pondichéry and all French India, Joseph François Dupleix began to cherish the ambition of a French Empire in India but his superiors had less interest. French ambition clashed with the British interests in India and a period of military skirmishes and political intrigues began. Under the command of the Marquis de Bussy-Castelnau, Dupleix's army successfully controlled the area between Hyderabad and Cape Comorin. But then Robert Clive arrived in India in 1744, a dare-devil British officer who dashed the hopes of Dupleix to create a French Colonial India.
After a defeat and failed peace talks, Dupleix was recalled to France in 1754. In spite of a treaty between the British and French not to interfere in local politics, the intrigues continued. For example, in this period the French were also expanding their influence at the court of the Nawab of Bengal, and expanding their trade volume in Bengal. In 1756, the French encouraged the Nawab (Siraj ud-Daulah) to attack and conquer the British Fort William in Calcutta. This led to the Battle of Plassey in 1757 where the British decisively defeated the Nawab and his French allies, and extended British power over the entire province of Bengal.

Subsequently France sent Lally-Tollendal to regain the French losses and chase the British out of India. Lally arrived in Pondichéry in 1758, had some initial success and razed Fort St. David in Cuddalore District to the ground in 1758, but strategic mistakes by Lally led to the loss of the Hyderabad region, the Battle of Wandiwash, and the siege of Pondichéry in 1760. In 1761 Pondichéry was razed to the ground in revenge and lay in ruins for 4 years. The French had lost their hold now in South India too.

In 1765 Pondichéry was returned to France after a peace treaty with Britain in Europe. Governor Jean Law de Lauriston set to rebuild the town on the old foundations and after five months 200 European and 2000 Tamil houses had been erected. During the next 50 years Pondichéry changed hands between France and Britain with the regularity of their wars and peace treaties.

In 1816, after the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, the five establishments of Pondichéry, Chandranagore, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam and the loges at Machilipattnam, Kozhikode and Surat were returned to France. Pondichéry had lost much of its former glory, and Chandernagore was eclipsed as a trading centre by the nearby British establishment of Calcutta (present-day Kolkata). Successive governors improved infrastructure, industry, law and education over the next 138 years.

By decree of the January 25, 1871, French India was provided with an elective general council (Conseil général) and elective local councils (Conseil local). The results of this measure were not very satisfactory, and the qualifications for and the classes of the franchise were modified. The governor resided at Pondichéry, and was assisted by a council. There were two "Tribunals d'instance" (Tribunals of first instance) (at Pondichéry and Karikal) one "Cour d'appel" (Court of Appeal) (at Pondichéry) and five "Justices de paix" (Justice of the Peace). The agricultural produce consisted of rice, earth-nuts, tobacco, betel nuts and vegetables.

The independence of India in August 1947 gave impetus to the union of France's Indian possessions with former British India. The lodges in Machilipatnam, Kozhikode and Surat were ceded to India in October 1947. An agreement between France and India in 1948 agreed to an election in France's remaining Indian possessions to choose their political future. Governance of Chandernagore was ceded to India on 2 May 1950, and was merged with West Bengal state on 2 October 1955. On November 1, 1954, after long years of freedom struggle the four enclaves of Pondichéry, Yanam, Mahe, and Karikal were "de facto" transferred to the Indian Union and became the Union Territory of Pondichéry. The "de jure" union of French India with India did not take place until 1963, when the French Parliament in Paris ratified the treaty with India.

=List of Governors of French Establishments in India= Commissaires:
* François Caron, 1668 - 1672
* François Baron, 1672-1681
* François Martin, 1681 – November 1693 Dutch occupation, September 1693 - September 1699 <-- Treaty of Ryswick (1697) Gouverneurs Généraux:
* François Martin, September 1699 - December 31 1706
* Pierre Dulivier, January 1707-July 1708
* Guillaume André d'Hébert, 1708 - 1712
* Pierre Dulivier, 1712 -1717
* Guillaume André d'Hébert, 1717 - 1718
* Pierre André Prévost de La Prévostière, August 1718 – 11 October 1721
* Pierre Christoph Le Noir (Acting), 1721-1723
* Joseph Beauvollier de Courchant, 1723&ndash;1726
* Pierre Christoph Le Noir, 1726&ndash;1734
* Pierre Benoît Dumas, 1734&ndash;1741
* Joseph François Dupleix, January 14 1742 - October 15 1754
* Charles Godeheu, Le commissaire (Acting), October 15 1754&ndash;1754
* Georges Duval de Leyrit, 1754&ndash;1758
* Thomas Arthur, comte de Lally-Tollendal, 1758 – January 16 1761 First British occupation, January 15 1761 - June 25 1765 <-- Treaty of Paris (1763)
* Jean Law de Lauriston, 1765&ndash;1766
* Antoine Boyellau, 1766&ndash;1767
* Jean Law de Lauriston, 1767 – January 1777
* Guillaume de Bellecombe, seigneur de Teirac, January 1777&ndash;1782
* Charles Joseph Pâtissier, Marquis de Bussy-Castelnau, 1783&ndash;1785
* Le Vicomte, François de Souillac, 1785
* David Charpentier de Cossigny, October 1785&ndash;1787
* Thomas, comte de Conway, October 1787&ndash;1789
* Camille Charles Leclerc, Chevalier de Fresne,1789&ndash;1792
* Dominique Prosper de Chermont, November 1792&ndash;1793
* L. Leroux de Touffreville, 1793 Second British occupation, August 23 179318 June 1802 <-- Treaty of Amiens (1802)
* Charles Matthieu Isidore, Comte Decaen, June 18 1802 - August 1803
* Louis François Binot, 1803

Third British occupation, August 1803 – 26 September 1816 <-- Treaty of Paris (1814)
* André Julien Comte Dupuy, September 26 1816 – October 1825
* Joseph Cordier, Marie Emmanuel (Acting), October 1825 – June 19 1826
* Eugène Panon, Comte Desbassayns de Richemont, 1826 – August 2 1828
* Joseph Cordier, Marie Emmanuel (Acting), August 2 1828April 11 1829
* Auguste Jacques Nicolas Peureux de Mélay, April 11 1829May 3 1835
* Hubert Jean Victor, Marquis de Saint-Simon, May 3 1835 – April 1840
* Paul de Nourquer du Camper, April 1840 - 1844
* Louis Pujol, 1844 - 1849
* Hyacinth Marie de Lalande de Calan, 1849 - 1850
* Philippe Achille Bédier, 1851 - 1852
* Raymond de Saint-Maur, August 1852 - April 1857
* Alexandre Durand d'Ubraye, April 1857 - January 1863
* Napoléon Joseph Louis Bontemps, January 1863 - June 1871
* Antoine-Léonce Michaux, June 1871 - November 1871
* Pierre Aristide Faron, November 1871 - 1875
* Adolph Joseph Antoine Trillard, 1875 - 1878
* Léonce Laugier, February 1879 - April 1881
* Théodore Drouhet, 1881 - October 1884
* Étienne Richaud, October 1884 - 1886
* Édouard Manès, 1886 - 1888
* Georges Jules Piquet, 1888 - 1889
* Louis Hippolyte Marie Nouet, 1889 - 1891
* Léon Émile Clément-Thomas, 1891 - 1896
* Louis Jean Girod, 1896 - February 1898
* François Pierre Rodier, February 1898 - January 11 1902
* Pelletan (Acting), January 11 1902 - 1902
* Victor Louis Marie Lanrezac, 1902 - 1904
* Philema Lemaire, August 1904 - April 1905
* Joseph Pascal François, April 1905 - October 1906
* Gabriel Louis Angoulvant, October 1906 - December 3 1907
* Adrien Jules Jean Bonhoure, 1908 - 1909
* Ernest Fernand Lévecque, 1909 - July 9 1910
* Alfred Albert Martineau, July 9 1910 - July 1911
* Pierre Louis Alfred Duprat, July 1911 - November 1913
* Alfred Martineau, November 1913 - June 29 1918
* (unknown), June 29 1918 - February 21 1919
* Louis Martial Innocent Gerbinis, February 21 1919 - February 11 1926
* Pierre Jean Henri Didelot, 1926&ndash;1928
* Robert Paul Marie de Guise, 1928&ndash;1931
* François Adrien Juvanon, 1931&ndash;1934
* Léon Solomiac, August 1934 – 1936
* Horace Valentin Crocicchia, 1936-1938
* Louis Alexis Étienne Bonvin, September 26, 1938&ndash;1945
* Nicolas Ernest Marie Maurice Jeandin, 1945&ndash;1946
* Charles François Marie Baron, March 20 1946 - August 20 1947 Inde française became a Territoire d'outre-mer for France in 1946. Commissaires:
* Charles François Marie Baron, August 20 1947 - May 1949
* Charles Chambon, May 1949 - July 31 1950
* André Ménard, July 31 1950 - October 1954
* Georges Escargueil, October 1954 - November 1 1954 de facto transfer to Indian Union High Commissioners:
* Mr.Kewal Singh November 1 1954&ndash;1957
* M.K. Kripalani 1957&ndash;1958
* L.R.S. Singh 1958&ndash;1958
* AS Bam 1960
* Sarat Kumar Dutta 1961&ndash;1961

ee also

* Causes for Liberation of French colonies in India
* Municipal Administration in French India
* European colonies in India
* Coup d'État de Yanaon
* French colonial empire
* Chanda Sahib
* Muzaffar Jang
* Salabat Jang
* Claude Martin
* La Martiniere College


* [ Freedom struggle in Pondicherry - Gov't of India publication]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • French India — former French territory in India …   English World dictionary

  • French India — French′ In′dia n. geg a former French territory in India …   From formal English to slang

  • French India — /frɛntʃ ˈɪndiə/ (say french indeeuh) noun (formerly) the five small French provinces of Chandannagar, Karikal, Mahé, Pondicherry, and Yanaon, along or near the coast of India; now part of India …   Australian English dictionary

  • French India — geographical name former French possessions in India including Chandernagore (ceded to India 1950) & Pondicherry, Karikal, Yanam, & Mahé (ceded to India 1954) capital Pondicherry …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • French India — the five small former French territories in India, including Chandernagor, Karikal, Pondicherry, and Yanaon on the E coast, and Mahé on the W coast. * * * …   Universalium

  • French India — former French possessions in India (Chandernagore, Pondicherr, etc.) …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • French India — the five small former French territories in India, including Chandernagor, Karikal, Pondicherry, and Yanaon on the E coast, and Mahé on the W coast …   Useful english dictionary

  • French India — noun The administrative whole of the French colonial possessions, all enclaved on the Indian subcontinent (East Indies), comprising Pondicherry (the joint governors capital), Chandernagor (Chandernagore), Mahé (Mahe), Masulipatam, Yanam (Yanaon)… …   Wiktionary

  • French India Company — may refer to:* French East India Company * French West India Company …   Wikipedia

  • Yanam, French India — For Yanam after independence, see Yanam (India). Établissement français de Yanaon French colony ← …   Wikipedia

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