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It is uncertain whether the name 'Madraspattinam' was in use before European influence.
while other parties are of the opinion that it might have been taken from a fisherman by the name of Madrasan, or from religious Muslim schools which were referred to as Madrasahs, or the word Madhu-ras, which means honey in Tamil.
On 22 August 1639, which is referred to as Madras Day, the British East India Company under Francis Day bought a small strip of land stretching 3 miles on the Coromandel Coast.
They got a license to build a fort and a castle in the contracted region.
Sculpted caves and paintings have been identified from that period.
Gradually, the city grew into a major naval base and became the central administrative center for the British in South India.
A portion of these findings belonged to the Vijayanagara Empire, which ruled the region during the medieval period.
The Portuguese first arrived in 1522 and built a port called São Tomé after the Christian apostle, St.
The city has a vibrant theatre scene and is an important centre for the Bharata Natyam, a classical dance form. There are two versions about the origin of the name Chennapattanam: according to one version, Chennapattanam was named after Damarla Chennappa Nayakudu, Nayaka of Kalahasthi and Vandavasi, father of Damarla Venkatadri Nayakudu, from whom the English acquired the town in 1639.
The first official use of the name Chennai is said to be in a sale deed, dated 8 August 1639, to Francis Day of the English East India Company.