Formerly known as Madras, Chennai began as a collection of
villages, which were transformed by the arrival of the British East
India Company who built a factory and created a trading port here
in 1693. The British developed it as a major naval base and an
urban trading centre - by the start of the 20th century Madras was
a vital administrative hub for the region.
In recent years, as part of an independent India, Chennai has
developed significantly and has achieved significant economic
growth. The city has been able to support this growth thanks to its
favourable infrastructure and the availability of space into which
the city can grow.
Today Chennai is India's fourth-largest city, home to a
fascinating collection of colonial buildings, beautiful temples,
monuments, churches and street markets, as well as a beautiful
sandy beach, one of the longest in the world.