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, formerly Pondicherry
, union territory (2001 provisional pop. 973,829), 183 sq mi (474 sq km), India. It comprises the noncontiguous enclaves of former French India: Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry or Pondichéry) and
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a union territory in India. Area, 500 sq km. Population, 500,000 (1971). The capital is the city of Pondicherry. The Union Territory of Pondicherry was part of a former French colony on the southeastern coast of the Hindustan Peninsula that was reunited with India in 1954. (The rest of the colony is in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.)
(puddu cheri), a city and port in India on the Bay of Bengal. It is the capital of the Union Territory of Pondicherry. Population, 90,600 (1971). It is linked by rail to the city of Madras. The cotton industry is well developed in the suburbs. There are dye (indigo) and rice-polishing enterprises and a vegetable-oil mill in the city.
Pondicherry was founded in 1674 as a trading station and fort of the French East India Company. The principal base of the French invaders on the Hindustan Peninsula, Pondicherry in the 18th century became the object of a fierce struggle between France and Great Britain. It repeatedly passed from the hands of one to the other. Thus, in 1761, after a long siege, it was captured by forces of the British East India Company and the fortress of Pondicherry was razed by the British, but by the Treaty of Paris of 1763 the city itself was returned to France. Pondicherry served as the administrative center of the French possessions on the Hindustan Peninsula. By an agreement in 1954 between France and India, Pondicherry and other former French possessions were reunited with India.