The City of Pondicherry have recorded history after the advent of the Colonial Powers like the Dutch, Portuguese, English and the French. Though nearby places like Arikamedu, Ariyankuppam, Kakayanthoppe, Villianur, Bahur which were annexed by the French East India Company over a period of time and which became the Union Territory of Pondicherry after Independence have history predating the Colonial History.

A marketplace named Poduke or Poduca is recorded as a Roman trading destination from the mid 1st century. The area was part of the Pallava Kingdom of Kanchipuram in the 4th century. The Cholas of Thanjavur held it from the 10th to 13th centuries, only to be replaced by the Pandya Kingdom in the 13th century. The Vijayanagar Empire took control of almost all the South of India in the 14th century and lasted until 1638, to be supplanted by the Sultan of Bijapur. The French acquired Puducherry in 1674 and held control, with occasional interruption from the British and Dutch, until 1954 (de jure in 1956), when it was incorporated into the Indian Union along with the rest of French India.

The Official Languages of Puducherry

The official languages of Puducherry are Tamil (89%), Malayalam (4.8%), Telugu and (2.9% Yanam). The status of each language varies by district. When communicating between districts of different languages, generally English is used for convenience.

  • Tamil is used by the Puducherry government, especially used when communicating within and between the Tamil majority districts (Pondicherry and Karaikal) and is the language of official decrees. Telugu is widely spoken in Pondicherry, Karaikal and Yanam districts. Malayalam is spoken in Mahé and Pondicherry districts.
  • French is also an official language of the territory. It was the official language of French India (from 1673 until 1954), and its official status was preserved by the Treaty of Cession signed by the Indian Union and the French Republic on 28 May 1956.