Chennai formerly Madras is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is the biggest industrial and commercial center in South India, and a major cultural, economic and educational center as well.
The area around Chennai had been part of successive South Indian kingdoms for many centuries. The recorded history of the city began in the colonial times, specifically with the arrival of British East India Company and the establishment of Fort St. George in 1644. The British defended several attacks from the French colonial forces, and from the kingdom of Mysore, on Chennai's way to becoming a major naval port and presidency city by the late eighteenth century. Following the independence of India, Chennai became the capital of Madras State and subsequently Tamil Nadu, and an important centre of regional politics based on the Dravidian identity of the populace.