Chennai ( (listen); also known as Madras (listen) or , the official name until 1996) is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is the biggest cultural, economic and educational centre of south India.
Long the site of earlier coastal settlements, Madras was founded in 1639 when the British East India Company (represented by Francis Day and Andrew Cogan and aided by a local translator Beri Thimappa) was granted land to build a trading settlement by the local Telugu ruler (Nayak) of the suburb of Vandavasi, Damerla Venkatapathy Naidu on his father's name Damerla Chennappa Naidu. The document of the land grant is dated 22 August 1639, and hence Madras celebrates its birthday on 22 August each year as Madras day. Madras was one of the first outposts of British East India Company. Colonel William Lambton, superintendent of the great Trigonometrical Survey of India, started his journey of triangulating India from St. Thomas Mount. The British built Fort St. George (today the legislative and administrative seat of the state). Fort St George was completed on St George's day in 1640 (23 April) and hence was named after the patron saint. George Town then developed becoming the modern city of Madras, absorbing several nearby boroughs. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, is associated with Chennai. He is said to have come to India as an evangelist and died in what is now Chennai. Two suburbs, Santhome and St. Thomas Mount, are named in his memory.