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Vishakhapatnam History, India

Visakhapatnam or Vishakhapatnem, the coastal city of great natural beauty in the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh, is a very old city. The city and its surrounding regions were mentioned in the two great Indian epics – Ramayana and Mahabharata. Nonetheless, if these references are simply overlooked, there are the works of 4th century scholars like Panini and Katyayana to corroborate the fact that Vishakhapatnam history can be traced to the ancient times. In addition, there are concrete proofs in the form of Buddhist ruins and wreckages to signify that Visakhapatnam history dates back to at least the 5th century, when it was part of the Buddhist Empire of Kalinga. Post Kalinga War, the region had become a part of the Maurya Empire.

Vishakhapatnam History – Post-Maurya Period to the 19th Century

Following the collapse of the Mauryas, the Andhra Ikshvaku rulers of Vengi seized control of the region. Thereafter, the region saw rules by the Pallavas, the Eastern Gangas or Kalingas, the Chalukyas, the Cholas, the Golconda Rulers (of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty), the Mughals and that of the Hyderabad Nizams at different points of time from the 4th century A.D. to the 17th century A.D.

The 17th century proved a turning point in Vishakhapatnam history – the arrival of the European merchants saw the natural harbor of Visakhapatnam being used extensively for trading in a variety of products. When the trading nations started realizing their colonial-ambitions in the 18th century, Visakhapatnam became a part of the Northern Circars, initially under the French and later under the British. Following the defeat of the French at the hands of the British in the Battle of Visakhapatnam in 1804, Visakhapatnam was elevated to the status of a full-fledged district under the Madras Presidency. The rest of the 19th century was more or less uneventful.

Vishakhapatnam History – 20th Century Onwards

Stepping into the 20th Century, Visakhapatnam started experiencing all-round growth. By the time India attained its freedom from British Rule, Visakhapatnam had a well-built harbor and even a ship-building facility by the name of Hindustan Shipyard Limited.

Visakhapatnam’s rise continued even in the post-independence days. A number of large-scale basic industries like Andhra Polymers, Bharat Heavy Plates and Vessels, Caltex Oil Refinery, Hindustan Zinc Ltd. were set up in the 1950s and 1960s. The 1970s saw Visakhapatnam becoming the base of the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy. Industrialization continued in the 1980s. The liberal economic policies of the 1990s saw Visakhapatnam become one among the top ten fastest growing cities of the world. It stands high among the developed cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. The Indian IT-revolution of the early 21st century did the rest for the city, which is now the base of many software and BPO companies.

The 21st century has also seen Visakhapatnam become a top tourist destination of India with its many city-attractions, its excellent transportation links (which connect it well to the Indian metros like Delhi), its world-class hotels and other tourism-support services.

Vishakhapatnam History - Its Names

Any discussion of Vishakhapatnam history will remain incomplete without any reference to the different names it has been given at different points in time. The name Visakhapatnam has existed since ancient times. In colonial times, the city became famous as Waltair; at present, the city is more often referred to as ‘Vizag’, although the other two names continue to exist.

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