HISTORY OF YANAM
It is mentioned in the book, the botonic garden of Yanam by Colonel A.
Bigot that at first, the French establishment a warehouse here in 1723
A.D. Since the business became slack, it was given up in 1727 A.D. and
was re-occupied in 1742 A.D. A `Fireman' was issued by the Mughal emperar,
confirming all the concessions made to the French by Salabathjung, the
Subadar of Deccan.
These concessions were in the shape of the donations and the name
`Inam' was changed into Yanam(Yanaon) by the French in the course of time.
People say that this region was presented to Mr. Bussy, the French General
by a Vijayanagara King as a token of gratitude for the help rendered by
Mr. Bussy in the fight against the rulers of Bobbili. We can se his
street named after `Bussy' here. It s beleived that Bussy had stayed
in a certain building in this street.
In the west of Yanam, we can find `Neelikundilu'(Indiog wells) people say
that the Dutch constructed a front here in which they used to keep their
currency, minted in the mint at Neelapalli, a near by village.
Yanam is situated on the East Coast, in the district of East Godavary,
Andhra Pradesh. It was occupied by the French in 1723.
It ranks the third in the antiquity of the Five former French settlements
i.e. Chandernagar 1673, 2. Pondicherry 1674, 3.
Yanam 1723, 4. Mahe 1725 and Karaikal 1739. Yanam was under the French
rule for more than two centuries. It was liberated in 1954.
It is now one of the component parts of the Pondicherry State.
It is a small area of 8 square miles in exent, situated on the left bank
of the eastern branch of the Godavary River in Andhra Pradesh. Its
location is 16o43o northern longitude and 80o5 eastern longitude.
It is built on a place where the river Coringa and the Godavary meet and
is bounded on the East and the South by these rivers. The Godavary
discharges itself into the sea 9 miles south of Yanam town. Thr coringa
river divides the town into two parts.
There are 8 villages under the Municipal jurisdiction of Yanam namely Kanakalapeta,
Jambavanpeta, Agraharam, Mettakur, Kursampeta, farampeta Darialtippa and
Guerempeta. The cobbler community lives in Jambavanpeta. The
fishermen Community lives mainly in Agraharam, Mettakur, Kuraampeta and
Guerempeta. Wate for irrigation comes from Andhra Pradesh through
an age-old small canal called "French Kalva". The soil is fertile
for cultivation but the irrigation facilities are scanty . The main
crop is paddy besied the seasonal crops of pulses, chillies and ground
In 1753, a Paravana of Salbat Singh, Subedar of Deccan conceded to
Bussy the paragaanas of Chicacole, Ellore, Rajahmundry etc. with an annual
revenue RS.2,00,000 for the maintenance of the French troops in the suba
in recognition of the help of these circars amounted upto 10 lakhs of Ruppes
per year. Bussy helped Salbat Singh to be the Subedar
of Deccan. The agreement made between the French and Salbat Singh
in Aurangabad bears the signature of Said Loukshur, Minister of Salabat
Singh, Yanam acquired considerable improtance during the occupation of
the Northern Circors by the French.
A document dated 15th May, 1765 showed that the villages of Yanam
and Kapuapalem with other lands were handed over by Jean white hill and
George Dolben, the English men deputed by Jean Pybus, the head of the English
settlement in Musulipatnam to Yoan Yacques Panon, French Commissioner
deputed by Jean Law de Lauriston for taking them over. This document
mentions that France entered into possession of Yanam and its dependent
territories with exemption from all export and improt duties.
Soon after taking possession of this settlement, Panon obtained a paravana
from the ruler of Rajahmundry granting the French full liberty of
trade at Yanam and another one from the Nabab Nizam Ali calling upon the
Samindars of the Circar Mustafanagar not to hinder the comnerce of the
Yanam was situated in the provice of Peddapur in the jurisdiction
of Timma Raja. The French had a modest building here situated a league
from the sea, on the river Coringa into which small vessels could enter.
The documents of 1765 throw light on a dispute of a wekkly market or fair
in Yanam. A weekly market used to be held here on every Tuesday.
People used to come to it for purchasing all their essential commodities
once for a week.
After prolonged correspondence with the English authorities at Madras,
the French authorities in Yanam succeded in changing the fair of Neelapalli
to another day of the week, Saturday. In this way, Yanam triumphed over
its neighbouring village Neelapalli.
After Bluter, Sonnerat became the chief in 1790 in Yanam. He was
a scholar. He had a profound interest in Natural Sciences. He wrote a book
"VOYAGE AUX INDES ORIENTALES ET En CHINE." In 3 volumes. He appreciated
very much the sonority and the music of the telugu language. He administered
Yanam during the time of the French Revolution.
The French revolution had its effects in different ways in all the former
french settlements. Let us study now there action of Yanam during
this period . The french trade at Yanam was considerable at that time.
Lew stated in his "Memoire of 1767". It is from Yanam that we get
out best "guiness" (fine cloth). It is possible to have a commerce
here worth more than a million lives per year under circumstances more
favourable than thoses in which we are placed now, but always by giving
advances much earlir, which we have never been in a position to do.
From this place we also procured teak-wood, oils rice and other grains
both for men as well as for animals". A port from commercce,
Yanam enjoyed another kind of importance "the advantages which
may be derived in a time of war from the alliances that we the French may
conclude with sesveral Rajas who sooner or later cannot fail to be dissatisfied
with the English". Although the English gained an effective
control over the circars, Yanam enabled the French to enter into
ssecret relations with the local chiseftains. Yanam had some commercial
It was a centre for the manufacture of salt and this salt consituted thje
major part of the quantity imported by the French into Bengal,region.
It was also an important csentre of cotton goods and supplied a large part
of the return cargo of the french ships visiting India. A few French
citizens in Yanam were fully occupied by these two kinds of
profitble busiuness and they had no interest in political and administrative
matters which were lesft senterely to the chief or commandant. Indian
residents wantseds nothing better than to be lesft in peace to carry on
their trading activities.
Mr.Sommerat,Chief of Yanam, was involvsed in this business along
with other traders. His commercial involvement brought sserious consequences
to his administrative post. The petitions were made against him in
this connection, to the De Fresns the them French Governor in Pondsicherry.
On 5.6.1790 a French man Mr. Demars complined against him for the Ist time.
He had 40 vessels loaded with salt for Bengal representing the fortune
of 10 individuals, he alleged that Mr.Sommerat had been troubling
him in carying out his business and requested the Governor and the
Ist Committee to rsecall him. By that time, Pondsicherry under the
influence of the French Revolution, had alreadly formed the Ist representative
committee. But no action was taken in favour of Demars either by
the Governer or by this Ist committee. Naturally, the French citizens
in Yanam were desinterested in the affairs of Pondicherry owing to his