The region of Chennai was called Tondaimandalam in those days and had its military headquarters at Puzhal, which is now a small and rather insignificant village on the outskirts of the city. Modern Chennai grew out of a small village when in 1639 a fishing hamlet called Madraspatnam was selected by early English merchants of the East India Company as a site for the settlement. Founded in 1639 on land given by the Raja of Chandragiri, the last representative of the Vijayanagar rulers of Hampi.
A small fort was built at a fishing settlement in 1644 and a town, which subsequently became to known as George Town, which grew in the area of fort St. George. The settlement became independent of Banten, Java, in 1683 and was granted its first municipal charter in 1688 by James II. It thus has the oldest municipal corporation in India, a fact which Tamil Nadu state governors are only too keen to point out at every available opportunity.
During the 18th and early 19th centuries, when the British and French competed for supremacy in India, the city's fortunes waxed and waned. It was briefly occupied by the French on one occasion. It was used by Clive of India as a base for his military expeditions during the Wars of the Carnatic and, during the 19th century, it was the seat of the Chennai Presidency, one of the four divisions of British Imperial India.
After independence the city continued to be known by the name Madras until the government of Tamilnadu under the chief minister Mr.
M.Karunanidhi officially converted it to Chennai in 1997. other major metros of India, it is far less congested and polluted.