Madras Presidency Essay

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Madras Presidency, officially styled as the Presidency of Fort Saint George, occupied the entire south of the Peninsula of India with its dependencies and the State of Mysore. It consisted of three classes of territory- a) the twenty-two British districts within the Presidency; b) the Agency Tracts of Ganjam, Vizagapatam, and Godavari, specially administered by Collector as agent of the Governor in Council; and c) five Native States in political dependence on the Madras government, namely, Travancore, Cochin, Pudukottai, Banganapalli and Sandur. Altogether, the territory under the Madras government contained an area of 149,092 square miles, and supported a population of 34,172,067 persons, dwelling in 57,022 towns and villages in 1881. …show more content…
Along the east, or rather running up to north-east, extended the continuous coast-line of the Bay of Bengal, stretching for nearly 1200 miles, from Cape Comorin to the Chilka Lake. The western coast was formed by the shores of the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, for about 540 miles. Running parallel to the coast on the west was the high range of mountains, the Western Ghats, which in parts attained an elevation of 4,000 to nearly 7,000 feet, while a broken series of hills, very much lower in height, followed the general line of the east coast. Off the south-east laid the British Colony of Ceylon, separated by a shallow strait. On the extreme north-east was the Bengal Province of Orissa; next (proceeding westwards) came the wild highlands of the Central Provinces; then, for a long stretch, the Dominions of the Nizam of Hyderabad, separated by the Kistna river and its tributary the Tungabhadra; lastly, on the north-west by west, the Districts of Dharwar and North Kanara in the Bombay Presidency. The independent State of Mysore occupied a large portion of the centre of the Presidency. The Laccadive Islands also formed, for administrative purposes, a part of the Presidency, being attached to the Districts of Malabar and South …show more content…
Nearly 70 per cent of the population were directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture and nearly 17.5 per cent attended to industrial pursuits. Rice is the principal food-grain grown in the parts of the province where rainfall was adequate. Cotton, sugar cane and groundnut were among the chief industrial crops. Along the coast, and in particular on the banks of the estuaries and lagoon on the west coast, were luxuriant groves of cocoanut and other palms, while in the higher regions of the Western Ghats European enterprise was responsible for the development of numerous tea, rubber and coffee plantations. The barrier of the Western Ghats largely determined the distribution of rainfall in the province, which led to striking differences of climate and of agricultural conditions in its eastern and western divisions. On the west coast, the rainfall was abundant and regular, and failure of crops on account of drought was almost unknown. On the eastern side, except in the valleys and deltas of the rivers which flowed eastward across the peninsula, innumerable tanks or small reservoirs of water were scattered all over the country and bore testimony to the cultivator’s dependence on a precarious rainfall. These unfavourable conditions explained that why these eastern districts of Madras provided very large numbers of emigrants to other parts. The plantations of Ceylon, Assam, Mysore, the Malay States and the Straits

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