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Pondicherry is a Union Territory of India composed of four establishments of former French India and named after the largest, Pondicherry.

The name, which means “New Town”, is Putuccēri in Tamil and Pondichéry in French. In September 2006, the territory changed its official name from Pondicherry  to Puducherry. It is also known as La Côte d'Azur de l'Est (The French Riviera of the East).

French India was set up by the French East India Company in India from the second half of the 17th century onward, and was officially known as the Établissements français dans l'Inde from the resumption of French rule in 1816 until 1946 when they became the territory overseas of Inde Française, until their de facto incorporation into the Union of India in 1954. They included Pondichéry, Karikal and Yanaon on the Coromandel Coast, Mahé on the Malabar Coast, and Chandernagor in Bengal.




We may suppose that the emblems of the different owners of the establishments were used in French India. These were the french companies and -governments from 1699 until 1954 with some interruptions by the Dutch (1693-’99) and British occupations (1761-’65, 1793-1802 and 1803-’16).  For the French East India Company (which lasted until 1719) it was the single fleur de lys of the arms of the Company which was also printed on coins issued in the colony:


Coin issued in Pondicherry in the time of Louis XV (1715-’74)


but some other 18th century coins (of 2 and 4 royalins) show a number of royal fleurs de lys:





The present emblem of Puducherry dates from the change of the name from Pondicherry into Puducherry (2006). It shows the flag of India surrounded by a muliticoloured  ringinscribed with INDIA GOV IN PUDUCHERRY. This emblem is used besides the Asoka-capital of India.


ÆSee illustration in the head of this essay.


The emblem of the Lieutenant-Governor consists of a red disc charged with the Asoka-capital in gold.





The cap-badge of the Pondichery Police consists of the Asoka-capital issuing from a strap inscribed with the legend: POLICE PONDICHERRY and is worn on a french fashion red kepi.




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© Hubert de Vries 2012-09-05


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