Port of Mangalore
Review and History

The Port of Mangalore is the main seaport for the state of Karnataka on the southwestern shores of India. Located about 352 kilometers northwest of the Port of Cochin and 315 kilometers southeast of the Port of Mormugao on the Arabian Sea, the Port of Mangalore is an all-weather port and the ninth biggest port in India. Mangalore is the site for several information technology and outsourcing companies including Infosys, BPO, MPhasis, First American Corporation, and Wipro. Three business parks dedicated to IT are under construction.

The economy of the Port of Mangalore is based on activities supporting the port and processing of agricultural products. The Port of Mangalore handles three-quarters of India’s coffee exports and most of its cashew exports. The largest industries in the Port of Mangalore include BASF, ELF Gas, Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd., Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd., and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd.

Port History

The ancient area surrounding today’s Port of Mangalore was mentioned in several great Hindu works. Lord Rama ruled the area in the Ramayana, and the youngest Pandava, Sahadeva, ruled the area in the Mahabharata. Arjuna, the archer whose discourse with Krishna is the content of the Bhagavad Gita, visited the area as well.

Many foreign travelers were impressed with the Port of Mangalore and mentioned it in their writings. Greek monk Cosmas Indicopleustes and Roman historian Pliny called it Nithrias, and Greek historian Ptolemy called the Port of Mangalore Nitre.

The Port of Mangalore has been the focus of power struggles for centuries. Until the Portuguese arrived in the 1500s, it was ruled by regional dynasties. Muslim merchants traded there in the 14th and 15th Centuries. In 1498, Portugal’s Vasco Da Gama landed on a nearby island. Twenty years later, the Portuguese seized rule and held it until the late 18th Century. When Lopo Vaz de Sampayo defeated the Bangara king in 1526, Muslim dominance of trade with the Port of Mangalore ended.

The Portuguese-Maratha Wars and the Goa Inquisition led Brahmins and Catholics to settle in the Port of Mangalore during the 16th Century. At the end of the 17th Century, Arabs set the town afire in retaliation for Portugal’s restrictions on Arab trade. The Keladi Nayaka kingdom took control from Portugal, ruling the Port of Mangalore until 1762. In 1763, Mysore’s ruler, Hyder Ali, took Mangalore and held it until 1767.

The British East India Company ruled the Port of Mangalore from 1767 until 1783 when Hyder Ali’s son, Tippu Sultan, retook the city. The Treaty of Mangalore ended the Second Anglo-Mysore War in 1784. When the British defeated Sultan in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, they controlled the Port of Mangalore for a long, peaceful period. They also developed urban infrastructure. Under British rule, the Port of Mangalore prospered, particularly in education and industry, and it became an important trade center.

The Roman Catholic missions in the Port of Mangalore were instrumental in improvements in education, social welfare, and health during the late 19th Century. In 1866, the municipal council was created with responsibility for urban planning and civic services. As the city grew, tile manufacturers and cotton weavers moved into the city, and the railway arrived in 1907.

The States Reorganisation Act of 1956 incorporated the Port of Mangalore into the new Mysore state (now Karnataka). Today, Mangalore is an important urban center for Karnataka, providing access to the sea. In 1974, the new Port of Mangalore was opened, stimulating a period of growth through the 1980s. In the late 20th Century, the Port of Mangalore developed further as a center for commerce, business, and information technology.

Boat-building and fishing have been traditional economic sectors in the Port of Mangalore for generations. Today, the Old Mangalore Port at Bunder is a fishing port with many mechanized boats. In 2003-2004, fishermen landed 122 thousand tons of fish to the Port of Mangalore. The fishing industry is a major employer in Mangalore, and their products supply the entire region. Today, modern industries include tile, coffee, cashew nuts, and cotton.

Known as Karnataka’s Cradle of Education, the city is home to 58 colleges including many schools devoted to specific disciplines: engineering (15), dental (14), MBA (12), physiotherapy (11), and hotel management (8). With a growing IT sector, the Port of Mangalore attracts many students each year.

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