Fort Kochi or Fort Cochin was the first European fort built on the Indian soil in 1530 by Portuguese with the permission of its then ruler. It was then known as 'Manuel Kotta'. Dutch gained its possession in 1663 until British wrested it from them in 1795. Situated on one of the finest natural harbors of the state, it houses first European township that soon became an important commercial centre and trade centre that flourished under the British.

        It soon became a major military base, cultural hub, shipbuilding centre and centre for Christianity, all in one. The highlights of this fort are VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow, Jewish Synagogue, Bolgatty Palace and Chinese Fishing nets. While the tourists throng to Vasco da Gama Square, where now-obsolete Chinese fishing nets are still in use, the stalls surrounding it coin the opportunity by making fresh delicious seafood and tender coconut available to them. The Portuguese originally built Dutch Palace within the fort. It later passed on to Raja of Kochi through the hands of Dutch, who placed high value on it and it was here that many coronations of the ruler of the region took place. Leslie Bungalow from the 19th century belonged to the coffee merchants who traded off in the name of Pierce Leslie & Co. and enchants one with its beauty that has distinct Portuguese, Dutch and native influences on it. Typical wood panels and waterfront verandahs make it all the more endearing to the visitors. The church of Santa Cruz Basilica, the Hill Palace museum, the Jew Town, Indo-Portuguese Museum, Museum of Kerala History, Cherai Beach and St Francis Church, the oldest European church of India are other architectural delights of the region.


     The city of Kochi is the biggest and most important port in Kerala. Many small towns and villages like Fort Cochin, Mattanchery, Ernakulam, Edapally, Vytilla, Vennala, Tevara, Manamangalam, Vypin, Vallarpadom, Thopumpady, Kannamali, EdaKochi, Bolghatty and Palluruthy form a part of Kochi. There have been different views about the name of the city, but it is not known exactly from where it originated.

The Kochi harbor boasts of a glorious past. It earned a significant position on the world trading routes after massive flooding of the river Periyar in 1340 AD destroyed the world famous port at Kodugallur. After this, Kochi started to grow and soon developed into a major trading port dealing in pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, etc. The Chinese, Arabs, British, Dutch and Portuguese helped Kochi to emerge as a bustling center of commercial activity, connecting the mainland to the rest of the world. Many great travelers, scholars and traders like Fa Hien, Vasco da Gama, Sir Robert Bristow contributed to the growth of the city.

In the year 1530 AD, Kochi was under the rule of the Portuguese; at this time the city grew into a prosperous town. 'Manuel Kotta', was the first European fort in Kochi built by the Portuguese. The Dutch invasion began around 1653 and by 1663 they emerged victorious over the Portuguese. It was then that the Dutch built Fort Williams here.

In the year 1814, Kochi became a part of the British colony. The Willingdon Island, which now accommodates the Kochi Port, Airport and the Head Quarters of Southern Naval Command, was developed under the supervision of the British ruler, Sir Robert Bristow.

After India became independent in 1947, the state of Kerala was formed by the unification of provinces Kochi, Malabar and Travancore in 1956. In 1967 the Corporation of Kochi was formed, which included the towns of Fort Kochi, Mattanchery, Ernakulam and many nearby villages.