Society of Jesus published at Cochin the first book printed in India in
native characters. The first Englishman to visit the town was Ralph
Fitch, a traveller, who came by way of Bagdad and the Persian Gulf in
1585 ; but no English settlement was made till 1634, when the East
India Company entered into a treaty which gave them free access to
Portuguese ports. In the next year pepper was for the first time
exported direct from the west coast to England. In 1663 the town and
fort were captured by the Dutch, and the English retired to PONNANI.
Under the Dutch the trade of Cochin increased considerably, and the
customs are said to have amounted to Rs. 3o,ooo annually. The Dutch
remodelled the town, building substantial European houses, quays, &c.
They also converted the cathedral of Santa Cruz into a warehouse.
Later on the fort was entirely rebuilt by Van Moens (1778). The
cathedral, the fort, and many of the Dutch houses were subsequently
blown up (î8o6) by the English. On the conquest of Holland by the
French in 1795 the East India Company was ordered to take possession
of all the Dutch colonies. The Dutch governor, Vanspall, refused to
surrender Cochin ; and it was therefore besieged and captured by
Major Petrie, on October 20, 1795. The settlement was taken under
English protection, but the Dutch were allowed to retain their laws
and administration. The town was finally ceded to the Company under
the Paris Convention of 1814.
Cochin is now the chief port of Malabar and the third in importance in
the Madras Presidency. The value of its imports in 1903-4 was 82 lakhs,
and of its exports zo8 lakhs. During the last twenty years the trade of the
port has trebled. The main exports are coco-nut oil and coir. Cochin
monopolizes the trade of the Presidency in the former and possesses
three-fourths of the trade in the latter. There is also an increasing export
of tea from Travancore, its value in 1903-4 amounting to nearly 1o lakhs.
Of the import trade more than half is in rice, from Burma and Bengal. The
other chief articles of trade are pepper, ,timber, cotton twist and piece-
goods, and kerosene oil. The population in igo1 was 19,274, of whom
more than half were Christians, including a large Eurasian community.
The income of the municipality, which was constituted in 1866, dur-
ing the decade ending 19oo averaged Rs. 20,30o and the expenditure
Rs. 19,500. In 1903-4 the corresponding figures were Rs. 22,6oo and
Rs. 21,700, the main source of income being the taxes on houses and
land. The climate is very moist and hot, and elephantiasis is common
owing to the bad water. A scheme is now under consideration for
bringing a supply from the Alwaye river, about 20 miles distant.
Cocos.-Two islands in the Bay of Bengal, lying between 14° 4' and
14° io' N. and in 93° 22' E., 45 miles north-east of the Andaman
Islands, with which they are geologically connected, and a short
distance south of Table Island, on which there is a lighthouse. They