Cuddalore District is one of the districts of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Cuddalore is the district headquarters. According to Census 2011, Cuddalore district had a population of 2,605,914 with a sex-ratio of 987 females for every 1,000 males.
From ancient times the old town has been a seaport. Through the centuries, Cuddalore has been subject to a number of foreign powers including the Netherlands, Portugal, France and more recently, the British. In the 1600s, the French and English came to Cuddalore for trade and business. The French established a settlement at Pondicherry and the British at Cuddalore. The French and English, while engaged in the Seven Years’ War, fought the naval “Battle of Cuddalore” on 29 April 1758. It was an indecisive battle between a British squadron, under Vice-Admiral George Pocock and a French squadron, under Comte d’Aché and the newly appointed Governor General Comte Thomas Lally. Cuddalore surrendered to French troops on 29 April 1758. From 1789 to 1794, there was further unrest in Cuddalore due to the War of American Independence and the Second Anglo-Mysore War culminating in the siege of Cuddalore, after which the town was returned to Britain as part of a peace treaty. In 1782, during the Second Anglo Mysore war, the French troops allied with Tipu Sultan and won over the British, after which Cuddalore became a chief port against the French. In 1783, General James Stuart (1735-93) led his troops to fend off French troops. There were five different naval actions off the coast during the same year, all of which were indecisive. Some streets in Cuddalore retain British names such as Clive street, Wellington street, Sloper Street, Canning Street, Rope Street (Rope Street, Wellington Street, Sloper Street and Canning Street jointly known as Salangukara Village), Lawrence road and Imperial road. The Cuddalore Central Prison, opened in 1865, is an historically important landmark.Subramanya Bharathi and other political leaders served prison terms there.
The siege of Cuddalore in 1783 in sea Tsunami waves that followed the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake near Sumatra hit the eastern coast of India on 26 December 2004 at 0832h, resulting in 572 casualties. Several fishing hamlets disappeared, while Silver Beach and the historically important Cuddalore Port were devastated. Fort St. David survived without damage. In 2012, Cyclone Thane caused widespread damage to crops and buildings.