1 Understand 1.1 Theories about the Tamil and English names of the city 1.2 History 1.3 Economy Theories about the Tamil and English names of the city Tuticorin (in English) or Thoothukudi (in Tamil) used to be called Thirumandhira Nagar. There are three theories as to the origin of the name Thoothukudi. First, thoorthu is Tamil for "dig", and kudi means "drink": The town had no rivers and the only source of drinking water was from wells. Second, thoortha means "land reclaimed from the sea" while kudi also stands for "settlement" or "colony". Finally, the Tuticorin name was used by Dutch people who got there before the English, so some people have suggested they named the city. History Tuticorin has been known for its pearl diving (thus the nickname Pearl City (Muthu Nagaram in Tamil) and for shipbuilding. Thoothukudi became the centre of the Indian independence movement in the early 20th century, with such leaders as the poet Subramanya Bharathy, Veerapandiya Kattabomman, Venni Kalady, Vellaya Thevan, and V.O. Chidambaram Pillai. In 1906, the freedom fighter V. O. Chidambaram Pillai, with the help of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, launched the first Swadeshi ship S.S. Gaelia from this port town in British India. The major harbour of Tuticorin is one of the oldest sea ports in the world, was the seaport of the Pandyan Kingdom after Korkai and later was taken over by the Portuguese in 1548, captured by the Dutch in 1658, and ceded to the British in 1825. The lighthouse built in 1842 marked the beginning of the history of Thoothukudi harbour's development. Tuticorin was established as a municipality in 1866 with Roche Victoria as its first chairman. During World War II, when India was still under British dominance, the economic and strategic importance of Tuticorin Port made the town vulnerable to enemy bombings. Sirens and bomb shelters were installed in the town. After independence, the Port of Tuticorin witnessed a flourishing trade and handled a variety of cargo meant for neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka and the Maldives, as well as various coastal regions of India. To cope with the increasing trade through Tuticorin, the government of India sanctioned the construction of an all-weather Port at Tuticorin. On July 11, 1974, the newly constructed Tuticorin Port was declared the 10th major port in India. Economy The economy of Thoothukudi is based on shipping, fishing, salt pan, mineral and agricultural industries (rice and palmyrah trees, from which jaggery is made, are cultivated nearby). 30% of India's salt is produced in this district. Tuticorin Port is one of the major ports in India, the second-largest port in Tamil Nadu after Chennai Port and third-largest container terminal in India after Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai. Due to its proximity with Colombo, Tuticorin is a major hub for India's trade with Sri Lanka.