Traditionally known as “Pearl City” on account of the prevailing Pearl fish in the past in the area, Thoothukudi has a fascinating History. Forming part of the Pandian kingdom between 7th and 9th Century A.D., Thoothukudi remained in the hands of the Cholas during the period between 9th and 12th century. Emergence of Thoothukudi as a maritime port attracted travelers, adventures, and eventually colonizers. The Portuguese were the first to arrive in Thoothukudi in 1932 A.D., followed by the Dutch in 1658 A.D. The English Captured Thoothukudi from the Dutch in 1782 and the East India Company established their control over Thoothukudi in the same year.
On the 20th, October 1986 a new district, carved out of the erstwhile Tirunelveli district was born in Tamil Nadu and named after V.O.Chidambaranar, a great national leader hailing from Ottapidaram who led the Swadeshi Movement in the south. Since 1997 as in the case of other districts of Tamilnadu, this district has also been named after its headquarters town, Thoothukudi.
Thoothukudi became the citadel of freedom struggle in the early of the 20th century. It was in Thoothukudi that the illustrious patriot , V.O.Chidambaram established the first swadesi Stream Navigation Company, sailing the first steamer S.S.Gaelia to Thoothukudi on 1st June 1907.
Agriculture is the main occupation on which 70% of the people depend on it.The main food cropin this district is paddy. Out of the total area of 470724 hectares,190780 hectares are brought under the cultivation of different crops which is nearly 41% of total area of the district.The important food crops in the district are paddy, Cholam, cumbu, ragi, varagu, samai and commercial crops like cotton, chilly, sugarcane and groundnut.
The climate is hot and dry. The district has a coastal line of 163.5Kms. And
territorial waters covering thousands of hectares. Thoothukudi district is the major salt producer
in the state and contributes 30% of the total salt production of the country.The different sources of
irrigation are channels. tanks and wells which covers 46262 hectares in the district. Out of this,
18584 hectares were covered by wells.
The boom in the industrial sector has put the district prominently in the country’s industrial map. Heavy industries like Sterlite, SPIC, TAC, HWP DCW and Termal Power Plant promise hope for a bright future. Hundreds of ancillary units have also sprung up. Textile units and match industries crowd the kovilpatti belt. The fast growing Tuticorin port in the changing economic scenario has added pep to the development of the district.
Thoothukudi Port is garnering an important position in the southern part of India . During this year 1414 vessels entered this port and cargo to the tune of 19.49 Million tones are handled. Exports of certain raw materials and finished products are shipped to for about twenty foreign countries. Tuticorin port has been issued the prestigious ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 certificate for the port operation and services and had joined the select group of World ports by becoming the first Indian major port to get such certificate.
Tiruchendur Murugan Temple, Kalugumali Sculptures of Jain Temple,Kattabomman Memorial Fort at Panchalankurichi, Bharathi Manimandapam at Ettayapuram, Manadpadu Church,Paniya Matha Church(Lady Snow),Navathirupathi Temples and Vanathirupathi Temple near Nazerath are important tourist places in Thoothukudi district.