Cochin (kōˌchĭnˈ) [key], former princely state, 1,493 sq mi (3,867 sq km), SW India, on the Arabian Sea. Now part of Kerala state, the region of Cochin has one of the highest population densities in India. Agriculture is the chief economic activity. Ernakulam was the former capital and Kochi, formerly Cochin (1991 pop. 1,140,605), the chief port. The finest port S of Mumbai, Kochi, with its naval base and shipbuilding industry, is the primary training center for the Indian Navy. After Vasco da Gama visited Kochi (1502), the Portuguese established a settlement. The Dutch captured it in 1663 and the British in 1795. In adjoining Mattancheri there is a small community of descendants of Jews expelled from Portugal in the 16th cent., thought to be the oldest Jewish enclave in India.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Indian Political Geography