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History of Ramanathapuram

The historic town of Ramanathapuram, fondly called as Ramnad in the local language is often associated with the celebrated Hindu epic Ramayana and Lord Rama. Though, there are no historical records found related to the age of the town, Ramanathapuram is considered as one of the ancient towns in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The region was under the rule of (Ervadi) Hazrat Sultan Syed Ibrahim Shaheed during the late 12th and early 13th century. Later, the region was dominated by the successors of Hazrat Sultan Syed Ibrahim Shaheed till they constituted pacification with the Sethupathis. The region was under various rulers from time to time before it fell into the hands of the British.
Raja of Ramnad Bhaskara Sethupathy

Following the peace treaty between the successors of Hazrat Sultan Syed Ibrahim Shaheed of Ervadi and Sethupathis, till the early 15th century, Rameswaram, Ramnad, Paramakudi, Tiruvadanai, Mudukulathur and a few other territories were annexed to the Pandian dynasty (6th century CE - 1345) - one among the three Tamil dynasties, the other two dynasties being the Chera and the Chola. It is significant to mention that the region of Ramnad was brought under the Chola Empire (300s BCE-1279 BCE) by Rajendra Chola the Great (the son of Raja Raja the Great aka Peruvudaiyar) for a short period of time during 1063 BC.
Ramanathapuram Palace

During 1520 BCE, the Nayaks of the Vijayanagara Empire (also known as Karnata Empire) - the Sethupatis who had been secondary to the kings of Pandian dynasty took this area under their control from the Pandian rulers and reigned till the 17th century. But, the subsequent years in the history of Ramanathapuram witnessed the family conflicts over taking over of power led to the partition of Ramanathapuram. During 1730 CE, with the support of the King of Thanjavur, one of the captains forced out the Sethupathi and turned the ruler of Sivaganga.

The following years saw the region of Ramanathapuram under the control of Chanda Sahib (Husayn Dost Khan) of Arcot, Marathas and Nizam. The year 1795 is considered crucial in the history of Ramanathapuram as British people forced out Muthuramalinga Sethupathi and took charge of the governance of Ramanathapuram. During the year 1801, Rani Mangaleswari Nachiyar was appointed as the Zamindar of Sivaganga. After the expiration of Rani Velu Nachiyar (Queen of Sivagangai - Princess of Ramanathapuram), the Marudhu Pandiyar brothers (Periya Marudhu and Chinna Marudhu) took hold by giving revenue to the East India company.

During the year 1803, the Marudhu Pandiyar brothers courageously stood against mightiness of the British together with Veerapandiya Kattabomma Karuthayya Nayakkar  (a fearless 18th-century Palayakarrar from Panchalamkurichi). A British commissioned military officer caught and killed the Marudhu Pandiyar brothers and appointed Gowri Vallabha (Periya Udaya) Thevar as Zamindar of Sivaganga. After the decline of Tippu Sultan (Tiger of Mysore), British people took hold and jailed the Nawab. During the year 1892, the Zamindari system of rules was removed and the British appointed a collector for the purpose of governance.

The British named the district as 'Ramnad' and the name remained after the Indian independence. Afterwards, the territorial dominion was named as Ramanathapuram.

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