Monday, 19 February 2018

Tamil Nadu history from around 1300 till expanded British ruled Madras Presidency in early 1800s

Last updated on 20th February 2018

A few days ago, I was having some animated discussion in Puttaparthi with an elder originally from Tamil Nadu about the Dravidian or Self-Respect movement in Tamil Nadu in the 20th century which is the origin of both the two major political parties of Tamil Nadu today, the DMK and the AIADMK who have been exchanging state govt. rule over the past decades.

Some extracts from :

The Self-Respect Movement is a movement with the aim of achieving a society where backward castes have equal human rights, and encouraging backward castes to have self-respect in the context of a caste-based society that considered them to be a lower end of the hierarchy. It was founded in 1921 by S.Ramanathan who invited E. V. Ramasamy (also called as Periyar by his devoted followers) to head the movement in Tamil Nadu, India against Brahminism. The movement was extremely influential not just in Tamil Nadu, but also overseas in countries with large Tamil populations, such as Malaysia and Singapore. Among Singapore Indians, groups like the Tamil Reform Association, and leaders like Thamizhavel G. Sarangapani were prominent in promoting the principles of the Self-Respect Movement among the local Tamil population through schools and publications.

A number of political parties in Tamil Nadu, such as Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) owe their origins to the Self-respect movement, the latter a 1972 breakaway from the DMK. Both parties are populist with a generally social democratic orientation.


Tamil Brahmins (Iyers and Iyengars) were frequently held responsible by followers of Periyar for direct or indirect oppression of lower-caste people and resulted in attacks on Brahmins, which, among other causes, started a wave of mass-migration of the Brahmin population. Periyar, in regard to a DK member's attempt to assassinate Rajagopalachari, "expressed his abhorrence of violence as a means of settling political differences". But many suggest that the values of the non-Brahmin movement were explicitly anti-Brahmin.

--- end wiki extract ---

Ravi: As the discussion with the elder progressed, I wanted to understand the historical background of Tamil Nadu prior to British administration/rule (including just before the British administration/rule started). The elder had some idea about it but was not sure of the details. He had the view that there were no kings in Tamil Nadu in the immediate period prior to British rule (let's say half a century to a century) and that it was local landlords (zamindars) who were in charge of their lands (and people working on those lands). I said that these landlords would be paying tax/tribute to some ruler (and acknowledging that ruler as the overlord and protector of their lands from invaders from other kingdoms) as that was the general model in (mainland) Indian society then. The elder felt that that was NOT the case. That led me to study Tamil Nadu history wiki pages to know the answer.

The answer in short is that there were kings or rulers in Tamil Nadu in the period immediately prior to British rule (say, 50 year period prior to British rule), who would have surely collected tax/tribute from the landlords/zamindars. The important points to note in this context are:

1) The British rule/administration of expanded Madras presidency which included the lands claimed earlier by the Nawab of Arcot, the Maratha king of Thanjavur (Tanjore) and King of Mysore (Tipu Sultan), got established in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

2) Immediately prior to British rule/administration being imposed on their kingdoms, kings like the Nawab of Arcot and the Maratha king of Thanjavur ruled their kingdoms in Tamil Nadu. They were not very powerful then but were still kings and would have collected taxes/tribute/revenue from the zamindars/land owners in their kingdoms. Tipu Sultan of Mysore also had some areas of Tamil Nadu under his control (Dindigul, Salem, Coimbatore etc). The British forced these kings to concede their lands to them (which were added to Madras presidency) either through war (with Tipu Sultan resulting in his defeat and death) or through pressure (a threat of war perhaps) (e.g. Nawab of Arcot and Maratha king of Thanjavur). This happened in the period from around 1790 to 1801.

3) In Tiruneveli area, the local chieftains known as Polygars or Palaiyakkarars rebelled against the British imposing taxes on them. These Polygar wars,, lasted from 1799 to 1802 or 1805, at the end of which the British had defeated the rebellion and brought the district under their control.

Given below is information about history of Tamil Nadu from around 1300 till the British established their rule over Tamil Nadu in the early 1800s. The main wiki page on this topic is: Some extracts from it are given below:

Age of empires (600–1300)

The medieval period of the history of the Tamil country saw the rise and fall of many kingdoms, some of whom went on to the extent of empires, exerting influences both in India and overseas. The Cholas who were very active during the Sangam age were entirely absent during the first few centuries. The period started with the rivalry between the Pandyas and the Pallavas, which in turn caused the revival of the Cholas. The Cholas went on to becoming a great power. Their decline saw the brief resurgence of the Pandyas. This period was also that of the re-invigorated Hinduism during which temple building and religious literature were at their best.

The Hindu sects Saivism and Vaishnavism became dominant, replacing the prevalence of Jainism and Buddhism of the previous era. Saivism was patronised more by the Chola kings and became more or less a state religion. Some of the earliest temples that are still standing were built during this period by the Pallavas. The rock-cut temples in Mamallapuram and the majestic Kailasanatha and Vaikuntaperumal temples of Kanchipuram stand testament to the Pallava art. The Cholas, utilising their prodigious wealth earned through their extensive conquests, built long-lasting stone temples including the great Brihadisvara temple of Thanjavur and exquisite bronze sculptures. Temples dedicated to Siva and Vishnu received liberal donations of money, jewels, animals, and land, and thereby became powerful economic institutions.

Vijayanagar and Nayak period (1300–1650)

[Ravi: The first Muslim ruler invasion of Tamil Nadu seems to have happened in 1311 which eventually resulted in Muslim rule of Madurai and surrounding territories from around 1323 to 1378. Here is a current day map of Tamil Nadu with its major districts/areas which may be useful to understand sections below : .]

[From :
Ma'bar Sultanate, unofficially known as the Madurai Sultanate, was a short lived independent Muslim kingdom based in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, India. The sultanate was proclaimed in 1335 when the then viceroy of Madurai, Jalaluddin Ahsan Khan declared his independence from the Delhi Sultanate. Ahsan Khan and his descendants ruled Madurai and surrounding territories until 1378 when the last sultan, Ala-ud-Din Sikandar Shah fell in battle against the forces of the Vijayanagara Empire led by Kumara Kampana. In this short reign of 43 years, the Sultanate had 8 different rulers.
In the early 14th Century, South India was subjected to repeated invasions by armies of the Delhi Sultanate. There were three separate invasions within a period of fifteen years. The first invasion in 1311 CE was led by Malik Kafur, who sacked Madurai. Following this there were two more expeditions from the Delhi Sultanate - the second in 1314 CE led by Khusrav Khan and the third in 1323 CE by Ulugh Khan. These invasions shattered the Pandyan empire beyond revival. While the previous invasions were content with plunder, Ulugh Khan annexed the former Pandyan dominions to the Delhi Sultanate as the province of Ma'bar. Most of South India came under the Delhi's rule and was divided into five provinces - Devagiri, Tiling, Kampili, Dorasamudra and Ma'bar.
In 1325, Ulugh Khan acceded to the throne in Delhi as Muhammad bin Tughluq. His plans for invading Persia and Khorasan, bankrupted his treasury and led to the issuing of token currency. This led to counterfeiting and further worsened the sultanate's finances. He was unable to pay his huge army and the soldiers stationed in distant provinces revolted. The first province to rebel was Bengal and Ma'bar soon followed. The Governor of Ma'bar, Jalaluddin Ahsan Khan declared independence and set up the Madurai Sultanate. The exact year of founding of the Madurai Sultanate is not clear. Numismatic evidence points to 1335 CE as the founding year. The Persian historian Firishta however places the year of Ma'bar's revolt as 1340 CE.
This short lived Muslim dynasty at Madurai came into existence following the decline of the Second Pandyan empire, and ruled Madurai, Trichinopoly and parts of South Arcot, for the next 48 years, first as feudatories of the Delhi Sultanate and later as independent monarchies lasting until 1378. The Madurai Sultanate was destroyed by the rise of Vijayanagar, later followed by the Madurai Nayaks.
--- end Madurai Sultanate wiki extract ---]
[Ravi: Arcot seems to now be considered as a town/urban part of Vellore city,,_Vellore .]
The 14th century invasion by the Delhi Sultans caused a retaliatory reaction from the Hindus, who rallied to build a new kingdom, called the Vijayanagara Empire. Bukka, with his brother Harihara founded the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire based in the city of Vijayanagara in Karnataka. Under Bukka the empire prospered and continued to expand towards the south. Bukka and his son Kampana conquered most of the kingdoms of southern India. In 1371 the Vijayanagar empire defeated the short lived Madurai Sultanate, which had been established by the remnants of the invading Khalji army. Eventually the empire covered the entire south India. Vijayangara empire established local governors called Nayaks to rule in the various territories of the empire.

The Vijayanagar Empire declined in 1564 defeated by the Deccan sultans in the battle of Talikota. The local Nayak governors declared their independence and started their rule. The Nayaks of Madurai and Thanjavur were the most prominent of them. Ragunatha Nayak (1600–1645) was the greatest of the Tanjavur Nayaks. Raghunatha Nayak encouraged trade and permitted a Danish settlement in 1620 at Tarangambadi.


Tharangambadi, formerly Tranquebar (Danish: Trankebar), is a town in the Nagapattinam district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu on the Coromandel Coast. It lies 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north of Karaikal, near the mouth of a distributary of the Kaveri River. Tranquebar was the first Danish trading post in India established in 1620. King Christian IV had sent his envoy Ove Gjedde who established contact with Raghunatha Nayak of Tanjore. The Danish government sold the colony of Tranquebar to the British East India Company in 1845. Until then an annual tribute had been paid by the Danes to the Rajah of Tanjore. Tharangambadi is the headquarters of Tharangambadi taluk, while its name means "place of the singing waves". The name Trankebar remains current in modern Danish.
--- end extracts from Tharangambadi wiki page ---

Readers may also want to visit an older post of mine: Friendly relationship between Danish king and South Indian (Thanjavur) King in early 17th century,, 4th May 2015.

From :
In 1620 Raghunatha Nayak permitted a Danish settlement at Tarangambadi. This encouraged the English to seek trade with the Thanjavur Nayaks. The Tanjore cannon or Raghunatha cannon, supposed to be the largest cannon in the world was installed during Raghunatha Nayak [rule], built with Danish metallurgy know how.
--- end Thanjavur Nayak kingdom wiki extract --- 
The wiki page has a pic supposedly of that cannon (or may be similar cannon):
Ravi: The Thanjavur Nayaks would have been under constant threat from the Muslim Deccan sultans (who had defeated the Vijayanagara Hindu rulers). So they would have viewed the Europeans (trading companies backed by their native country/kingdom) who were willing to help them with arms as friends! Danes provided the cannon perhaps in first half of 1600s (17th century)! English, Dutch and French too were involved in Tamil Nadu. end-Tharangambadi-related-insert]
This laid the foundation of future European involvement in the affairs of the country. The success of the Dutch inspired the English to seek trade with Thanjavur, which was to lead to far-reaching repercussions. Vijaya Raghava (1631–1676) was the last of the Thanjavur Nayaks. Nayaks reconstructed some of the oldest temples in the country and their contributions can be seen even today. Nayaks expanded the existing temples with large pillared halls, and tall gateway towers, which is representative of the religious architecture of this period.

In Madurai, Thirumalai Nayak was the most famous Nayak ruler. He patronised art and architecture creating new structures and expanding the existing landmarks in and around Madurai. On Thirumalai Nayak's death in 1659, the Madurai Nayak kingdom began to break up. His successors were weak rulers and invasions of Madurai recommenced.

Maratha influence

Shivaji Bhonsle, the great Maratha ruler, invaded the south, as did Chikka Deva Raya of Mysore [Ravi: seems to be reference to Hindu ruler, Chikka Devaraja also called as Devaraja Wodeyar II, who "assiduously cultivated an alliance" with Mughal emperor Aurangzeb] and other[?] Muslim Rulers, resulting in chaos and instability. Rani Mangammal, the Nayak ruler of Madurai, tried to resist these invasions showing great courage. Shivaji had conquered important forts like Gingee and Vellore by 1678. On the other hand, Ekoji, half brother of Shivaji had established his own rule in Thanjavur.

Gingee served as the Maratha capital for nine years during the 27-year Mughal-Maratha war. The Mughals captured Gingee in 1698.

Rule of Poligars, Nizams and Nawabs

European settlements began to appear in the Tamil country during the Vijayanagara Empire. In 1605, the Dutch established trading posts in the Coromandel Coast near Gingee and in Pulicat. The British East India Company built a 'factory' (warehouse) at Armagaon (Durgarazpatnam), a village around 35 miles (56 km) North of Pulicat, as the site in 1626. In 1639, Francis Day, one of the officers of the company, secured the rights over a three-mile (5 km) long strip of land a fishing village called Madraspatnam from the Damarla Venkatadri Nayakudu, the Nayak of Vandavasi. The East India Company built Fort St George and castle on an approximate five square kilometre sand strip. This was the start of the town of Madras. The coromandel coast was ruled by the Vijayanagara King (Aravidu Dynasty), Peda Venkata Raya, based in Chandragiri and Vellore Fort. With his approval the English began to exercise sovereign rights over their strip of land.

In 1675, a column of Bijapur army came to Thanjavur to help Vijayaraghava and retrieved Vallam from the Madurai Nayak. However the same army subsequently killed Vijayaraghava Nayaka and Ekoji managed to ascend the throne of Thanjavur kingdom. Thus began the Maratha rule of Thanjavur. After Ekoji, his three sons namely Shaji, Serfoji I, Thukkoji alias Thulaja I ruled Thanjavur. The greatest of the Maratha rulers was Serfoji II (1798–1832 ). Serfoji devoted his life to the pursuit of culture and Thanjavur became renowned as a seat of learning. Serfoji's patronised art and literature and built the Saraswati Mahal Library at his palace. The incursion of the Muslim armies from the north forced a southward migration of Hindus from the central Deccan and the Andhra countries to seek shelter under the Nayak and the Maratha kings. The famous Carnatic music composer Tyagaraja (1767–1847), along with the Trinity of Carnatic music flourished in the Thanjavur district during this time.

With the demise of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, his empire dissolved amidst numerous succession wars and the vassals of the empire began to assert their independence. The administration of the southern districts of Tamil Nadu was fragmented with hundreds of Poligars or Palayakkarars governing a few villages each. These local chieftains often fought amongst each other over territory. This turned the political situation in the Tamil country and in South India in general into confusion and chaos. The European traders found themselves in a situation where they could exploit the prevailing confusion to their own advantage.
[Ravi: The Nawabs of the Carnatic/Arcot had a Muslim kingdom in parts of Tamil Nadu. Their history is not so clear. Here is some info. from :
Nawabs of the Carnatic (also referred to as the Nawabs of Arcot) ruled the Carnatic region of South India between about 1690 and 1801. The Carnatic was a dependency of Hyderabad Deccan, and was under the legal purview of the Nizam of Hyderabad, until their demise. They initially had their capital at Arcot in the present-day Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Their rule is an important period in the history of Carnatic and Coromandel regions, in which the Mughal Empire gave way to the rising influence of the Maratha Empire, and later the emergence of the British Raj.
The old province known as the Carnatic, in which Madras (Chennai) was situated, extended from the Krishna river to the Kaveri river, and was bounded on the West by Mysore kingdom and Dindigul, (which formed part of the Sultanate of Mysore). The Northern portion was known as the 'Mughal Carnatic', the Southern the 'Maratha Carnatic' with the Maratha fortresses of Gingee and Ranjana-gad. Carnatic thus was the name commonly given to the region of Southern India that stretches from the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh in the North, to the Maratha fort of Ranjana-Gad in the south (including Kaveri delta) and Coromandal Coast in the east to Western Ghats in the west.
The Nawab of the Carnatic was established by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who in 1692 appointed Zulfikhar Ali Khan as the first Nawab of the Carnatic, with his seat at Arcot as a reward for his victory over the Marathas led by Rajaram. With the Vijayanagara Empire in serious decline, the Nawabdom of the Carnatic controlled a vast territory south of the Krishna river. The Nawab Saadatullah Khan I (1710–1732) moved his court from Gingee to Arcot. His successor Dost Ali (1732–1740) conquered and annexed Madurai in 1736. In 1740, the Maratha forces descended on Arcot. They attacked the Nawab, Dost Ali Khan, in the pass of Damalcherry. In the war that followed, Dost Ali, one of his sons Hasan Ali, and a number of prominent persons lost their lives. This initial success at once enhanced Maratha prestige in the south. From Damalcherry the Marathas proceeded to Arcot, which surrendered to them without much resistance. Chanda Saheb and his son were arrested and sent to Nagpur.
Muhammad Ali Khan Wallajah (1749–1795) became the ruler in 1765.
The growing influences of the English and the French and their colonial wars had a huge impact on the Carnatic. Wallajah supported the English against the French and Hyder Ali, placing him heavily in debt. As a result he had to surrender much of his territory to the East India Company. Paul Benfield an English business man made one of his mayor loans to the Nawab for the purpose of enabling him, who with the aid of the English, had invaded and conquered the Mahratta state of Tanjore.
The thirteenth Nawab, Ghulam Muhammad Ghouse Khan (1825–1855), died without issue, and the British annexed the Carnatic Nawabdom, applying the doctrine of lapse. Ghouse Khan's uncle Azim Jah was created the first Prince of Arcot (Amir-e-Arcot) in 1867 by Queen Victoria, and was given a tax free-pension in perpetuity.
---end Arcot state wiki extracts---]

European colonisation (1750–1858)

Anglo-French conflicts

The French were relative newcomers to India. The French East India Company was formed in 1664 and in 1666 the French representatives obtained Aurangzeb's permission to trade in India. The French soon setup trading posts at Pondicherry on the Coromandel coast. They occupied Karaikal in 1739 and Joseph François Dupleix was appointed Governor of Pondichéry. In Europe the War of the Austrian Succession began in 1740 and eventually the British and the French forces in India were caught up in the conflict. There were numerous naval battles between the two navies along the Coromandel coast. The French led by La Bourdonnais attacked the poorly defended Fort St. George in Madras in 1746 and occupied it. Robert Clive was one of the prisoners of war from this battle. The war in Europe ended in 1748 and with the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle Madras was restored to the British.

The conflict between the British and the French continued, this time in political rather than military terms. Both the Nawab of the Carnatic and Nizam of Hyderabad positions were taken by rulers who were strongly sympathetic to the French. Chanda Sahib had been made Nawab of the Carnatic with Dupleix's assistance, while the British had taken up the cause of the previous incumbent, Mohammed Ali Khan Walajah. In the resultant battle between the rivals, Clive assisted Mohammed Ali by attacking Chanda Sahib's fort in Arcot and took possession of it in 1751. The French assisted Chanda Sahib in his attempts to drive Clive out of Arcot. However the large Arcot army assisted by the French was defeated by the British. The Treaty of Paris (1763) formally confirmed Mahommed Ali as the Nawab of the Carnatic. It was a result of this action and the increased British influence that in 1765 the Emperor of Delhi issued a firman (decree) recognising the British possessions in southern India.

Although the Company was becoming increasingly bold and ambitious in putting down resisting states, it was getting clearer day by day that the Company was incapable of governing the vast expanse of the captured territories. Opinion amongst the members of the British Parliament urged the government to control the activities of the Company. The Company's financial position was also bad and it had to apply for a loan from Parliament. Seizing this opportunity, the Parliament passed the Regulating Act (also known as East India Company Act) in 1773. The act set down regulations to control the Company Board and created the position of the Governor General. Warren Hastings was appointed the first Governor-General. In 1784 Pitt's India Act made the Company subordinate to the British Government.

The next few decades were of rapid growth and expansion in the territories controlled by the British. The Anglo-Mysore Wars of 1766 to 1799 and the Anglo-Maratha Wars of 1772 to 1818 put the Company in control of most of India. In a sign of the early resistance against the English control, the Palayakkarar chieftains of the old Madurai Kingdom, who had independent authority over their territories, ran into a conflict with the Company officials over tax collection. Kattabomman, a local Palayakkarar chieftain in the Tirunelveli district, rebelled against the taxes imposed by the Company administration in the 1790s. After the First Polygar War (1799–1802), he was captured and hanged in 1799. A year later, the Second Polygar War was fought by Oomaithurai was involved in the Polygar Wars against the East India Company. In the first Poligar war, he was captured and imprisoned in Palayamkottai prison. In February 1801, he escaped from Palayamkottai and rebuilt the Panchalankurichi fort which had been razed in the first war. In the second Poligar war that followed, Oomaithurai allied himself with Maruthu brothers (who ruled Sivagangai) and was part of a grand alliance against the Company which included Dheeran Chinnamalai and Kerala Verma. The Company forces led by Lt. Colonel Agnew laid siege to the Panchalankurichi fort and captured it in May 1801 after a prolonged siege and artillery bombardment. Oomaithurai escaped the fall of the fort and joined Marudu brothers at their jungle fort at Kalayar Kovil. The Company forces pursued him there and eventually captured Kalayar Kovil in October 1801. Oomaithurai along with the Marudu brothers was hanged on 16 November 1801.

In 1798 Lord Wellesley became the Governor-General. In the course of the next six years Wellesley made vast conquests and doubled the Company's territory. He shut out the French from further acquisitions in India, destroyed several ruling powers in the Deccan and the Carnatic, took the Mughal Emperor under the company's protection and compelled Serfoji, the king of Thanjavur to cede control of his kingdom. The Madras Presidency was established so that the territory under direct Company control could be administered effectively. The direct administration began to cause resentment among the people. In 1806 the soldiers of the Vellore cantonment rebelled when William Bentinck, the Governor of Madras decreed that the native soldiers should abandon all caste marks. Fearing this act to be an attempt of forceful conversion to Christianity, the soldiers mutinied. The rebellion was suppressed but 114 British officers were killed and several hundred mutineers executed. Bentinck was recalled in disgrace.

---- end extracts from History of Tamil Nadu wiki ---

Some extracts from are given below:

In 1780, the First Anglo-Mysore War broke out, which resulted in widespread devastation of the Madras Presidency, by the Mysore troops. Peace was made in 1784 by a mutual restoration of territories. Six years thereafter, in 1790, war again broke out with Mysore, albeit with Tipu Sultan, Hyder Ali's son at its head, when the latter raided the territories of the King of Travancore, an English ally. Assisted by the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Peshwa's forces, in 1792, the Mysorean capital of Seringapatam was besieged by the English, whereupon the Sultan treated for peace, the terms of which were the cession of one half of his territories to the allied forces and an indemnity of 3 crores 30 lakhs of rupees. This resulted in the accession to the Madras Presidency of the territories of Dindigul and the Burramah'l, comprising the country from Salem to Dharmapuri, and Malabar. Seeking revenge, Tipu Sultan began to intrigue with the French, which precipitated the Third Anglo-Mysore War, in 1799. With the assistance of their allies from the previous war the English stormed the Sultan's capital in the Siege of Seringapatam. The conclusion of this war resulted in the addition of Coimbatore and Wayanad and the Canara districts on the West Coast, to the territory of the Madras Presidency.

In addition to these substantial additions, in 1799, the Mahratta Raja of Tanjore ceded his kingdom to the East India Company in return for an annuity, while the Nizam surrendered all territory acquired from Tipu Sultan, to the British, in return for an army in his dominions. This latter accession brought the districts of Bellary, Anantapur, Cuddapah and Kurnool, which were known as the Ceded Districts on account of the circumstances attending upon their accession to the British dominions. The discovery of a body of correspondence between Tipu Sultan and the Nawab of the Carnatic, violative of his alliance with the British, led to a treaty in 1801, whereby the government of his territory of Arcot was resigned to the English, in return for the titular dignity of Prince of Arcot and an annual stipend. Thus, the last quarter of the 18th century was a period of rapid expansion.

--- end extracts from History of Madras Presidency wiki ---

Ravi: By the first few years of the 1800s the British had established themselves as the main rulers of areas that were previously ruled by Marathas of Thanajavur, by the Nawab of Arcot and other rulers of what became a large Madras presidency. They allowed the Nawab of Arcot and perhaps the Maratha ruler of Thanjavur too to have a titular role but with no power and no administration.

Here is Madras Presidency 1909 map with 'native' states like Travancore and Mysore coloured in yellow: Note that Puttaparthi which is part of Anantapur district, where I have been living for the past over 15 years, was within Madras presidency then. Puttaparthi is not shown in the map but the nearby towns of Dharmavaram and Kadiri are shown. You can see Puttaparthi's location on almost a straight line between Dharmavaram and Kadiri in this map, .

[I thank wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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