Chennai is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is a major commercial, cultural, and educational centre in South India, while the port of Chennai is the second largest port in India.
As of the 2011 census, the city had 4.68 million residents making it the sixth most populous city in India; the urban agglomeration, which comprises the city and its suburbs, was home to approximately 8.9 million, making it the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the country.
Although the area has been part of successive South Indian kingdoms through centuries, the recorded history of the city began in the colonial times, specifically with the arrival of British East India Company and the establishment in 1644 of Fort St George, an English settlement. The British defended several attacks from the French colonial forces, and from the kingdom of Mysore, on Chennai's way to become a major naval port and presidency city by late eighteenth century. Following the independence of India, Chennai became the capital of Tamil Nadu and a hotbed of regional politics that tended to bank on Dravidian identity of the populace. Chennai had become a bustling metropolis with beautiful classical and colonial European styled buildings, lining the city's thoroughfares.
Chennai's economy has a broad industrial base in the automobile, computer, technology, hardware manufacturing and healthcare industries. The city is India's second largest exporter of information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) services. A major chunk of India's automobile manufacturing industry is based in and around the city and hence it is called the Detroit of India. Chennai is an important centre for Carnatic music and hosts a large cultural event, the annual Madras Music Season, which includes performances by hundreds of artists. The city has a vibrant theatre scene and is an important centre for the Bharata Natyam, a classical dance form. The Tamil film industry is based in Chennai.