Kingdom until 1823. Princely state under the paramountcy of the British Raj (1823–1950)
Pudukkottai (Tamil: ????????????) is a town and a municipality in Pudukkottai district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Pudukkottai District was carved out of Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur districts in January 1974. It is the administrative headquarters of Pudukkottai District.
The last Thondaiman raja of Pudukkottai acceded to newly-independent India in 1948, and the state became a division of Tiruchirappalli District of Madras State. The state was reorganised twice in the succeeding decade, taking its present form in 1956; it was renamed Tamil Nadu in 1968. On 14 January 1974, the present Pudukkottai District was formed from parts of Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur districts.
The world's oldest and longest living micronation was probably the Indian princely state of Pudukkottai. From the 6th to the 14th century AD, Pudukkottai was successively ruled by the Pallavas, the Cholas, and the Pandyas. When the Pandya kingdom was conquered by Malik Kafur, Pudukkottai came under the rule of Muslim sultans, who held power for about 50 years before being vanquished by the Vijayanagar kings. When the Vijayanagar kingdom disintegrated, Raghunatha Kilavan wrested the country from them in 1680, and appointed Raghunatha Tondaiman, his brother-in-law, as viceroy. Pudukkottai thus came under the rule of the Madurai Nayak Dynasty. After the death of Raghunatha Kilavan, Raghunatha Tondaiman became the ruler of Pudukottai. Thus the Thondaiman Dynasty took root and flourished. The princely state of Pudukottai was created by Raghunatha (Raya) Tondaiman. In later centuries the Thondaiman rulers, while nominally being feudatories of the Ramnad state, often pursued an independent foreign policy (just like any micronation would do today), a trend common in all parts of India at that time. The kingdom initially did not have fixed boundaries, and was called "Thondaiman country" (after the Thondaiman rulers) until the end of 18th century. The kingdom started to have fixed boundaries in the early 19th century. It extended for 52 miles from east to west and 41 miles from north to south, and encompassed an area of 1,178 square miles. The Thondaimans provided military aid to the British and the Nawabs of Arcot in the 1752 siege of Tiruchirapally, against Haidar Ali and Tippu Sultan, and finally against the Palaiyakkarars. This act by the Thondaiman rulers spared the kingdom from being assigned zamindari status, and Pudukottai was instead assigned as a Princely State (also called Native or Indian State). Marthanda Bhairava Tondaiman declared, in 1888, that Pudukkottai had become an independent kingdom, and in 1889 issued an Amman cash coin (Amman kasu). That was the only coin ever issued by the Kingdom of Pudukkottai. Pudukkottai remained the only princely kingdom to maintain its independence in the whole of Tamil Nadu. The kingdom eventually acceded to the independent Dominion of India in August 1947, and merged with the Madras state in the following year. Rajagopala Tondaiman, ninth and last ruler of the princely state of Pudukkottai, died in 1997 at the age of 75.
List of Thondaiman Kings
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