Posted on: 16 December 2016

The Beach at Cape Comorin - 1860
by Robert Bruce Foote

Pen-and-ink and wash drawing of the beach at Cape Comorin (Kanniyakumari) by Robert Bruce Foote (1835-1912) in 1860. Inscribed on the front in ink is: 'R.B. Foote delt. 18.9.1860'; on the back: 'View of Cape Comorin, the Kumla Kumari Pagoda, and islands - from a point 1.25 miles N.E. of the Cape.'

This spot is significant as the meeting point of the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. The sun and moon can be viewed on the same horizon here in April at Chitra Pournami, full moon day. Historically the southern tip of India has been an important trading centre governed by several ruling dynasties from the Tamils, a naval power who 2,500 years ago were trading with Java, Malay peninsula, Egypt, Greece, Rome and later Byzantium to the Vijaynagars whose power disintegrated in the 17th century. By the mid 18th century the British, French, Danes and Dutch were vying for control of the lucrative spice trade here. At end of the 18th century, under British control and most of south India was integrated into the region called the Madras Presidency.

Text and image credit:
Copyright © The British Library Board

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