Pondicherry, a town on the Coromandel coast, capital of the French possessions in India, 85 m. S. by W. of Madras; pop. about 51,000. It is at the mouth of a small river accessible by vessels of light draught. Previous to the war of 1756, during which it was destroyed by the English, it was one of the finest cities in India. The European quarter is well laid out along the shore, and is separated from the native town by a ditch crossed by several bridges. There are large bazaars, two churches, a lighthouse, several schools, and a college for European children. It is the seat of a Roman Catholic vicar apostolic. The territory annexed to Pondicherry has an area of 112 sq. m., and in 1869 had a population of 131,806. It is surrounded by the British province of South Arcot, and is not very fertile. There is no harbor, but vessels anchor on the open coast, where at all times a heavy sea rolls in, and the surf is almost as dangerous as at Madras. The value of both imports and exports is about $3,250,000 per annum. - The settlement was purchased by the French from the Bejapoor rajah in 1672. It was captured by the Dutch in 1693, but given up at the peace of Ryswick; and taken by the British in 1761, 1778, 1793, and 1803, but each time restored at the conclusion of hostilities.. When it was last given up by the English (1814), it was stipulated that no European soldiers should be landed at Pondicherry, and no fortifications constructed.