Puducherry, centuries before its merger with India in 1954, was a Port City and flourished as a Centre of International Trade and Commerce. The commercial history of Puducherry, dates back to the Roman Empire. The remnants of the ancient port town "Arikenmedu" six kilometers from Puducherry town, already prove that it had trade connections with Rome and Greece around the period 100 BC to 100 AD. Textiles, pearls and silk were the main items of exports. Puducherry continued to flourish even during the Chola period, as the discovery of Chola coins from 11th and 12th centuries indicate. Trade relations with China between the periods of 10th and 12th century A.D. also existed.
The fortune of the Port stayed linked to the successive Dynasties and Empires starting from Portuguese invasion up to 1614 A.D., Dutch invasion in 1618 A.D., and French rule from 1673 A.D. Puducherry Port flourished as a Centre of International Trade and Commerce during the French Rule.