Cuddalore is known for its picturesque beaches, particularly Silver Beach, and, until the problems associated with its industrial development became known, had some ambitions an emerging tourism hub.
In the neighborhood are the ruins of Fort St David situated on the river Gadilam, which has a stirring history. As a small fort built by a Hindu merchant, it fell into the hands of the Marathas after the capture of Gingee by Sivaji in 1677. From them it was purchased by the English in 1690, the purchase including not only the fort but the adjacent towns and villages within "ye randome shott of a piece of ordnance." A great gun was fired to different points of the compass and all the country within its range, including the town of Cuddalore, passed into the possession of the English. The villages thus obtained are still spoken of as cannon ball villages.
From 1725 onwards the fortifications were greatly strengthened. In 1746 Fort St. David became the British headquarters for the south of India, and Dupleix' attack was successfully repulsed. Clive was appointed its governor in 1756; in 1758 the French captured it, but abandoned it two years later to Sir Eyre Coote. In 1782 the French captured it again, and restored it sufficiently to withstand a British attack in 1783, see Battle of Cuddalore (1783). In 1785 it finally passed into British possession.
Europeans started establishing their business settlements in Indian coast ever since 17th century. In the eastern coast French established their business settlements in Pondichéry and British established their settlements and business establishments in Cuddalore.
Later British started ruling the region and they built several forts. Fort St. David was the first fort built by British. Robert Clive, who laid a strong foundation for British rule in Indian subcontinent used St. David Fort as the centre for his military operations.