The Tuticorin is also known as "Pearl City". It is a Seaport which serves Southern Tamil Nadu including the inland cities of Coimbatore, Erode, Madurai and Tirunelveli. It is one of the major seaports in India with its history dating back to the 6th century.
Tuticorin is traditionally known for its pearl fishery and shipbuilding. Thoothukudi became the centre of the Indian independence movement in the early 20th century, with such leaders as the Maveeran Sundaralinga Kudumbanar , Tyagi Vadivu , Thalapathy Venni Kalady , poet Subramanya Bharathy, Veerapandiya Kattabomman and V.O. Chidambaram Pillai. In 1906, the freedom fighter V. O. Chidambaram Pillai, with the help of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, launched the first Swadeshi ship S.S. Gaelia from this port town in British India.
The major harbour of Tuticorin is well known as a pearl diving and fishing centre. Tuticorin, one of the oldest sea ports in the world, was the seaport of the Pandyan kingdom after Korkai near Palayakayal and later was taken over by the Portuguese in 1548, captured by the Dutch in 1658, and ceded to the British in 1825. The lighthouse built in 1842 marked the beginning of the history of Thoothukudi harbour development. Tuticorin was established as a Municipality in 1866 with Roche Victoria as its first chairman. It attained the status of Corporation on August 5 2008 after 142 years.
Thoothukudi is in South India about 540 kilometres south west of Madras (Chennai) and is geographically located in the Gulf of Mannar.
The district of Mannar (Bay of Bengal) lies south and southwest of the district of Tirunelveli, west and northwest of the district of Virudhunagar and north of the district of Ramanathapuram. The total area of this district is 4621 kmē. The administrative headquarters is an urban agglomeration and also one of the taluk headquarters within the district.
The district of Thoothukudi was carved out as a separate district in 1986 as a result of bifurcation of the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu State.