Tranquebar: a Danish fort in India

Written by Marco Ramerini.

Tranquebar (Tharangambadi) is a small village in Tamil Nadu in India located on the Coromandel coast about 30 km north of Nagapattinam. Tranquebar has the distinction of have been a Danish colony between 1620 and 1845. The Danes in 1620 founded the Fort Dansborg and made ​​it their main trading settlement along the Indian coast.

Tranquebar (Dansborg castle):

  • Danish: 1620-May 1801
  • English: (May 1801-Aug. 1802)
  • Danish: Aug. 1802-1808
  • English: (1808-20 Sep. 1815)
  • Danish: 20 Sep. 1815-7 Nov. 1845
  • English: (7 Nov. 1845- 1947)


– Barner Jensen, Uno “Danish East India trade coins and the coins of Tranquebar 1620-1845” 48 pp. Uno Barner Jensen 1997 Brovst, Denmark. A complete study on the Danish coins of Tranquebar.

– Brijraj Singh “The First Protestant Missionary to India Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg (1683-1719)” 195 pp. 1999, Contents: 1. Introduction. 2. Ziegenbalg’s life. 3. Tranquebar. 4. Ziegenbalg and language. 5. Ziegenbalg, educator. 6. Ziegenbalg and Hinduism. 7. Ziegenbalg in inter-faith dialogue. 8. The missionary enterprise and colonialism; or, was Ziegenbalg a colonialist? Appendix: 1. Partial checklist of Ziegenbalg’s works: prepared from secondary sources. 2. Tamil: texts mentioned in the genealogy of the South-Indian Gods. Works cited. Index. By focusing upon aspects of the life and work of Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg, the first protestant missionary to India, this book offers an insight into a little-known corner of South India’s cultural history. The author reflects on the nature of south Indian society when Ziegenbalg arrived there and the way and extent to which his work changed it.

– Feldbaek, O. “India trade under the Danish flag 1772-1808” 359 pp. Monograph Series n° 2 Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies 1969

– Feldbaek, O. “The Danish Asia trade, 1620-1807: value and volume” In: “An Expanding World” Vol. n° 10; Prakash, Om “European commercial expansion in early modern Asia” pp. 293-317 Also in: “The Scandinavian Economic History review” Vol. 39, n° 1 Odense, 1991, pp. 3-27

– Fenger “History of Tranquebar Mission” 1863, London, UK. – Glamman, K. “The Danish East India Company” In: “Actes du 8ème Colloque Intern. d’Histoire Maritime” 1966, Beirut, Lebanon.

– Gray, J. C. F. “Tranquebar: A Guide to the Coins of Danish India, Circa 1620 to 1845” 83 pp. Quarterman Publications Incorporated, 1974

– Rasmussen, Peter Ravn “Tranquebar: the Danish East India Company 1616-1669” Internet article Peter Ravn Rasmussen, 1996, Denmark.

– Subrahmanyam, S. “The Coromandel Trade of the Danish East India Company, 1618-1649” Scandinavian Economic History Review, Vol. XXXVII, No. 1, 1989. pp. 41-56

About Marco Ramerini

I am passionate about history, especially the history of geographical explorations and colonialism.