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Life of Pi Historical Context

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Though most people associate colonial India with the British Empire, parts of India were claimed as territories by the French as early as the 1600s. These French claims were mostly concentrated along the eastern coast of India, with Pondicherry serving as the main seat of French colonial interests. Pondicherry became a successful port and, like many other colonial strong holds in India, became the scene of territorial struggles between the French and the British.

A devastating clash occurred in 1761, when British forces seized control of Pondicherry and destroyed the city; they returned Pondicherry to France four years later, and the city was quickly rebuilt. However, the two colonial powers continued to battle for control of Pondicherry and other eastern Indian settlements for the next several decades. By the 1820s, the region stabilized and Pondicherry made slow progress toward regaining its former grandeur.

After British...

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