Black Court
   Daniel Pullei
   Gold Foil
   Gulam Muhammad
   Letters to Daniel
   Modi documents
   Peder Hansen
   Sami Setty
   Vaiyapuri's marriage
   Viraraghava Ayyangar




Gold Foil

In 1620, a letter on a gold foil 40 cm long and 25 mm wide, was written announcing the establishment of a port by name Tharangampadi, and inviting Danes to settle there. The foil was signed by Raghunatha Nayak in Telugu. The text of the letter is in Tamil. The text was translated into Danish and German by C. T. Walther in 1741. In 1987, Nagaswamy made a transcription of the foil as well as made a translation, which was published in a booklet "Tarangambadi" published in honour of the visit by the then Danish Prime Minister, Poul Schlüter to Tranquebar. I have had the opportunity to photograph the foil during 2008, and an image is shown below. I also reproduce the Tamil text of the foil, as well as the translation by C. T. Walther.  There are a number of differences between Walther's and Nagaswamy's as well as mine.

One can see the signature of the Nayak on the lower right hand side of the foil. The signature sprawls across several text lines, which surround the signature. This seems to indicate that Raghunatha Nayak had signed first, and the text was filled up later. The signature of the Nayak can be compared with the signature on the final treaty between him and Ove Gedde, reproduced under "Treaties".  The text of the foil starts with "Raudra year, Chittirai month, 20th"; This will correspond to the current Gregorian date of April 25, 1620 ("Indian Chronology", L. D. Swamikannu Pillai). At this time, Ove Gedde was still around Africa's Horn, and had not yet reached Ceylon. The second line of the text starts with "ulandeesu chenneralum, Rulangkalappai karpitharum.."; Rulangkalappai refers to Roeland Crappe and karpithar is Captain. Ulandeesu Chennaral refers to a General from Holland.  Who this General was, we do not know. Walther translated the date as: "Raudra 2nd April". Later citations claim this date to be "2nd April 1621" and these cannot be correct. Walther also translated Ulandeesu as Ove Gedde! It is obvious from the text that Tranquebar was given to the Danes, but through Roeland Crappe. The text states that a port called Tharangampadi has been established with a view to Danes settling there.

Historians of the later period have misinterpreted the contents of the golden foil as THE  treaty written in Tamil (see under Peder Hansen). It is not - it is a letter of friendship written by the Nayak. In the National Archives (RA), there is another translation of the gold foil from 1791, which has been overlooked by all historians (Ostindiske journalsager, Pakke 1004 (1791), #245). Daniel Pulley and Piragasam Pulley attest to the correctness of the translation. This translation is accurate, with the exception of the year which is mentioned as Nala. Nala corresponds to 1616! Apart from this, the rest of text corresponds to my recent translation.