In due course the two towns Madraspattinam and Chennapattinam merged in the 17th century i.e. the period when the British gained possession of the area. The united town was referred as Madraspattinam by the British whereas the localities preferred to call it 'Chennapattinam'.
On 22nd August 1639, a small piece of land was purchased by the British East India Company which is located on the Coromandel Coast in Chandragiri from Peda Venkata Raya, king of Vijayanagar. For trading projects, Damerla Venkatapathy being the ruler of Vandavasi region permitted the British to build a factory and a warehouse. The next year British built the Fort St. George which then became a core part of the growing colonial city.
Along with Tamil Nadu, the other northern modern-day states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka were conquered by the British in the late 18th century. This was the period when Madras Presidency was established with Madras as the capital. Under British rule, the city grew into a major urban centre and naval base.
After India gained independence in 1947, Chennai became the capital of Madras State. In 1969 Madras state was renamed as state of Tamil Nadu.
In 2004, An 'Indian Ocean Tsunami' altered the coastline of Chennai permanently, killing many and leaving thousands of hundreds homeless.