Being 352 kilometres away from the north west of the port of Cochin and 312 kilometres southeast of port of Mormugao, the Mangalore port has many feathers on its cap; it is the ninth biggest port in India and the main seaports of Karnataka.
Mangalore being a city rich in companies and institutions of technology and business, the port forms an integral gateway to trade in the city. Import of agricultural products like coffee and cashews are prominent here such that the port is responsible for three quarters of coffee production and most of the cashew production in the country.
The port has been mentioned in many ancient works of art like that of Greek philosopher Ptolemy and that of Roman historian Pliny. Even in religious texts like the Mahabharata and Ramayana, the port is mentioned.
Regional dynasties ruled the Port of Mangalore till the arrival of the Portugese in the 1500s. In the 14th and 15th centuries, there was trade by Muslim merchants here. It was in 1498 that Vasco Da Gama set foot in a nearby island and paved the way for capture of the port by the Portuguese who ruled till the late 18th centuries. Defeat of the Bangara king by Lapo Vaz de Sampayo in 1526 ended muslim dominance of trade.
Goa inquisition as well as Portugese- Maratha Wars encouraged settlement of Catholics and Brahmins in the port in the 16th century. At the end of the following century, Arabs set fire to the town as a revenge against the Portugese who had set trade restrictions on the former. From 1763 to 1767, Mangalore was under the control of the king of Mysore, Hyder Ali.
From 1767, British East India Company held the port of Mangalore until 1783 when Tippu Sultan captured the port which was previously ruled by his father, Hyder Ali. In the fourth Anglo-Mysore war, the British defeated Tippu Sultan after long struggles and ruled the Port peacefully for a prominent time period. It was under this time that Mangalore port prospered in terms of urban infrastructure, education, industry and increased trade.
In the late 19th century, the Roman Catholic missionaries had entered the premise and improved social welfare, education and health conditions. In 1866, urban planning and civil services were given to the responsibility of the municipal council that was created. Tile manufactures and cotton weavers flourished and railways began in 1907. In 1957, the state reorganisation act included the port of Mangalore with the state of Mysore which is now named Karnataka.
In 1974, the new port of Mangalore was opened with a proud legacy that it could look back on and grew to become a prevalent centre of information technology, business and commerce. Fishing and boat building led many generations of Mangalore. The old Mangalore port at Bunder is a port of fishing for merchandise boats. Fishing, tile industry, cashew and cotton industries, educational institutions have flourished ever since they set foot in Mangalore.