Kingdom of Cochin (rendered in Malayalam as കൊച്ചി — Kocci — or പെരുമ്പടപ്പ് — Perumpaṭappu) was a late medieval Hindu kingdom and later Princely State on the Malabar Coast of South India. Between the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, British India had hundreds of Princely States, some 652 in all, but most of them did not issue postage stamps. The stamp-issuing States were of two kinds: the Convention States which had postal conventions (or agreements) with the Post Office of India to provide postal services within their territories and used overprinted stamps of British India, and the Feudatory States which maintained their own postal services within their territories and issued stamps with their own designs. Many of the Feudatory States stamps were imperforate and issued without gum. Many varieties of type, paper, inks and dies are not listed in the standard catalogues. The stamps of each Feudatory State were valid only within that State, so letters sent outside that State needed additional British India postage.
Once controlling much of the territory between Ponnani and Thottappally, the Cochin kingdom shrank to its minimal extent as a result of invasions by the Zamorin of Calicut. When Portuguese armadas arrived in India, Cochin was in vassalage to Zamorin and was looking for an opportunity to break away. King Unni Goda Varma Tirumulpadu (Trimumpara Raja) warmly welcomed Pedro Álvares Cabral on December 24, 1500, and negotiated a treaty of alliance between Portugal and the Cochin kingdom, directed against the Zamorin of Calicut. Cochin became a long-time Portuguese protectorate (1503–1663) providing assistance against native overlords. After the Portuguese, the Dutch East India Company (1663–1795) followed by the English East India Company (1795–1858, confirmed on May 6, 1809), protected the Cochin state. Even today, the full official designation of the Raja of Cochin is “Perumpadappu Gangadhara Veera Kerala Thrikkovil Adhikarikal”.
The Kingdom of Cochin, originally known as Perumpadappu Swarupam, was under the rule of the Later Cheras in the Middle Ages. The Nambudiri (the Brahmin chief) of Perumpadappu had married the sister of the last Later Chera king, Rama Varma Kulashekhara, and as a consequence obtained Mahodayapuram, and Thiruvanchikulam Temple along with numerous other rights, such as that of the Mamankam festival. After the fall of the Mahodayapuram Cheras in the twelfth century, along with numerous other provinces Perumpadappu Swarupam became a free political entity. However, it was only after the arrival of Portuguese colonizers on the Malabar Coast did the Perumpadappu Swarupam acquire any political importance. Perumpadappu rulers had family relationships with the Nambudiri rulers of Edappally. After the transfer of Kochi and Vypin from Edappally rulers to the Perumpadappu rulers, the latter came to be known as kings of Kochi. Ma Huan, the Muslim voyager and translator who accompanied Admiral Zheng He on three of his seven expeditions to the Western Oceans, describes the king of Cochin as being a Buddhist.
In 1814, according to the Anglo-Dutch Treaty, the islands of Kochi, including Fort Kochi and its territory, were ceded to the United Kingdom in exchange for the island of Banca. Even prior to the signing of the treaty, there is evidence of English residents in Kochi.
Meanwhile, in 1866, Fort Cochin was made a municipality, and its first Municipal Council election with a board of 18 members was conducted in 1883. Cochin issued its first postage stamps on April 1, 1892. The Maharajah of Cochin initiated local administration in 1896 by forming town councils in Mattancherry and Ernakulam. Towards the early twentieth century, trade at the port had increased substantially and the need to develop the port was greatly felt. The harbor engineer Robert Bristow was brought to Cochin in 1920 under the direction of Lord Willingdon, then Governor of Madras. Over a span of 21 years he transformed Cochin into the safest harbor in the peninsula, where ships berthed alongside the newly reclaimed inner harbor, which was equipped with a long array of steam cranes.
In 1925, a Kochi legislative assembly was constituted due to public pressure on the state. The assembly consisted of 45 members, 10 were officially nominated. Thottakkattu Madhaviamma was the first woman to be a member of any legislature in India. Kochi was the first princely state to willingly join the Indian Union when India gained independence in 1947. Cochin merged with Travancore to create Travancore-Cochin on July 1, 1949, which was in turn merged with the Malabar district of Madras State on November 1, 1956, to form the new Indian state of Kerala.
Scott #43 was released in 1933 as part of a set of eleven definitives depicting Sri Rama Varma III. The 6 pies red brown stamp was printed by engraving and perforated 13×13½.