Tranquebar is a small town in India. More specifically, it’s a small town in Tamil Nadu. In and of itself it isn’t all that remarkable. There are a lot of towns in India, many smaller than Tranquebar, many more towns vastly larger. What makes Tranquebar interesting is that it was once a Danish trading outpost. Denmark had great ambitions, but little ability to really force their will on anyone. Denmark’s colonial holdings were, thus, modest. Denmark was among the first countries with overseas colonies to divest itself of them. It sold Tranquebar to the British East India Company in 1845. It sold the Danish West Indies to the United States in 1917 when they became the United States Virgin Islands.
Places like Tranquebar interest me. The tiny former Danish outpost is overshadowed by the far greater, more profoundly impactful British legacy. It is even overshadowed by near-by Pondicherry and its French legacy. Portuguese outposts are also far better known. But it exists. There is something distinct about places like that. Whether it’s the Japanese influence on Taiwan, still visible in much of the island’s greatest architectural treasures, its languages and culture or Armenian churches in Singapore, there are less well-known parts of history that are still worth learning about.
I reckon it’s inevitable that I’ve started thinking about things such as this again. It is already March, time has gone by so quickly, it’s going by so quickly. Before I know it, I will once again be facing the Pacific, be looking out over that seemingly endless water. The wide ocean in front of me, the high Sierras behind me, I know I will always look over the water.