Cochin has been around for centuries, but first achieved some prominence in the early 14th century when the nearby port town of Kodugallur was destroyed by flooding. Operations that had been carried out in Kodugallur then moved to Cochin, and the small town suddengly surged to become a major port on the southwestern tip of India.

     Various empires have assumed control of Cochin over the years. In the mid 16th-century, Portugese imperialists rolled into town, and established the city's first fort, Manuel Kotta. Later, in the 17th-century, the Dutch came and took over Cochin from the Portugese and built another fort, Fort Williams. The Dutch subsequently lost control of the city to the Mysores. When all of India fell to the British in the early 19th-century, Cochin went along. Under the British, existing fortifications were razed, and new ones constructed. The city became a center of military operations in the area. 

    When India achieved independence from the British in 1947, the state of Kerala was formed by a merger of the Kochi Province with Malabar and Travancore Provinces. Cochin became the most eminent city of the new state, which it remains to this day.