During the first decades of the 17th century the Dutch tried to create new possibilities for trade on the Coromandel Coast. The main reason was the tremendous demand for Pulicat textiles in the Moluccas. In 1610 Pulicat became the principal base on the Coromandel Coast, grouping a number of sub-trading stations. Together these trading stations formed a cartel, cutting out Portuguese competition and the local rulers.
During the first half of the 17th century the VOC became increasingly involved in the endless civil wars surrounding the succession to the throne in this area. After some initial friction with the local authorities at Pulicat the Company gained permission to establish a fort. According to the treaty the local ruler would finance construction work and become part owner of the fort. However, work proceeded slowly and the VOC was forced to pay the costs itself. The town flourished under the Company's strict neutrality during wartime and under the protection the fort offered the population.
The VOC's presence on the Coromandel Coast was primarily motivated by the many kinds of cotton fabric that were cheaply available. These textiles were highly prized in the Moluccas for the manufacture of garments and could be profitably exchanged there for spices. Pulicat was the most important centre of the textile trade on the coast. The VOC enjoyed various privileges in Pulicat, which enabled it to control textile production. The local manufacturers were only allowed to produce fabrics ordered by the Company. The VOC rapidly managed to acquire a trade monopoly in Pulicat.
From 1610 Pulicat housed the VOC headquarters for the Coromandel Coast. In 1687 the governor relocated to Negapatnam. After the English captured Nagappattinam in 1781 the governors of Coromandel returned to Pulicat. In 1795 Pulicat fell to the English too.