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The old diocese of Mylapore was erected by Pope Paul V on Jan. 9, 1606. The Vicariate Apostolic of Madras was created on July 4, 1832, and confirmed on April 25, 1834. This Vicariate Apostolic was raised to an Archepiscopal See on Sept. 1, 1886. The Diocese of Mylapore from the very beginning was under the Portuguese Padroado and in 1950 passed over to the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith.
By the Apostolic Constitution Ex- Primaevae Ecclesiae of Jan. 13, 1952, a portion of the Archdiocese of Madras and Diocese of Mylapore were dismembered. From the western portion of the Archdiocese of Madras, the Diocese of Vellore was created. The extreme southern portion of the Diocese of Mylapore was made the Diocese of Thanjavur. From the remaining portions, a new archdiocese was created on Nov. 14, 1952, to be known as the Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore.
The archdiocesan territory covers a land area of 3,160 square kilometers and includes the city of Chennai (formerly called Madras) and the civil district of Thiruvallur. The area has a population of 7,098,401, according to the government census in 2001.
The per capita income in the archdiocesan territory is 27,050 rupees (US$611) per annum. The territory has petrochemical, automobile, dairy, fishing, garment manufacturing, agriculture, hotel and information technology industries. Chennai city has a major port facility.
Ethnic groups in the territory include Anglo-Indians, Gujarathis, Malayalees, Marwaris, Tamils and Telugus. Most of the people speak Tamil but there is a considerable number of people who speak English, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. The local literacy rate is 81.14 percent.