Zamindaris were established in the Madras Presidency by the government of the British East India Company starting from 1799 onwards. These settlements were established in order to delineate authority to landlords and thereby relieve the ryot from the control of middlemen who often exploited them. Often, these zamindars were Indian Native princes who lost their sovereignty due to British expansion. The zamindari settlement was based on a similar settlement established in Bengal. The Zamindari settlement of Madras was largely unsuccessful and was wrapped up in 1852. However, a few Zamindaris remained till India's independence in 1947.
Land proprietorship in Madras Presidency
The colonial Madras Presidency comprised an area of 148,796 square miles (385,380 km2), of which 141,705 square miles (367,010 km2) were under direct British rule, while the rest was distributed amongst the princely states. In the areas administered by the British, three systems of land proprietorship existed: zamindaris, inams and ryotwaris.
In 1911, zamindari estates covered 26 million acres (110,000 km2) and occupied over one-fourth of the total area of the presidency. In 1945-46, there were 20,945,456 acres (84,763.25 km2) of Zamindari estates which yielded a revenue of 97,83,167 Rupees and 58,904,798 acres (238,379.26 km2) of ryotwari lands which yielded a revenue of Rs. 7,26,65,330.
Zamindaris from 1799 to 1852
The zamindari system was introduced in the Madras Presidency in 1799 in the aftermath of the defeat of the Polygars in the Polygar Wars.
Zamindaris in 1877-1920
In 1877, C. D.Maclean made a survey of the existing zamindaris under the jurisdiction of Madras Presidency. As per this survey, a few of these zamindaris were larger than some of the smaller princely states in the Presidency. The largest of these were Vizianagaram which is 12000 sq miles, Ramnad, Ganapur and Sivaganga, Ramnad and Sivaganga being demoted princely states, were larger in size than the princely states of Cochin or Pudukkottai. Ramnad, the larger of the two, covered an area of 2,351 square miles (6,090 km2), and was second only to Travancore amongst princely states in Madras Presidency. Karvatinuggur, Kalahasti, Nuzvid, Poonganur, Paralekhemidi and Podile and Darsi divisions of Venkatagiri were larger in size than the princely state of Banganapalle while Virasanapettah, Arni and Kanguni were larger than Sandur.
This is a list of other zamindaris which were either not included in MaClean's list or were non-existent at the time of the enumeration.