Cochin, now Kochi, is a beautiful city on the south-western coast of the country in the state of Kerala, which is often referred to as 'God's Own Country'. A port that has great strategic significance due to its location, Cochin has earned sobriquets like 'Queen of the Arabian Sea' and 'Gateway to Kerala'. It has been in the thick of things since the time European colonies invaded India for trade benefits. The history of Cochin is influenced by the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese. A former princely state, this city was invaded by the Dutch during the mid-seventeenth century, when they overpowered the Portuguese. However, the Dutch were defeated by Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali, rulers of the state of Mysore. The city became a part of the British Empire in the year 1814. Famous for spices like pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves, Cochin has emerged as one of the most influential ports in the country. It is also a popular tourist destination due to its pristine beaches, shopping centres and magnificent churches.