History of Kerala

Kerala was once known as' the Spice Coast of India. 'The state has attracted many traders from around the world - Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, French and English. All the traders who landed on the shores of Kerala have left their mark on this land in some form or another - architecture, cooking, literature. Kerala was mainly governed by three different countries, namely Portuguese, Dutch and British.

According to mythological facts, the history of Kerala is quite inexplicable. It is believed that the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Parasuram created Kerala. According to legend Parasuram was standing in addition to a mountain and threw his hatchet into the sea, the commander backing off. The land that appeared from the waters became Kerala.

In the 9th century the foundation was laid for a powerful dynasty the Cheras—to rule the region. After the fall of the Cheras, the local chiefs established their rule on different parts of the land. Vasco de Gama arrived at Calicut in 1498. Calicut was then the capital of the Zamorins, the powerful Hindu rulers. The Portuguese obtained the Zamorins' sanction for carrying on their trading activities in the city and elsewhere. In 1509, they successfully negotiated with the king of Cochin, an independent state of Kerala, for expanding their trade to new territories.

The Dutch arrived in 1663. They outmaneuvered the Portuguese in business and soon usurped their power and influence.

In the 18th century the British East India Company was able to reduce both the powerful rulers of the time, the ruler of Travancore and the ruler of Cochin, to a subordinate position.

In 1947, the states of Travancore and Cochin, together with the Malabar area directly ruled by the British, formed a new state.

The history of Kerala is significant. Cranganore (presently known as Kodungallur or Kodungalloor and a town of Thrissur district), Quilon (presently called Kollam), Cochin, Calicut (presently called Kozhikode), Kadalundi (a village in Kozhicode district), Cannanore (presently spelled as Kannur), and Dharmadam were busy trading centres even three thousand years ago, carrying on trade with Assyrian and Babylonian empires, apart from the cities of Greece, Rome, Egypt, China and Asia Minor.

The first batch of Jews had arrived in Kerala, according to tradition, in King Solomon's ship. They had their flourishing settlement near Cochin till recent times. Most of them have migrated to Israel at the call of Judaism.

Kerala also welcomed the first Christian in India. He was St. Thomas, the Apostle, who arrived in India within years of the Crucifixion.

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