Not much can you find about the ancient history of kerala. This is mainly due to the lack of sufficient records on those days and shortage of evidence to prove them. Plenty of myths are on the running regarding the creation of kerala and its ancient periods. As per Hindu mythology, kerala was created by Parasuram, one of Lord Mahavishnu’s incarnations. According to geologists, Kerala was formed by a seismic process, either all of a sudden or gradually. Irrespective of the recordings, the initial recording about the place can be seen in the inscriptions of Mauryan Empire, Asoka where he refers to four independent kingdoms which lies in the southern direction of his empire. Known as Cholas, Pandyas, Keralaputras and Satiyaputras, Cholas and Satiyaputras reigned over the Malabar, Cochin and North Travancore who formed the present day kerala which we see now. Go through the below mentioned article to take a glance at the important events which formed the history of kerala.
The Sangam Age and Chera kingdom
- The initial recordings about kerala dates back to Sangam age where Sangam literature was born. This age saw the rule of three political powers such as Ays in the south, Cheras in central kerala and Ezhimalas in the North.
- Ezhimalas reigned over a area which covered the present Kannur and Wayanad districts in North Kerala while Ays ruled over Thiruvalla in the North to Nagercoil in the south.
- Following Sangam age, kerala underwent a dark period which lasted four centuries which is known as ‘Kalabhra Interregnum’.
- The end of eighth century saw other South Indian kingdoms such as Pallavas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakudas and Pandyas overthrowing the kalabhras.
The Age of Shankaracharya
- The eighth century witnessed a reform movement initiated by Adi Shankaracharya, a theologician who travelled all over India and surpassed the Buddhist missionaries in public discourses.
- Born in a place called kaladi, situated 25 Kilometres north of Cochin, he propagated Advaita philosophy. Despite living a short span of 32 years, he achieved his mission by establishing four ‘maths’ in Sringeri in Karnataka, Dwaraka in Gujarat, Badrinath in Uttar Pradesh and Puri in Orissa.
The second Chera Empire
- Kalabhras was followed by the second Chera empire who made Mahodyapuram (present Kodunagllor), their capital.
- Founded by Kulasekhara Alvar, who were Tamil saints and who pioneered Bhakti movement in south India in 7th and 10th
Rajasekhara Varman Rul (A.D. 824 – 44)
- Rajasekhara Varman Rul founded the Kollam Era which started in A.D 825. He also issued the Vazhappali inscription, which is known as the first epigraphical record of Cheras.
- Sthanu Ravi Varman, the king who followed Rajasekhara Varman Rul brought about friendly relationships between Kerala and China.
- The last king of Cheras, Rama Varma Kulasekhara (A.D. 1090-1102), transferred his capital to Quilon following which he was sacked by the Cholas.
- The emergence of Venad Kingdom reached its peak under the reigns of Udaya Marthanda Varma (1175-1195) and Ravi Varma Kulasekhara (1299-1314).
- Udaya Marthanda Varma was the pioneer of the administrative system for temples and as well as a great ruler.
- Ravi Varma Kulasekhara, a brave warrior, scholar and a musician brought peace and order to the empire and encouraged art and learning, patronised poets and artists and promoted trade and commerce.
Emergence of Calicut
- Calicut emerged as major sea port under the reign of Zamorins, hereditary rulers of Calicut.
- Zamorins patronised art, culture and literature and established strong trade links with Arabs.
- The Zamorins expanding their kingdom led to frequent clashes between Cochin, at the end of which Zamorins emerged winners. Conquering Beypore, Parappanad, Vettat, Kurumbranad, Nilambur, Manjeri, Malappuram, Kottakal and Ponnai, they extended their undisputed monarch up to Pantalayani Kollam.
Arrival Of Europeans
- In 1498, Vasco da Gama the Portuguese trader arrived in Calicut.
- Portuguese created a cordial relationship with Zamorins and procured trading facilities in Quilon and Cannanore in 1503 and 1504.
- Albuquerque followed Vasco Da Gama and signed a treaty in 1513 to build a fort in Cochin and start trade.
- Portuguese ruled paved the way for the first printing press in Kerala.
Trade Relations With Dutch
- Dutch fortified and monopolised trade in Purakkad, Kayakulum, Quilon and Travancore by 1662.
- Dutch conquered Cochin in 1663 though their rule declined due to the rise of Travancore ruler Marthanda Varma (1729-58) and the invasion by Mysore.
Rise Of Travancore
- Marthanda Varma (1729-58), popular as the maker of Modern Travancore annexed the territories which were under Dutch.
- Rama Varma (Dharma Raja -1758-98) followed Marthanda Varma, was an efficient ruler, whose defense system even resisted the strength of Tipu’s forces.
- Travancore has a long list of efficient rulers’ which includes Velu Thampi, Rani Gouri Lakshmi Bai (1810-15), Gouri Parvati Bai (1815-29), Swati Tirunal (1829-47), Ayilyam Tirunal (1860-80), Sri Mulam Tirunal (1885-1924) who patronised science, art and culture in Travancore.
Invasion by Mysore
- Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore invaded the regions such as Kolathiri, Kottayam, Kadathanad, Kurumbranad and Calicut which was followed by Trichur and South Malabar in 1783.
- Tipu, the son of Hyder Ali, ascended to his father’s throne and conquered Travancore in 1790.
- Following the third Mysore war, the kingdoms under him were conquered by the British forces and Tips handed over Malabar to British as per the treaty of Srirangapatanam in 1792.
British Invasion of Kerala
- Zamorin permitted British to trade in all Portuguese ports in Kerala by 1634-35 and they fortified Calicut in 1664.
- Velu Thampi and Pallath Achan, Chief ministers of Travancore and Cochin strongly revolted against British, giving them touch time.
- The Treaty of Srirangapatanam made Malabar come under British rule and was converted into a district in Madras Presidency.
- Indian national movement found enthusiastic supporters in Malabar, Travancore and Cochin, with the earlier revolts were led by Velu Thampi in 1799.
- During 1836-56, revolts such as Mappila riots and those which were led by Pazhassi Raja were suppressed by the British.
- The Indian National Congress set up a Congress Committee in Thiruvananthapuram.
- Quit India Movement in 1942 had its deep impact in Kerala with the prominent leaders who were part of Indian national Congress being G.P. Pillai, Rairu Nambiar and Sir. C. Sankaran Nair.
- Punnapra Vayalar Revolt known as a nationalistic struggle were led by communists in 1946.
- On November 1, 1956, Modern Kerala was formed merging Travancore, Cochin and Malabar.
Go through the above mentioned article to get familiarised with history of the state of kerala and its formation.