About Kerala

History of Kerala

The founder of Keralam Parasurama, the warrior-sage regarded as the incarnation of Vishnu. After trampling Kshathriya Kings in the battle, he approached the wise men for penance.

As a Self-mortification he was advised to create a land for Brahmins. He readily agreed and meditated at Gokarnam, (considered to be the end of land). After getting the boons from Varuna, the God of the Oceans and Bhumidevi, the Goddess of earth, he proceeded to Kanya Kumari (Cape Comorin) and threw his battle-axe northwards across the waters.

The waters subsided and what was left over was called the land of Parasurama, that is today's Kerala.

Scientific Theology

Geologists have pointed out that the elevation of Kerala from the sea was the result of some seismic activity, either suddenly or gradually.

Another Thoughts prevailing in scientific society is the rivers of Kerala emptying into the Arabian seas bring down enormous quantities of silt from the hills. The ocean currents transport quantities of sand towards the shore. The coastal portions could well be due to the accumulation.

The earliest inhabitants of Kerala were the Pulayas, Kuravas and Vetas. It is at a much later time that migratory Aryan populations from the north landed and subjugated them through caste system.

The Christians who had arrived from the Middle East in the 3rd century AD and the Muslims who arrived in the 8th century were generally traders and were not involved in this social segregation and generally kept aloof from the ambit of caste politics. The Jews who arrived Kerala in the early years of the Christian era were given privileges to trade and became an influential part of the melting pot of Kerala's population.

This is precisely what the Europeans who found a sea-lane to the fabled land of spices and gold did. There was nothing anyone could do to stop the next five centuries of colonial rule.

European Conquest

Ancient Kerala occupied a unique place in the commercial world. There are traces of teak found in the ruins of Ur, which must certainly have come from the Malabar Coast.

This means trade flourished around 3000 BC. Cotton from this region was a favourite in Egypt; the Phoenicians visited the coast of Malabar around the same time to trade in ivory, sandalwood and spices. King Solomon is said to have sent his commercial fleet to Ophir which is said to be somewhere in Southern Kerala.

Muziris (Kodungalloor or Cannonade) was reputed to be the ancient world's greatest trading center in the East for such highly prized possessions as pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and other spices. Pliny, the younger is said to have lamented the fact that trade with the East was draining the treasury of Rome.

The trade flourished by ships riding on the monsoon winds from Africa and back to Arabia, from where the overland caravan took the prized items to the markets along the Mediterranean ports.

India was known as fabled land of spices and gold. It was during this time Europe was busy in exploration and Voyages to unknown land. Route to India was a dream of most of the voyager. Many attempts were made, but most could reach only up to "Cape of Good hope" in Africa.

In 1498, Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese found the easiest way to India by bribing the Arab pilot when his ship anchored off Kenya at Port Malindi. Following the centuries old route taken by the Arab traders and riding on a monsoon wind, he sailed the Sao' Gabriel to land at Kappad near the town of Calicut or Kozhikode. The entire history of the East was to change from that day.

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