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Kerala History - Detailed Information About the History of Kerala

History of Kerala - Ancient Period

Ancient Period refers to the time before the Christian era. As mentioned earlier, history of Kerala can be traced back to 4000 B.C., when Proto Australoid and Negrito race inhabited the land. Microlithic artifacts dating back to 4000 B.C. have been recovered from near Calicut. Megalithic monuments like various kinds of burial stones and urns and some man-made underground chambers have also been found. By around 3000 B.C., Kerala had trade relation with Sindhu Valley Civilization and its spices and commodities like Sandalwood, Ivory, Teakwood etc. were exported to many countries of the west. Kerala held a considerable position in the commercial map of the ancient world. It is believed that the Peacocks, Monkeys, Ivory and spices which King Solomon received, were imported from Kerala . It was by 700 B.C. that the Dravidians migrated to south India from the Mediterranean region. The Aryans entered Kerala from north India by 300 B.C. 270 B.C. to 240 B.C. saw the spread of Buddhism in Kerala. The oldest record about Kerala is found in one of the rock edict by emperor Asoka dating back to B.C. 257.

Sangham Period in Kerala History

This period can be dated from the beginning of the Christian era to the middle of the 7th century. 'Sanghams' were assemblies or groups of poets which were in existence in various parts of the Pandiyan Empire. The aim of these Sanghams was to encourage poetic arts. Three Sanghams are known to have existed during the period.
Heppalus, a Roman-Greek sailor reached Musiris (Kodungalloore) in A.D. 45 and this enabled direct trade with Roman empire. The distance of sea voyages were reduced by the discovery of new routes. Many mariners like Heppalus, Panthenus, Huan Tsang, Cosmos Indicopleustes etc., landed at the coasts of Kerala during this period.
By around 50 - 125 A.D., the Chera kings captured parts of northern Kerala. During this period also, Kerala had strong trade with the West. In A.D. 52, St. Thomas reached Kerala and Christianity began to flourish. With the demolition of Jerusalem church by the Romans, the Jews fled from Israel and some of them reached Kerala. As per the book Keralolpathy, the period up to 216 A.D. is known as 'Parasurama period' and the period 216 A.D. to 428 A.D. is known as age of 'Perumals'. The Brahmin families which migrated to Kerala were settled to 64 villages. In 644 A.D., Malikben Dinar reached Kerala and he constructed Mosques and propagated Islam. Cheran Chenguttuvan (125-180) was one of the famous rulers of this era.

Post-Sangham Period in the History of Kerala

The period ranging from the middle of 7th century to the early part of the 9th century is known as the Post - Sangham period. This was the period when Buddhism began to decline. The main rulers of this period were Cheraman Perumal and Kulasekara Alwar. Both these kings later abdicated their thrones. Kulasekara Alwar later became a Vaishnavite poet and Cheraman Perumal accepted Islam and went to Mecca. Adi Shankara (Sankaracharya, 788 - 820 A.D.) lived and propagated the Advaida philosophy during this period. Each king during the period was enthroned for a period of 12 years. After his term, a new king was selected following a festival or cultural event known as ' Mamankam '. These type of events are unique to Kerala

Kulasekara Periods - Kerala History

The next period in Kerala history is the period of rule of the Kulasekara Kings. Kulasekara empire lasted for about 3 centuries beginning from 800 AD. This period is also known as the Period of 'Second Chera' empire. These kings were known after their family name as Kulasekaras. Kolla Varsha or the Quilon Calendar (Malayalam Calendar system) was introduced during this period. It came into existence on the 25th of July , 825 A.D. Quilon city was reconstructed by Maruvan Sabareso. The Pandyas retreated from Kerala occupation.Sthanu Ravi Varma, Bhaskara Ravi I, Bhaskara Ravi II were main rulers of this period. Between 1000 and 1019, Raja Raja Chola and Rajendra Chola attacked Kerala. Rajendra Chola seized vizhinjam. In 1070 Kerala was liberated from Chola control.

Kerala History - Period of the Provincial rulers

Frequent wars with the Chola and Pandya kingdoms weakened the Chera empire and finally lead to their breakdown. With the breakdown of Chera empire the next phase of Kerala history began. This was the period of the provincial rulers. Provincial rulers were those who took control of a small province rather than a large empire. These provinces were once part of the Chera empire. The provincial rulers were confined to small areas but they frequently fought each other for domination. The kings of Venad and Kochi and Zamorins of Kozhikode were the prominent rulers.