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Ancient Kerala History |European
Conquest | Historical
One of the most competent and popular
Chief Ministers of Kerala.
A prominent leader of the oppressed
classes. Born in 1863, he successfully
organized educational and other rights
for people of the lowest strata of society.
A noted leader of the oppressed classes.
He started the paper Sahodaran in 1921
and hence the name Sahodaran Ayyappan.
He was a noted member of the ministries
of Kochi from 1946 onwards till 1949.
Died in 1968. The main arterial road
from East into Kochi is today named
A German priest who later became a Sanskrit
scholar and penned many notable Sanskrit
books of high repute. Also produced
the first Malayalam - Portuguese dictionary.
A traveller from Arabia circa 1000 AD,
who first described Malabar in his writings.
Talks about Buddhist influence in Kerala
during his travels.
Portugese governor of Kerala from 1506.
He is credited with expanding Portuguese
power to the entire coast of Kerala,
Goa and Malacca in the east by force
of arms and shrewd alliances. He was
an able administrator and brought in
a semblance of law and order and sensible
of 12th century AD. Hero in many Vadakkan
Pattu or local chronicles. Reputedly
man of great chivalry and bravery. His
memory is revered in many parts of Kerala
to this day.
Soon after Vasco de Gama returned to
Portugal, Cabral sailed to Kerala with
33 ships and 1500 men. Cabral was noted
for his treachery and cruelty. Soon
the entire coast was a battle field
and forced Cabral to seek the help of
the Kochi Raja to fight the
Freedom fighter and Chief minister of
the state of Thirukochi in 1951
Ezhuthachan is considered as the ‘Father
of Modern Malayalam’. He has written
a number of books. His ‘Adhyatma
Ramayanam’ and ‘Mahabharatham,
are the most important. These are independent
translations from Sanskrit originals.
Ezhuthachan is supposed to have lived
some 550 years ago. He was born at Thunchan
Parampu in Thrikkandiyoor in Malappuram
district. His exact name is not known.
It is generally believed that his name
A priest from a small parish of Ramapuram,
he undertook a journey to Rome in 1778.
Thereafter he wrote the first ever Travelogue
Herman Gundert, a German missionary
is credited with having prepared and
published the first Malayalam dictionary
in 1872. A noted educationist and literary
Another great traveler, from
Africa, who wrote about the great port
cities of Kerala - Caulum (Kollam),
Calikooth (Kozhikode). There is no mention
of Kochi in his memoirs.
A Dutch traveler to Kerala in 1664 wrote
an exhaustive travelogue on Kerala.
This Arab merchant arrived at Kodungalloor
in 345 AD and laid the foundations of
the Syrian Christian of Kerala. The
local Raja accorded him great honours
and positions in credited with founding
the Syrian Christian community of Kerala.
Kunjali Marakkar was the commander
of the navy of the Zamorin of Calicut.
The Portuguese came to India in 1498.
They first established trade in Calicut.
Even before this the Arabs were carrying
on trade with Calicut. When the Portuguese
attacked on Arab ship coming to Calicut
the Zamorin was angry with them. The
Zamorin decided to attack the Portuguese.
Kunjali fought and defeated them in
several battles. Kunjali was a great
A famed highwayman of Central Thiruvithamkoor
in the early part of the 19th century.
He is reported to have stolen from the
rich and given to the poor. Legends
about his exploits are part of the local
folk lore. Died in jail in 1859.
A Gandhian who fought ceaselessly against
all form of subjugation and oppression.
Closely identified with the Vaikom satyagraha
(temple entry for all castes).
A great Malayalam poet in the court
of Marthanda Varma
Ottan Thullal is a very popular art
form of Kerala. Kunchan Nambiar is the
founder of this art form. Nambiar was
a learned man and a born poet. He was
born at Killikkurrisimangalam near the
Lakkidi railway station in Malabar.
Later on he went to Ambalapuzha and
lived in the court of the Raja there.
It was here that Nambiar wrote his first
Thullal kadha. He used to play ‘Mizhavu’
for Chkkyar koothu in the temple. Once
he happened to doze while
The founder of the unified state of
Thiruvithamkur in the 18th century.
He conquered all the medium sized principalities
upto Kochi and laid the foundations
of a modern state. He employed people
with known capabilities in the military,
administration and education.
A able administrator and resident of
Thiruvithamkoor in the early years of
19th century. Introduced very far reaching
and sensible reforms.
PATTOM THANU PILLAI
One of the early Chief Ministers of
Kerala in its formative years in 1960.
PANAMPILLY GOVINDA MENON
An eminent political figure of Kochi.
He was the Chief Minister of Kochi in
1947 and 1955. He was also member of
the Union Cabinet.
The Pazhassi raja led an insurrection
against British rule in Malabar in 1797.
The British took causalities in the
beginning, but asserted themselves as
the campaign wore on. By 1804 Pazhassi's
revolt was all but suppressed. In 1805
he was killed in the forests of Wayanad.
He is to this day revered as one of
the greatest patriots of Kerala.
One of the Chief Ministers of Kerala
C. P. RAMASWAMY IYENGAR
Powerful Dewan of Thiruvithamkur state
at Independence. It must be said that
Sir CP (as he was popularly known) nursed
ambitions of making Thiruvithamkur an
independent country. However, a violent
personal attack on him demoralised him
and he went to self exile.
Sakthan Thampuran was the Raja of Cochin
some 200 years ago. He become king when
he was very young. He was a brave and
able ruler. His real name was Rama Varma.
He punished criminals and wrong doers
mercilessly. Such people were afraid
of him. He meted out justice without
any mercy. So people called him Sakthan
One of the greatest social reformers
of India and a contemporary of Mahatma
Gandhi. His call for equality among
people found a great following. His
teachings have had a profound effect
on the caste-ridden Kerala landscape
and helped the state achieve great social
progress when compared to the other
states of India. Founded many ashrams,
the most important being at Sivagiri
near Kollam. He died in 1928.
Sree Sankara was one of the most illustrious
son of Kerala. He was born in a poor
Brahmin family at Kalady. His father
was Sivaguru and mother Arya Devi. Sankaran
lost his father when he was very young.
So he was brought up by his mother.
When he was a boy, Sankaran wanted to
become a Sanyasin. But his mother would
not allow him. One day while bathing
in the Periyar a crocodile caught hold
of his leg and began dragging him into
the deep waters. His mother began to
cry. Sankaran said that the crocodile
would let him go if he was allowed to
become Sanyasin. So his mother gave
him permission. So Sankaran left home
and travelled all over India. Even when
a boy he had learned all the ‘Sastras’.
He accepted Govindacharya as his spiritual
Guru. He became the greatest scholar
of his time. He originated the ‘Adwaidasiddhantha’.
He had large number of disciples. He
set up monasteries at Badrinath, Dwaraka
and Sringeri. He died at the age of
Swathi Thirunal was the king of Travancore
from 1829 to 1848. He was heir to the
throne even in his mother’s womb.
So e was known as ‘Garbasreeman’.
His mother ruled the country till he
attained majority. He learned many languages
and become a scholar. He learned music
and was a good musician. He was also
a great composer of music. He was a
great lover of arts and patronised artists.
He was also a great administrator. It
was he who began English Education in
Travancore. It was during his time that
law courts were first established in
Travancore. The reign of Swathi Thirunal
is often called the ‘Golden
age of Kerala Music’.
Another legendary warrior from North
Kerala at the end of the 16th century.
Highly stylised songs and stories of
his valour and chivalry abound. He lived
some 500 years ago. He was born in the
family of ‘Manikothy’
in Thacholi near Badakara. He was a
brave warrior, merciless to enemies,
but a friend of the helpless. Even the
Zamorin of Calicut respected him. He
defeated Mathiloor Gurukkal and killed
him. But one of the Gurukkal’s
disciple cheated and killed Othenan.
His real name was Udayanakurup. He died
at the young age of 32. He is praised
about in Vadakkanpattu.
Legendary warrior figure , sister of
Aromal Chekavar, mother of Aromalunny.
The songs and chronicles have to this
day kept the legend alive. She was born
in the ‘Puthooram Veedu’
family. The famous warriors ‘Aromal Chevakar’
were her brothers. Like her brothers
Unniyarcha was also trained in the arts
of war. She is praised in Vadakkanpattu.
She is considered as a heroine and symbol
of female ability.
The European merchant prince who opened
up the East to European rule. Landed
at Kozhikode in 1498 and established
trading stations and in the end Portuguese
rule over Kerala.
Velu Thampi led what is perhaps the
most courageous rebellion against the
British which started as a direct fall
out of the British Resident Macauly's
humiliating interference in the affairs
of the Thiruvithamkur . Th e revolt
started in 1808 . The Kundara Proclamation
of 1809 was an open call to arms and
thousands flocked to his banner. Initially,
he was helped in his cause by the Dewan
of Kochi, Paliath Achan, but in the
later stages he fought a lonely campaign
against the British. He was no match
for the military might of the British
Army and finally fled the state and
reportedly committed suicide in March
1809. Most of Velu Thampi's followers
were either hanged or imprisoned after
the termination of hostilities. There
would not be any insurrection on this
scale for the rest of the British presence
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