Though human habitation of Kerala dates back to the 10th century B.C., the
first recorded mention of Kerala appears in the works of the Mauryan emperor
Ashoka. The first kingdom in Kerala was established in the 14th century by the
Cheras. They ruled the region from their capital at Vanchi and allied with the
Pallavas against the Cholas and the Pandyas, rulers of the rest of Southern
The Chera kings thrived on the trade routes established between Kerala and Western Asia through Gujarat. The influence of Western India on Kerala can still be seen today. Keralaís coastal presence also meant that they were the first port of call when the Jews, Muslims and the Christians arrived to avoid persecution in their countries or to spread their faith. Scholars believe that the Jews arrived in Kerala in the year 573 B.C. Their influence on Keralite culture can still be seen in certain regions of the country due to the presence of some of the most stunningly beautiful synagogues.
Muslims first settled in Kerala in the 8th century AD. Vasco Da Gama arrival to Calicut in 1498 was the first step in the Portugese proliferation of the state. Before the British ascension of India many European countries fought over the control of Indiaís thriving port state with the Dutch and Portuguese directly in conflict. Like the other European powers, the British also came in as merchants to India. By 1634-35, they had managed to achieve the use of all the Portuguese ports in Kerala. The British fortified Calicut in 1664.In the years to follow, Travancore and Tellicherry also came under power of the British. But it was not all-smooth sailing for the British. They had to face substantial resistance from the French and the Dutch. However, the British were successful in ousting all other European powers. Haider Ali, the ruler of Mysore, ruled Kerala from 1763. The regions of Kolathiri, Kottayam, Kadathanad, Kurumbranad and Calicut came under his authority.
In 1773, Haider Ali laid siege on and conquered Trichur after restoring his authority in Malabar. Haiderís son, Tipu Sultan ascended the throne in 1782. Tipu managed to annex the entire South Malabar in 1783. However it was only in 1790 that he succeeded in breaching the Travancore Line. The state then became part of the famous king Tipu Sultanís kingdom till the year 1790 when it was officially handed over to the British East India Company.
Kerala was never the hub of the nationalistic movement. However several aspects of Keralas role in the national struggle for independence brought the state to the forefront of the struggle. Many members of the Indian National Congress called Kerala their home. The Muslim league had a branch in Kerala as well. The communist party was founded in Kerala in the year 1939. On the first of July in 1949 two of biggest cities in Kerala namely Travancore and Cochin were merged together to form Travancore-Cochin which was later recognized as a state on republic day in 1950.
The Government of India finally recognized Kerala as a state in the year 1956.To this day Kerala remains a predominantly communist party ruled state.