Online Encyclopedia

KERALA, or CHERA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 753 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KERALA, or CHERA, the name of one of the three ancient Dravidian kingdoms of the Tamil country of southern India, the other two being the Chola and the Pandya. Its original territory comprised the country now contained in the Malabar district, with Travancore and Cochin, and later the country included in the Coimbatore district and a part of Salem. The boundaries, however, naturally varied much from time to time. The earliest references to this kingdom appear in the edicts of Asoka, where it is called Keralaputra (i.e. son of Kerala), a name which in a slightly corrupt form is known to Pliny and the author of the Periplus. There is evidence of a lively trade carried on by sea with the Roman empire in the early centuries of the Christian era, but of the political history of the Kerala kingdom nothing is known beyond a list of rajas compiled from inscriptions, until in the loth century the struggle began with the Cholas, by whom it was conquered and held till their over-throw by the Mahommedans in 1310. These in their turn were driven out by a Hindu confederation headed by the chiefs of Vijayanagar, and Kerala was absorbed in the Vijayanagar empireuntil its destruction by the Mahommedans in 1565. For about 8o years it seems to have preserved a precarious independence under the naiks of Madura, but in 164o was conquered by the Adil Shah dynasty of Bijapur and in 1652 seized by the king of Mysore. See V. A. Smith, Early Hist. of India, chap. xvi. (2nd ed., Oxford, 1908).
End of Article: KERALA, or CHERA
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KERASUND (anc. Choerades, Pharnacia, Cerasus)

Additional information and Comments

Kerala has an ancient tradition from the Stone Ages. Dolmens of the Ancient Chera Nobility exist in plenty in Marayur- Kaarayur region 45 Km from Munnar in the present Kerala State. Engraving on rocks by ancient people are still existing in Marayur, Wynad and Tenmala regions. Narvu, Thondi, Muchiri (Muziris) were the ancient ports which traded with China, Egypt, Rome etc., 20 centuries ago. Kerala was ruled by the First Chera Dynasty during first 3 centuries of CE. There are a large numbers of poems on Chera Kings in the Sangam Literature like 'Pathittupathu', 'Puranauru', 'Akanauru' etc. The first Chera Dynasty declined in the 3rd century and got revived in the 9th century. This second Chera Dynasty remained in power till 1102 CE when their capital Mahodayapuram was burned down by Kulothunga Chola, the King of Cholas. For more details on the first Chera Dynasty and their Origin log on to www.keralahistory.net
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