Kerala from Sangam to Dutch Period

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Introduction.
Kerala has a unique Geographical position.
Kerala has a rich culture and is the meeting point of many types of ideologies, Ideas and religious views. Travelers, merchants and rulers visited kerala and influenced its History. Story Behind the birth Of Kerala.

Parasurama the 6th Incarnation of Lord Vishnuthrew an axe far into the sea and commanded the sea to retreat. The land that emerged from the waters became Kerala.
From where does the term kerala come from ?
Sanskrit scholars derive the name from “Kera or coconut”,which is a staple product of kerala. Others say it is derived from the Tamil word “Charal” meaning Mountain slope. Arab and Persian writers and early Malayalam and medieval Tamil Literature say that the word kerala means the land of hills and mountains. Traditional sources.

Early history of kerala is based on traditions. The two major sources are : Archaeological Sources.
Archaeological survey and excavations were started in Kerala by Ward and Conor in 1819.  there are 3 relics of the Historical period found in the various parts of Kerala. They are : 1. monuments

2. coins
3. inscription.
Monuments.
1. Stone images of Buddha, reflect the culture of kerala during the Buddhist era. 2. Religious monuments :
Temples ,
Churches,
Mosques and
Synagogues.
3. Palaces – famous Padmanabhapuram palace in Kanyakumari district and Dutch palace in Fort Cochin. 4. Forts and historical sites.
Coins.
Many foreign and indigenous coins have been found in kerala. • Rast is the oldest of them.
Roman coins are the oldest Foreign coins.
Rulers of Travancore and Cochin Had their own independent coinage. •Dutch copper coins and British Indian Coins give valuable information to historians. Inscriptions
1.Throw light on the political,Cultural, and social life of the People of Kerala. 2.Give insight into working conditions of local assemblies, how temples were managed, Relationship between the landlord and tenant and functioning Of educational institutions. 3.Some inscriptions testify the liberal policy of religious tolerationfollowed by the ancient rulers of Kerala. Sangam Age(1-500 A.D.)

Sangam Literature was composed, In which the Works of poets and writers threw light upon cultural, economic, political, Social and other aspects of the kingdoms of the South.
Through these works we get to know what happened during the first 500 years of Christian Era : I. there was monarchy and patrilineal system of succession, II.Women were well educated and had a good position in society, III.Monogamy was the norm, widow remarriage was permitted, Child marriage was not there. No division of society into high and low castes,there was no untouchability, Rice was the staple food, people had no restrictions regarding beef eating and other non-veg items. Rice-wine was a popular drink. It was rare to find Brahmins though some were there as Aryan Brahmins in the royal court. Agriculture was a major occupation and due to trade with countries like Rome, they flourished as a prosperous set of people. Post Sangam Period (500-800 A.D.)

Main rulers of this period were Cheraman Perumal and Kulasekara Alwar. The former became a Vaishnavite Poet and the latter accepted Islam and went to Mecca. Adi Shankara (788-820 A.D.) lived and propogated the Advaida philosophy during this period. After the creation of Kerala it was believed that Parasurama planted sixty-four joint Brahmin Families and gave them rules which would govern them. The Brahmins invited rulers called “Perumals “ to rule them and each ruler was appointed for a period of 12 years to rule over them. The Kollam Epoch (800-1200A.D)

Politically Kerala was under the Cholas and Pandyas.
A temple was constructed at almost every town and village in Kerala • the Quilon calendar was introduced during this time in 25 July 825 A.D. ...
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