Tamil Nadu Information -
History Of Tamil Nadu
History Of Tamil Nadu
Nadu has a very ancient history that dates back to some 6000
years and the origin of its people is closely tied to the debates of the
Aryan invasion theory. Those who uphold this theory favour the view that
the Tamils belong to the Dravidian race and were part of the early Indus
Valley settlers. Later with the advent of the Aryans, the Dravidians were
pushed back into the deep south where they ultimately settled. The present
day states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh constitute
the Dravidian culture. Whatever be the historical truth, the identity
of the Tamils has largely been forged on this ground. Madurai Meenakshi
TempleThe Dravida Nadu of which modern Tamil Nadu formed a part was constituted
by various kingdoms such as that of the Pallava, the Chera, the Chola,
the Pandya, the Chalukya and the Vijayanagara.
The history of Pandyan kingdom dates as early as 6th Century
B.C. Madurai was founded by the first Pandyan king
Kulasekara.The Pandyas excelled in trade and learning.
They controlled the present districts of Madurai and
Tirunelveli and part of South Kerala. The Pandyas
had trading contacts with Greece and Rome and were
powerful in their own right, though they were subjugated
during various periods by the Pallavas and Cholas.
The early Cholas reigned between 1st and 4th century
AD. The first and the most famous king of this period
was Karikalan. They occupied the present Thanjavur
and Tiruchirapalli Districts and excelled in military
exploits. During the later half of 4th century AD,
Pallavas the great temple builders emerged into prominence
dominated the south for another 400 years. They ruled
a large portion of Tamil Nadu with Kanchipuram as
their base. In the 6th century they defeated the Cholas
and reigned as far as Ceylon(Sri Lanka).Among the
greatest Pallava rulers were Mahendravarman-l and
his son Narasimhavarman. Dravidian architecture reached
its epitome during Pallava rule. The last Pallava
King was Aparajitha. He was defeated by Aditya Chola
towards the end of the 9th century AD.
The Cholas again rose to power by 9th century AD. Under Rajaraja Chola
and his son Rajendra Chola, the Cholas rose as a supreme
power in South India. The Chola empire stretched as far as central India,
Orissa and parts of West Bengal. Rajaraja Chola conquered the eastern
Chalukya kingdom, defeated the Cheras, annexed parts of Ceylon by defeating
the Pandyas. Rajendra Chola went beyond and occupied the islands of Andaman
Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Sumatra, Java, Malaya and the islands of
Pegu with his fleet of ships. He defeated Mahipala the king of Bihar and
Bengal and to commemorate his victory he built a new capital called 'Gangaikonda
Cholapuram'.The power of the Cholas declined around the 13th
With the decline of the Cholas, the Pandyas rose to prominence once again
in the early 14th century. But it was short lived, when the they were
subdued by the Khilji invaders from the North in 1316.The
city of Madurai completely destroyed and ransacked. The Muslim invasion
weakened both the Cholas and Pandyas and led to the establishment of Bahmani
The Muslim invasion of the South in the
14th century caused a retaliatory reaction from the Hindus, who rallied
to build a strong new kingdom, called the Vijayanagara empire.
It absorbed all strongholds of Cholas and other local Hindu rulers to
check the Muslims. Governors called Nayaks were engaged to run different
territories of the empire. With Hampi as the Capital, Vijayanagar Empire
was the most prosperous dynasty in the south. But by 1564 the empire came
to an end at the hands of Deccan Sultans in the battle of Talikota. The
empire was split into many parts and was given to the Nayaks to rule.
Tamil Country under Nayaks was peaceful and prosperous. The Nayaks
of Madurai and Thanjavur were most prominent of them all. The
reconstructed some of the oldest temples in the country. The kingdom of
the Cheras comprised of the modern state of Kerala and parts of the Malabar.
Their proximity to the sea favoured trade with Romans. This small territory
never experienced the conquest of the Muslims and remained independent
till the British period.
With the establishment of the British East India Company at Madras
in 1639, a new chapter was opened in the history of Tamil Nadu. Petty
quarrels among provincial rulers helped the British to gain administrative
control over them. Slowly but steadily, the whole of Tamil Nadu and most
of South India came under the British. Under the British colonial rule,
most of the south India was integrated into the region called Madras Presidency. Tamil Nadu had its share of Chieftains or Poligars
who fought British East India Company while it was laying out its designs
in bringing entire region under its rule, chief among them being Veerapandya
Kattabomman, Maruthus and Pulithevan.
When India became independent in 1947, Madras Presidency became Madras
State, comprising Tamil Nadu, coastal Andhra Pradesh, northern Kerala,
and the southwest coast of Karnataka. In 1953 Madras State was bifurcated
into two states: Andhra Pradesh, comprising the northern Telugu speaking
areas, and Madras State, comprising the southern Tamil-speaking areas.
Under the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, Madras State
lost its western coastal districts to the states of Kerala and Mysore.
In 1968, Madras State adopted a new name - Tamil Nadu. The capital city
Madras was renamed Chennai in 1996.
State Culture ---- Population