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Tamil Nadu Information - History Of Tamil Nadu

History Of Tamil Nadu

TamilnaduTamil 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.


4th to 9th Century

History of Tamil Nadu 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.


9th to 13th Century

History of Tamil Nadu 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 century.


14th Century

History of Tamilnadu 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 Kingdom.

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.


17th century

History of Tamilnadu 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.


20th century

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.

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