Legends speak of Kerala as Parasuramakshetram, 'the land of Parasurama'.
The land of Kerala is believed to be a gift of the Arabian Sea. Owing
to its favourable location this land fostered trade and established contacts
with Egypt, Assyria, Greeks, Romans and the Chinese. The Malayalam era
'Kollavarsha' is believed to have started in the 9th century A.D. During
this period of internal strife in Kerala, Cheraman Perumal founded the
Chera dynasty (9th century AD). In about 1498 the Portuguese came to Calicut
and in 1502 to Kochi. Kerala was then divided into the Kingdoms of Malabar,
Kochi and Travancore. In 1776, Malabar was under the rule of Hyder Ali.
In 1792 Tipu Sultan ceded it to the British. While Malabar witnessed
the direct rule of the British, Travancore and Kochi were princely
states owing allegiance to the British. It was in 1949 that the three
territories were integrated and in 1956 the state of Kerala was formed,
and joined the Indian Union.