The word Kerala is first recorded (as Keralaputra) in a 3rd century BCE rock inscription left by Asoka, the Mauryan emperor as being one of the four independent kingdoms in southern India during his time. Then in the 8th century Adi Shankara, who was born in Kerala, established institutions of his philosophy all across India. Vasco da gama opened Kerala’s doors to Europe in 1498 causing struggles between colonial and native interests. In 1795, the area came under the British. In 1956, after independence, the state of Kerala was created from the Travancore Cochin, the Malabar district and the Kasargod Taluk.
In Hindu Mythology, the myth is the retrieval of Kerala from the sea, by Parasurama, a warrior sage. Parasurama, an avatar of Vishnu threw his battle axe into the sea after he reached Gokuram from Kanyakumari. As a result, the land of Kerala arose, reclaimed from the waters.He was the sixth of the ten avatars (incarnation) of Vishnu. Puranas say that it was Parasuram who planted the 64 Brahmin families in Kerala, whom he brought down from the north in order to expiate his slaughter of the Kshatriyas. Kerala is also known as Parasurama Kshetram, ‘The Land of Parasurama’.
Old Tamil was the language of the region. Malayalam was developed due to geographical isolation, cultural difference and trade between the Arabs, Sumerians, Romans, and Portuguese. Their capital at Vanchi (also known as Vanchimutur) near the ancient port of Muziris in Kerala was an important trading centre with Rome. There were other prominent harbours as well on the coasts of Kerala also trading with Rome and the Palakkad pass (churam) facilitated migration and business. The contact with Romans might have given rise to small jewish colonies and Syrian Christians in the chief harbour towns of Kerala. The Jews believe that their ancestors came as refugees from Jerusalem in the first century AD. Central Kerala had Christians claiming to be the descendants of the converts of St. Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus Christ. Thus the tribal society moved towards civilization.
Arabs also had trade links with Kerala before the 4th century BCE. Some Persian Christians immigrated and joined the Syrian Christian community. Mappila was the title that was given to visitors from abroad: Jewish were Juda Mappilas, Syrian Christians were Nasrani Mappilas, and Muslim immigration brought about Muslim Mappilas. Earliest churches, mosques and synagogues in India were first built in Kerala. About the 8th century, a chain of thirty-two Brahmin settlements from Karnataka had come up, which eventually paved the way for the social, cultural and political separation of Kerala from the Tamil country. A large number of the settlements were in Central Kerala. The process of Brahminisation or Sanskritisation began. Temples were constructed, Nambudiri community evolved and got strengthened by the philosophy of Adi Shankara who lived in the 8 AD. The whole of Kerala came to be covered by Hindu temples and Brahmin settlements owning large extents of land, formed the elite of the society. In due course, the consolidation of these settlements and the establishments of their ascendancy gradually led to the evolution of Malayalam language and a new Malayalee culture, the separate identity of Kerala was in the making.
In November 1956, the state of Kerala was formed merging the Malabar district, Travancore-Cochin and Kasargod. This is the first time a Communist government was democratically elected to power anywhere in the world. It initiated land reforms that were pioneering leading to lowest levels of rural poverty in India.