Zamorin of Calicut
|c. 1124 AD-1806 AD|
Chera king's Sword given to the Samoothiri of Kozhikode. Engraved from an original sketch.
The Samoothiri of Kozhikode (1495-1500) on his throne as painted by Veloso Salgado in 1898
o Dissolution of the Cheras of Cranganore
|c. 1124 AD|
|Today part of||India|
The Zamorin of Calicut (Malayalam: Samoothiri, Portuguese: Samorim, Dutch: Samorijn, Chinese: Shamitihsi) was the hereditary Hindu monarch of the kingdom of Kozhikode (Calicut) on the Malabar Coast of India. Kozhikode was one of the important trading ports on the south-western coast of India. At the peak of their reign, the Samoothiri's ruled over a region from Kollam (Quilon) to Panthalayini Kollam (Koyilandy).
It was after the dissolution of the kingdom of Cheras of Cranganore (Kodungallur) in the early 12th century, the Samoothiris - originally autonomous chiefs of Eranadu - demonstrated their political independence. The Samoothiris maintained elaborate trade relations with the Muslim Middle-Eastern sailors in the Indian Ocean, the primary spice traders on the Malabar Coast in the Middle Ages. Kozhikode was then an important entrepôt in south-western India where Chinese and West Asian trade met.
The Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama visited the Kozhikode in 1498, opening the sailing route directly from Europe to Asia. The Portuguese efforts to lay the foundations to Estado da Índia, and to take complete control over the commerce was repeatedly hampered by the forces of Samoothiri of Kozhikode. The Kunjali Marakkars, the famous Muslim warriors, were the naval chiefs of Kozhikode. By the end of the 16th century the Portuguese - now commanding the spice traffic on the Malabar Coast - had succeeded in replacing the Muslim merchants in the Arabian Sea. The Dutch supplanted the Portuguese in the 17th century, only to be followed by the English.
In 1766 Haider Ali of Mysore defeated the Samoothiri of Kozhikode - an English East India Company dependant at the time - and absorbed Kozhikode to his state. After the Third Mysore War (1790-1792), Malabar was placed under the control of the Company. Later the status of the Samoothiri as independent rulers was changed to that of pensioners of the Company (1806).
The title zamorin first appears in the writings of Ibn Battuta in 1342. In the Portuguese Book of Duarte Barbosa (c. 1516), the title of the ruler of Calicut is given as çamidre or zomodri, derived from the local Malayalam samoothiri or s?m?tiri. This was once thought to be derived from Sanskrit samudra ("sea") and have the meaning "lord of the sea". In fact, the term derives from Sanskirt svami and sri (which in combined form becomes tiri), which Krishna Iyer glosses as "emperor". He gives the complete title as Svami Tiri Tirumulapad ("august emperor").
The Samoothiris used the title Punturakkon or Punthurakon (Victor/Lord of Punthura?) in inscriptions from c. 1100, in palace records known as the Granthavaris, and in official treaties with the English and the Dutch. No records indicate the actual personal name of the ruler. Punthura may be the place of their origin, or a battle-field, or a port of great fame. The title "Kunnalakkon" ("Lord of Hills and Waves") and its Sanskrit form "Shailabdhishvara" are mostly found in later literary works (such as Manipravalam and Sanskrit poems).
Thrikkavil Kovilakam in Ponnani served as a second home for the Samoothiris of Kozhikode. Other secondary seats of the Samoothiri of Kozhikode, all established at much later time, were Trichur (Thrissur) and Cranganore (Kodungallur).
The chief Kerala ports under control of the Samoothiris in the late 15th century were Panthalayini Kollam, and Kozhikode. The Samoothiri of Kozhikode derived greater part of his revenues by taxing the spice trade through his ports. Smaller ports in the kingdom were Puthuppattanam (Kottakkal), Parappanangadi, Tanur (Tanore), Ponnani (Ponani), Chetuva (Chetwai) and Kodungallur (Cranganore). The port of Beypore served as a ship building center.
According to K. V. Krishna Iyer, the court historian in Kozhikode, the members of the royal house of Samoothiri belonged the Nair community. The Samantas claimed a status higher than the rest of the Nairs. The Hindu theological formula that the rulers must be of Kshatriya varna may have been a complication for the Nair Samantas of the Kodungallur Chera monarch. So the Samantas - already crystallized as a distinctive social group, something of a "sub-caste" - began to style themselves as "Samanta Ksatriyas". The Samantas have birth, marriage and death customs identical to the Nair community.
In the royal family, thalis of the princesses were usually tied by Kshatriyas from Kodungallur chief's family, which the Samoothiri recognised as more ancient and therefore higher rank. The majority of the women's sambandham partners were Nambudiri Brahmins.
The family of chieftains that ruled the polities in premodern Kerala was known as the swaroopam. The rulers of Kozhikode belonged to "Nediyirippu swaroopam" and followed matriliny system of inheritance. The eldest male member of Nediyirippu swaroopam became the Samoothiri of Kozhikode. There was a set pattern of succession, indicated by sthanams in the royal line. Five sthanams were defined in Kozhikode. These positions were based on the chronological seniority of the incumbent in the different thavazhis of the swaroopam and constituted what is called in the records as "kuruvazhcha". Unlike in the case of Cochin (Kochi), there was no rotation of position among the thavazhis. Thus no particular thavazhi enjoyed any privilege or precedence in the matter of succession, as the only criterion for succession was seniority of age.
Five sthanams existed in Kozhikode, each with its own separate property enjoyed in succession by the senior members of the three kovilakams of the family.
The three thavazhis were:
The senior female member of the whole Samoothiri family, the Valiya Thamburatti, also enjoyed a sthanam with separate property known as the Ambadi Kovilakam. Women were not allowed to be the ruler of Kozhikode, and the oldest male member traced the female becomes the next Samoothiri .
There were two brothers belonging to the Eradi ruling family at Nediyiruppu. The brothers Manichan and Vikraman were the most trusted warriors in the militia of the Kodungallur Cheras. They distinguished themselves in the battles against the foreigners. However, during the partition of Chera kingdom, the Chera monarch failed to allocate any land to Nediyiruppu. Filled with guilt, the king later gave an unwanted piece of marshy tract of land called Kozhikode to the younger brother Vikraman (the elder brother died in the battle). The king also gifted his personal sword and his favourite prayer conch - both broken - to him and told him to occupy as much as land as he could with all his might. So the Eradis conquered neighbouring kingdoms and created a large state for themselves. As a token of their respect to the Chera king, they adopted the logo of two crossed swords, with a broken conch in the middle and a lighted lamp above it.
Durate Barbosa, in the early 16th century, mentions the Cheraman sword among the three swords and other royal emblems of the Samoothiri usually taken out in ceremonial processions. The sword was worshipped by the Samoothiris in their private temple everyday and especially at the time of the coronation. The Cheraman sword was burnt in a surprise attack by the Dutch at Kodungallur (1670) while the Samoothiri was residing with Velutha Nambiyar. A new sword was made in 1672 out of the fragments of the old. The broken parts of the 1672 sword, kept in a fully sealed copper sheath, are still worshipped daily in the Bhagavathi temple attached to the palace of the Samoothiris at Thiruvachira.
Historical records regarding the origin of the Samoothiri of Kozhikode are obscure. However, it is generally agreed among historians the Eradis were originally the autonomous rulers of Eralnadu/Eranadu region of the Kodungallur Chera kingdom. The Kodungallur Chera kingdom was a congeries of chiefdoms, which were ruled by local chiefs. The office of the chief/senior prince of Eranadu (Eralanadu Utaya) is assumed to be the hereditary. The earliest reference to the chief and chiefdom of Eranadu is the Cochin Jewish copper plate (c. 1000 AD). Old Malayalam inscriptions name two titles for the rulers of Eranadu - Manvepala Manaviyata ( c. 11 century) and Manavikrama (c. 12th century). In the later period, Manavikrama, Manaveda and Viraraya were the only names given to male members in the royal family, the Samoothiri always being known as Manavikrama. Historians assume that Manaveda might be a corruption of the old Malayalam title "Manaviyata". Scholars tentatively identify Manaviyata and Manavikrama with the titles of the elder and younger brothers of the famous origin legend.
The strength of the "Hundred Organisation" of the senior prince of Eranadu was "Six Hundred". Hundred organisations with same capacity are also found in Ramavalanadu, Valluvanadu, Kizhmalanadu, and Venadu. Scholars comes across only one nadu with a stronger force, namely Kurumpuranadu, with a force of Seven Hundred although many lesser ones with Five Hundred of Purakizhanadu, Three Hundred of Nantuzhanadu, etc., are available.
The following table shows available inscriptions mentioning the rulers of Eranadu.
|Cochin Jewish copper plate of Kodungallur Chera king Bhaskara Ravi (c. 962-1021)||c. 1000 AD||An old Malayalam royal charter in Vattezhuthu and Grantha scripts. Among others, the chief of Eralanadu, Eralanadu Utaya "Manavepala Mana Viyatan", is a signatory in the charter.|
As per the charter, while residing at Chera capital Kodungallur, king Bhaskara Ravi granted Jewish merchant Joseph Rabban a plate giving him the proprietorship of the merchant guild Anchuvannam and other 72 special trade privileges. Rabban was also exempted from all payments made by other settlers in the town to the king, and in-turn, all the rights of other settlers in the town were extended to him. The document was attested by the chief feudatories of the Chera king - Govardhana Marthanda (Venadu), Kotha Chirikanthan (Venpalinadu), Manavepala Mana Viyatan (Eralanadu), Rayiran Chathan (Valluvanadu), Kotha Ravi (Netumpurayur-nadu) - and Murkan Chathan the commander of the eastern forces.
Anchuvannam was a merchant guild in Kerala organised by Jewish, Christian and Muslim merchants from the Middle East.
|Kollam Rameshwaram temple inscription of Kodungallur Chera king Ramavarma Kulasekhara (c. 1089 - 1122)||AD 1102||An old Malayalam royal order in Vattezhuthu and Grantha scripts.|
The Chera king Rama Kulasekhara, residing at Kollam, sitting in royal council with Arya Brahmins of the temple, the Four Brahmin Ministers, the Leader of the Thousand Nairs, the Leader of the Six Hundred Nairs of Venadu, Punthurakkon Manavikrama - the chief of Eranadu, and other feudatories, made amends for (some) offence against the Arya Brahmins by donating paddy for daily feeding the Brahmins and leasing out a Cherikkal for that purpose to Venadu chief Kumara Udaya Varma.
|Anandapuram temple inscription, Thrissur||Immediate post-Chera Period||A temple inscription recording a resolution of the village council (Urutayavai) of Karimukku. The council prescribed a punishment for those who obstructed the Anandapuram temple functionaries or pilfered away temple properties and prevented the temple rituals. In addition to paying a fine, the offenders would forfeit their place in the assembly and their right to protection from the Eranadu Nizhal (warriors).|
|Trichambaram temple inscription||Undated
(c. 11th century AD)
|An old Malayalam inscription in Vattezhuthu and Grantha scripts.|
The chief of Eranadu Manavepala Mana Viyatan creates an endowment for Tiruvilakku at Trichambaram temple.
|Pulpatta temple inscription, Manjeri||Undated (c.11th century AD)||An old Malayalam temple inscription in Vattezhuthu and Grantha scripts.|
The Six Hundred of Eralanadu and the Three Hundred of Etattirai Nadu, among others, make provision for "uttu" by assigning land to the Pulpatta temple. Fine is prescribed for the violation of the rules. The Uralar are authorised to take over from Pattavalan (officer in charge of collection) in case of obstruction.
|Syrian Christian copper plates of Viraraghava||AD 1225||The plates records the grant of certain privileges, concessions and monopolies to Iravi Korthan, the chief of merchant guild Manigramam in Kodungallur. It closes with the statement that it was "issued with the knowledge of Venadu, Odanadu, Eranadu and Valluvanadu"|
Manigramam was a famous merchant guild (active in southern India and south-east Asia) organised by native Indians.
|Muchundi mosque inscription of Punthurakkon||13th century||An old Malayalam - Arabic stone inscription in Vattezhuthu and Arabic. Punthurakkon (ruler of Eranad) creates an endowment for the Muchundi Mosque. As per the Arabic portion certain Shihab-ud-Din Raihan - a freed slave (atiq) of late Mas'ud - purchased land and constructed the mosque.|
Although there is no solid basis for the famous partition legend (the Cheraman Perumal tradition) surrounding the end of Kodungallur Cheras, it is a possibility that following the mysterious disappearance of the ruler, the land was "partitioned" and that the governors of different nadus asserted independence, proclaiming it as their gift from the last overlord.
There is some ambiguity regarding the exact course of events that led to the establishment of Eradi's rule over Kozhikode, their later seat. Some historians are of the view that the Eradi was in fact a favourite of the last Kodungallur Chera king as he was at the forefront of the battles with the Chola-Pandya forces in south Kerala. The Eradi seems to have led the Chera army to victory. The king therefore granted him, as a mark of favour, a small tract of land on the sea-coast [Kozhikode] in addition to his hereditary possessions [Eralanadu province]. The Eradis subsequently moved their seat to the coastal "marshy lands" and established the city of Kozhikode.
To corroborate his assertion that Eradi prince was a member of the inner circle of the last Chera king Rama Kulasekhara (c. 1089 - 1122), scholars cites an old Malayalam inscription (AD 1102) found on a granite pillar set up in the courtyard of the Ramashwaram temple, Kollam. According to the inscription, the king, residing at Panainkavu Palace at Kurakkeni Kollam, sitting in council with Arya Brahmins, the Four Brahmin Ministers, the Leader of the Thousand Nairs, the Leader of the Six Hundred Nairs of Venadu, Punthurakkon Manavikrama - the chief of Eranadu, and other feudatories, made prayaschittam for (some) offence against the Arya Brahmins by donating paddy for daily feeding the Brahmins and leasing out a Cherikkal for that purpose to Venadu chief Kumaran Udaya Varma.
Kozhikode and its suburbs formed part of Polanadu ruled by Polarthiri. The Eradi marched with his Nairs towards Panniyankara and besieged the Polarthiri at his base, resulting in a 48-year-long standoff. The Eradi was unsuccessful, and then he propitiated the Bhagavati, bribed the followers of Polarthiri and even the consort of the ruler of Polanadu and won them to his side. Learning of this treachery Polarthiri fled from Kozhikode. The Eradi emerged victorious and shifted his seat from Nediyiruppu to Kozhikode - then also called "Thrivikramapuram". The Eradis built a fort (Koyil Kotta) at a place called "Velapuram" (port) to safeguard their new interests.
The power balance in Kerala changed as Eralnadu rulers developed the port at Kozhikode. The Samoothiri became one of the most powerful chiefs in Kerala. In some of his military campaigns - such as that into Valluvanadu - the ruler received unambiguous assistance from the Muslim Middle Eastern sailors. It seems that the Muslim judge of Kozhikode offered all help in "money and material" to the Samoothiri to strike at Thirunavaya.
Smaller chiefdoms south of Kozhikode - Beypore, Chaliyam, Parappanadu and Tanur (Vettam) - soon had to submit and became their feudatories one by one. The rulers of Payyormala, Kurumbranadu, and other Nair chiefs on the suburbs of Kozhikode also acknowledged the supremacy of Kozhikode. There were battles between Kozhikode and Kurumbranadu for a coastal region called Payyanadu. Payyanadu was a part of Kurumbranadu in early times, and was eventually given as a "royal gift" to Kozhikode. Kozhikode easily overran the Kurumbranadu warriors in the battle and Kurumbranadu had to sue for peace by surrendering Valisseri.
The ruler of Kozhikode next turned his attention to the valley of Perar. Large parts of the valley was then ruled by Valluvakkonathiri, the ancient hereditary chief of Valluvanadu. The principal objective of Kozhikode was the capture the sacred settlement of Thirunavaya. Soon the Samoothiris found themselves intervened in the so-called kurmatsaram between Nambudiris of Panniyurkur and Chovvarakur. In the most recent event, the Nambudiris from Thirumanasseri Nadu had assaulted and burned the nearby rival village. The rulers of Valluvanadu and Perumpadappu came to help the Chovvaram and raided Panniyur simultaneously. Thirumanasseri Nadu was overran by its neighbours on south and east. The Thirumanasseri Nambudiri appealed to the ruler of Kozhikode for help, and promised to cede the port of Ponnani to Kozhikode as the price for his protection. Kozhikode, looking for such an opportunity, gladly accepted the offer.
Assisted by the warriors of their subordinate chiefs (Chaliyam, Beypore, Tanur and Kodungallur) and the Muslim naval fleet under the Koya of Kozhikode, the Samoothiri's fighters advanced by both land and sea. The main force under the command of Samoothiri himself attacked, encamping at Thripangodu, an allied force of Valluvanadu and Perumpadappu from the north. Meanwhile, another force under the Eralppadu commanded a fleet across the sea and landed at Ponnani and later moved to Thirumanasseri, with intention to descend on Thirunavaya from the south with help of the warriors of the Thirumanasseri Brahmins. Eralppadu also prevented the warriors of Perumpadappu joining Valluvanadu forces. The Muslim merchants and commanders at Ponnani supported the Kozhikode force with food, transport and provisions. The warriors of the Eralppadu moved north and crossed the River Perar and took up position on the northern side of the river. The Koya marched at the head of a large column, and stormed Thirunavaya. In spite of the fact that the warriors of Valluvanadu did not get the timely help of Perumpadappu, they fought vigorously and the battle dragged on. In the meantime, the Kozhikode minister Mangattachan was also successful in turning Kadannamanna Elavakayil Vellodi (junior branch of Kadannamanna) to their side. Finally, two Valluvanadu princes were killed in the battles, the Nairs abandoned the settlement and Kozhikode infested Thirunavaya.
The capture of Thirunavaya was not the end of Kozhikode's expansion into Valluvanadu. The Samoothiri continued surges over on Valluvanadu. Malappuram, Nilambur, Vallappanattukara and Manjeri were easily occupied. He encountered stiff resistance in some places and the fights went on in a protracted and sporadic fashion for a long time. Further assaults in the east against Valluvanadu were neither prolonged nor difficult for Kozhikode.
The battles along the western borders of Valluvanadu were bitter, for they were marked by treachery and crime. Panthalur and Ten Kalams came under Kozhikode only after a protracted struggle. The assassination of a minister of Kozhikode by the chief minister of Valluvanadu while visiting Venkatakkotta in Valluvanadu sparked the battle, which dragged on for almost a decade. At last the Valluvanadu minister was captured by Samoothiri's warriors and executed at Padapparambu, and his province (Ten Kalams, including Kottakkal and Panthalur) were occupied by the Samoothiri. The Kizhakke Kovilakam Munalappadu, who took a leading part in this campaign, received half of the newly captured province from Samoothiri as a gift. The loss of this fiercely loyal chief minister was the greatest blow to Valluvanadu after the loss of Tirunavaya and Ponnani.
Kozhikode faced defeat in their next assault on Perumpadappu swaroopam. The combined forces of Perumpadappu and Valluvanadu resisted Kozhikode warriors and a vicious battle ensued for three days, at the end of which Kozhikode forces was on the retreat.
After a period of uneasy calm in Kerala, Kozhikode occupied Nedunganadu, a small polity between Valluvanadu and Palakkad (Palghat). Nedunganadu was overran without striking even a single blow. The chief of Nedunganadu surrendered to the Kozhikode forces at a place called Kodikkuni. Then the Kozhikode warriors captured a number of smaller villages around Thirunavaya - such as Thiruvegappuram - from Valluvanadu. The Valluvanadu governor tried to overcome the Kozhikode prince's advance at Kolakkadu. Near Karimpuzha in Valluvanadu, the untouchables - the Cherumas and Panans of Kotta - resisted the advancing Kozhikode forces. The Kozhikode won their affection by gifts and presents. Kozhikode prince was met by an ancestor of Kavalappara Nair, a vassal of Valluvanadu, at Karakkadu. The chiefs under Palakkad surrendered to Kozhikode at Vengotri, Nellayi and Kakkathodu. Samoothiri of Kozhikode appointed the Eralppadu as the ruler of southern Malabar region during this time. The provincial seat was at Karimpuzha. Talappilli (present day taluk of the same name and coastal regions from Ponnani to Chetwai) and Chengazhinadu submitted to Kozhikode without any resistance.
Kozhikode then completed the subjugation Ponnani taluk from Valluvanadu and captured Vannerinadu from Perumpadappu. The Perumpadappu ruler was forced to shift their base further south to Thiruvanchikkulam. When Thrikkanamathilakam near Thiruvanchikkulam came under the Kozhikode control and Perumpadappu ruler again shifted their base further south to Kochi (Cochin, in 1405 AD).
Kozhikode subjugated large parts of the state of Kochi in the subsequent years. The family feud between the elder and younger branches of the ruling family of Kochi was exploited by the Samoothiri of Kozhikode. The intervention was initiated as Kozhikode's help was sought against the ruling younger branch. The rulers of Kodungallur, Idappalli, Airur, Sarkkara, Patinjattedam [Thrissur] and Chittur supported or joined Kozhikode forces in this occupation of Kochi . Some of these were the vassals of Kochi. The Kochi chief was defeated in a battle at Thrissur and his palace was occupied. But, the defeated chief escaped to further south. Pursuing the chief to south, the Kozhikode forces under Samoothiri penetrated and occupied the town of Kochi. Unable to withstand the attacks, Kochi finally accepted Kozhikode's rule. The prince from the elder branch was installed on the throne of Kochi as vassal.
The battles against Kochi were followed by a battle against Palakkad and the expansion to Naduvattom by a Kozhikode prince. Kollengode of Venganadu Nambitis was also put under the sway of Kozhikode during the time. The severe and frequent battles with Valluvanadu by Kozhikode continued. But even after the loss of his superior ally Kochi, Valluvanadu did not submit to Kozhikode. The ruler of Kozhikode followed a custom of settling Muslim families and the families of other Hindu generals who had allegiance to him, in the captured areas of Valluvanadu. Kozhikode occupied Valluvanadu (now shrunk to Attappadi valley, parts of Mannarkkad, Ottappalam and Perinthalmanna) but could not make much progress into its hinterland.
Kozhikode was also successful in bringing the polity of Kolathunadu (Cannanore) under their control. During his expansions, the Samoothiri occupied Pantalayini Kollam as a preliminary advance to Kolathunadu. Kolathiri immediately sent ambassadors to submit to whatever terms Kozhikode might dictate. Kolathunadu transferred the regions already occupied to Kozhikode and certain Hindu temple rights. The stories about the origin of the Kadathanadu ruling family (Vatakara) are associated with battle of the Eradis with Polanadu. When the Samoothiri swarmed over Polanadu, he exiled a Polarthiri royal princess and she was welcomed in Kolathunadu (Cannanore) - one of the Samoothiri's rivals polities. After the marriage of a Kolathu prince with this princess the Kadathanadu ruling family was born. The name Kadathanadu refers to as the passing way between Kolathunadu and Kozhikode. Some land and Hindu temple rights were transferred to Kozhikode during a visit to Kollam by a ruler of the Kozhikode.
Deva Raya II (1424-1446 AD), king of the Vijayanagara Empire, conquered the whole of present-day Kerala state in the 15th century. He defeated (1443) rulers of Venadu (Kollam, Quilon), as well as Kozhikode. Fernão Nunes says that the Samoothiri and even the kings of Burma ruling at Pegu and Tenasserim paid tribute to the king of Vijayanagara Empire. Later Kozhikode and Venadu seems to have rebelled against their Vijayanagara overlords, but Deva Raya II quelled the rebellion.
As the Vijayanagara power diminished over the next fifty years, Samoothiri of Kozhikode again rose to prominence in Kerala. Samoothiri built a fort at Ponnani in 1498.
An embassy from the Samoothiri of Kozhikode, in which the chief envoy was a Persian-speaking Muslim, came to the Timurid court of Mirza Shahrukh at Herat in the 15th century. Some Herat officials had, some years earlier, on their return journey from the Sultanate of Bengal, been stranded at port Kozhikode, and on this occasion had been received by the Samoothiri of Kozhikode. Impressed by the description of the Timurid influence, the Samoothiri decided to send his own embassy to Herat.
Abdur Razzaq, an employ of Shahrukh, was soon engaged on a mission to Kozhikode (November 1442 - April 1443). He carried a series of presents from Herat, including a horse, a pelisse, headgear and ceremonial robes. "As for duties [at Kozhikode], at one-fortieth, and that too, only on sales, they are even lower that at Hormuz [in the Persian Gulf]", says Abdur Razzaq.
While in Kozhikode, Razzaq was invited by the Vijayanagara ruler Deva Raya II to his court. The envoy arrived from the Vijayanagara king had "asked" the Samoothiri to send the Herat envoy on to his court. He also says the king of Vijayanagara does not possess "jurisdiction" over the kingdom of Kozhikode, but the Samoothiri was apparently "still in great awe of the Vijayanagar king".
"Though the journey from this country [Kingdom of Kozhikode] to the Middle Kingdom is more than a hundred thousand li, yet people are very similar, happy, and prosperous, with identical customs."
Account of the members of Zheng He's entourage
It is known that the Tang Chinese ships frequently visited the then major Kerala ports such as Kollam for spices (in the 9th-10th centuries). According historians, the "Nanpiraj" mentioned in the Ling daida can be identified with Kozhikode.
From the 13th century, Kozhikode developed into the major trading centre where the Middle-Eastern and Chinese sailors met to exchange their products. Marco Polo who visited Kozhikode in 1293- 1294 records that the trade in Kerala was dominated by the Chinese. Ibn Batutah refers to the brisk Chinese trade at Kozhikode. Wang Ta-yuan - during the Yuan period - describes the pepper trade in Kozhikode in his work "Tao-i-Chih".
Zheng He (Cheng Ho), the renowned Ming Chinese admiral, visited Kozhikode several times in the early 15th century. Zheng most probably died at Kozhikode in 1433 AD during his seventh voyage to the West.
A major objective of the first Ming expedition (1405-1407) was the kingdom of Kozhikode. Historians presume that the fleet stayed from December 1406 to April 1407 at Kozhikode. Ambassadors from Kozhikode, among envoys from other states, accompanied the returning (first expedition) fleet bringing articles of "tribute" to Nanking in 1407. On the second expedition, in 1408-09, Zheng He again visited Kozhikode--stopping as well in "Chochin" (Kochi). The envoys in the second expedition (1408-1409) carried out the formal "investiture" of the Samoothiri of Kozhikode "Mana Piehchialaman". A memorial inscription was erected in Kozhikode to commemorate the investiture. The Chinese titles and gifts (brocades and gauzes) were given to the Samoothiri and his retinue by the Chinese envoys. Presumably a stay of about four months was made at Kozhikode, possibly from December 1408 to April 1409. The third expedition (1409-1411) - the first one to sail to beyond India - also visited Kozhikode. The fleet sailed on from Kozhikode to Sri Lanka in 1411. The fourth (1413-1415), fifth (1417-1419), sixth (1421-22) and seventh (1431-33) fleets also visited Kozhikode. A number of tribute delegations - in 1421, 1423, and 1433, among others - were dispatched by the Kozhikode rulers to Nanking and Peking. Presents from Kozhikode included horses and black pepper. Brocades of several types were presented to the some of the Kozhikode envoys.Ma Huan visited Kozhikode several times, and describes the trade in the region. Fei-Hsin also notices the brisk trade at Kozhikode.
The few remnants of the Chinese trade can be seen in and around the present city of Kozhikode. This include a Silk Street, Chinese Fort ("Chinakotta"), Chinese Settlement ("Chinachery" in Kappad), and Chinese Mosque ("Chinapalli" in Panthalayini Kollam).
M. G. S. Narayanan
"What the Devil! What brought you here?"
Velho 1987: 54-55
The landing of Vasco da Gama in Kozhikode in 1498 has often been considered as the beginning of a new phase in Asian history during which the control of the Indian Ocean spice trade passed into the hands of the Europeans from Middle Eastern Muslims. The strong colony of foreign merchants settled in Kozhikode was hostile, but Samoothiri welcomed the Portuguese and allowed them to take spices on board. In Portugal, the goods brought by da Gama from India were computed at "sixty times the cost of the entire Asia expedition".
The Portuguese initially entered into hostile conflicts with the Samoothiri of Kozhikode and the Middle Eastern (Paradesi) merchants in Kozhikode. Within the next few decades, the Estado da Índia also found themselves fighting with several leading Mappila trading families of Kerala (esp. the Kannur Mappilas, lead by Mammali and the Marakkars of the Pearl Fishery Coast). Kingdom of Kozhikode, whose shipping was increasingly looted by the Portuguese, evolved into a centre of resistance. The Portuguese maintained patrolling squadrons off the Kerala ports and continued their raids on departing native fleets. Mappila and Marakkar traders actively worked in the kingdoms of Malabar Coast and Ceylon to oppose the Portuguese. Naval battles broke out across Konkan, Malabar Coast, southern Tamil Nadu, and western Sri Lanka. Marakkars transformed as the admirals of Kozhikode and organised an effective collection of vessels to fight the Portuguese.
Francisco de Almeida (1505-1509) and Afonso de Albuquerque (1509-1515), who followed da Gama to India, were instrumental in establishing the Império Colonial Português in Asia. By the mid-16th century, the Portuguese managed to curtail the vital trade between Kozhikode and the Middle East. In the end of the century, Kochi was the dominant seaport in Kerala, having surpassed both Kannur and Kozhikode. The Portuguese set about breaking the monopoly which Venetians and the Egyptians had so long enjoyed in the trade with Asia. The Egyptians and the Ottoman Turks realised the danger, but internal complications between them gave the Portuguese an opportunity. Ponnani Muhammed Kunjali Marakkar was eventually executed by the combined effects of the Kingdom of Kozhikode and the Portuguese state in 1600.
|May 1498||Vasco da Gama lands in Kozhikode, and is warmly welcomed by the Samoothiri of Kozhikode. Much to the delight of the discontented Middle Eastern merchants, da Gama's "ordinary" trade goods were hardly suitable for trade in Kozhikode. The merchandise he carried - no gold and silver - only came handy in the trade on the West African coast. However, the Samoothiri of Kozhikode gave his sanction for opening trade, and assigned a small warehouse with Nairs to guard it and brokers sell their goods.|
Sale and purchases fails to meet the expectations. Da Gama demands Kerala spices in return for his unsalable wares. The Samoothiri replied that he should buy what he needed for gold and silver instead of dumping his stock in exchange, and he must pay the usual Kozhikode customs duties. After some confusion - the warehouse was robbed once - the fleet leaves Kozhikode in August. They also took with them some on-board Mukkuvas.
It is also known that da Gama erected a padrão in the kingdom of Kozhikode.
The fleet makes interactions - and trade - with Samoothiri's rival chief, the Kolathiri (Cannanore) on their return journey.
|September 1500||Pedro Alvares Cabral reaches Kozhikode, rich presents were exchanged, and a treaty of friendship, "as long as the sun and moon should endure", was entered upon. The Samoothiri was pleased with return of the Mukkuvas whom da Gama had taken to Portugal. Cabral manages to obtain the permission to construct a trading post in Kozhikode. The Samoothiri nominates a Mappila named Koya Pakki as the Portuguese broker in Kozhikode. At the request of the Samoothiri, Cabral captures a Kochi vessel passing the port Kozhikode. The vessel is subsequently restored to the chief of Kochi.|
|December 1500||The merchants of Kozhikode appear to have effectually prevented the Portuguese from obtaining any large supply of spices. Cabral accused the Muslim merchants of deliberately outbidding them, and sending away all the spices that came to the market. The Samoothiri permitted Cabral to search the Middle Eastern ships and "take whatever he found them after paying to the owners what they had themselves had paid and the customs duties to Kozhikode officers". Cabral seized a Middle Eastern ship at midnight and transfers all its spices to his depot. A general riot is broken out in Kozhikode. Around 50 Portuguese sailors at the depot are massacred, a few taken captive, by the Muslims. The depot is razed.|
The Portuguese seize ten of the Samoothiri's Muslim ships, at Kozhikode, execute their crews, and set fire to them and leave port Kozhikode by bombarding it. Around 600 Malabarians are killed.
|24 December 1500||The Portuguese, led by Pedro Álvares Cabral, reach the port of Kochi. Kochi Raja, a chieftain at the time, was subordinate to the Samoothiri of Kozhikode.|
|January 1501||The Portuguese conclude a treaty with the chief of Kochi Tirumalpadu; an alliance of friendship was signed, allowing them to open a trading depot (factory). Cabral is permitted to trade for spices, with which he loads his six remaining ships.|
A Kozhikode fleet, carrying around 1500 men, appears off the harbour of Kochi. The Kozhikode fleet holds off. Cabral chases them, but is overtaken by a violent storm which carries him to the sea. He later sails to Kannur, and from there proceeds to Europe.
|March 1501||John de Nueva is despatched from Portugal to India. He anchors at Anjediva in November and from there sails to Kannur. While travelling from Kannur to Kochi the fleet attacks and captures a Muslim vessel opposite to the Kozhikode.|
|December 1501||About 180 Kozhikode vessels filled with Muslims arrive at Kochi from Kozhikode, for the purpose of attacking the Portuguese. John de Nueva fires cannon at them, sinking a large number of vessels.|
The Muslims persuade native merchants all of over Kerala to refuse to trade their spices and textiles with the Portuguese.
Owing to the generosity of the chief of Kochi alone, his ships are soon loaded with spices and textiles, and the fleet departs for Europe.
|August 1502||Vasco da Gama returns to India to try to control Kozhikode. He burns a ship full of Muslim pilgrims - around 700 - from Mecca off the coast of Madayi. The ship also carried a chief merchant from Kozhikode. This individual - fairly rich - was the brother of Khoja Kasim, the Factor of the Sea to the Samoothiri of Kozhikode. However, the burning and sinking of the ship is not related by any contemporary and reliable sources. Some assume that the description may be "legendary or at least exaggerated".|
Da Gama is warmly welcomed by Kolathiri at Kannur, and arranges a treaty of commerce. Kolathiri agrees to supply spices at the Kochi prices and obtain "passes" (cartazes) for the ships his subjects. He next divides his fleet; one portion of it is to wage war on all native vessels except those of Kannur (Kolathunadu), Kochi (Permpatappu) and Quilon (Kollam ), which are to be protected by "passes" obtained from the factors at Kannur and Kochi respectively.
Sailing southwards, da Gama is informed by a Brahmin messenger that the Samoothiri have arrested the Muslims who were guilty of the outrage on the trading depot. Da Gama was offered a large sum to pay for the factory goods. He sent back word to say that he did not want money, and also mistreated the Brahmin messenger. Some historians assume that this was an attempt to lure da Gama to Kozhikode, and then to apprehend him. Da Gama - who certainly thought so - fires cannon at the port Kozhikode, and kills around 40 natives. The Samoothiri tries to counterattack in vain. To starve the city of Kozhikode the Portuguese plunders rice shipments from Mangalore.
|November 1502||Da Gama reaches Kochi and signs a treaty of commerce with the rulers of Kochi and Kollam. A factory is set up at Kochi by da Gama; its first factor is Diogo Fernandes Correia. The fleet then sails to Kannur, defeating two squadrons of a Kozhikode Arab Muslim fleet on the way, and then for Europe on 28 December.|
While at Kochi (1502), da Gama was visited by a deputation of Christians from Kodungallur .
Samoothiri of Kozhikode, after the departure of the Armada, demands to the ruler of Kochi the Portuguese factors left at Kochi should be given to him. The demand is refused by the ruler of Kochi.
|1503||The Portuguese crown the new ruler of Kochi, effectively making him a vassal of the King of Portugal.|
|March-April 1503||Kozhikode forces of more than 50,000 Nairs attack Kochi. The forces enter the Kochi territory, and occupy Edappalli in March. In a series of engagements, the Kozhikode forces defeat around 5,500 Kochi Nairs lead by Narayanan, the heir apparent of Kochi, near Kodungallur. Narayanan, and his two nephews, are slain in the battle and the Kozhikode forces cross the backwater to Kochi. The wounded Kochi chief escapes to the island of Vypin with the Portuguese. The Kozhikode forces burn Kochi. As the monsoon has begun, the Kozhikode forces, leaving a strong detachment at Kochi, retreat to Kodungallur.|
Two Italians desert to the side of the Kozhikode during these battles (these men later construct five big guns for the Kozhikode).
|September 1503||Francisco de Albuquerque, sailing from Kannur, reaches Kochi. The Kozhikode's blockading forces are easily defeated at Vypin island, and are driven back to Kodungallur. The Portuguese take Edappalli (Repelim).|
The Portuguese are starved of spices and textiles at Kochi by the Samoothiri of Kozhikode and the Muslims merchants. Their fleet moves south to Quilon, and with aid of local Christian merchants easily procure the spices, and obtain permission to open a factory.
|January 1504||Albuquerque leaves Malabar, his ships laden with spices. Before doing so he concludes a short-lived treaty with the Samoothiri of Kozhikode. The peace is broken by the murder of six Malabarians by the Portuguese.|
|March-July 1504||Pacheco and a small garrison of 150 men guard Fort Manuel. Around 57,000 Nairs from all over the kingdom of Kozhikode, assisted by 5 cannon guns and 160 paraos, attack Pacheco at the Edappally ferry. He manages to drive back the enemy several times. The Kochi Nairs provide little help in opposing the Kozhikode forces. As the monsoon sets in, cholera breaks out among the Kozhikode forces. The Samoothiri of Kozhikode at last gives up the attempt in despair.|
|July 1504||Pacheco quells a partial outbreak at Kollam.|
|August 1504||Pacheco defeats the Kozhikode troops at Chetwye.|
|September 1504||Suarez de Menezes arrives in Kannur. He unsuccessfully tries to rescue some of the prisoners taken at Kozhikode in Cabral's time. He cannons the city of Kozhikode and sails to Kochi.|
The fleet raids and burns the city of Kodungallur, held by Patinjattedam chief under the Kozhikode. The Portuguese spare the Christian houses, shops and churches, but they loot those of the Jews and Muslims.
|March 1505||A large Muslim fleet at Pantalayini Kollam in the kingdom of Kozhikode is destroyed. It had assembled there to take back a large number of Muslims to Arabia and Egypt, who were leaving the kingdom of Kozhikode disappointed at the trade losses caused to them recently. De Menezes captures 17 vessels and kills 2,000 men.|
|September 1505||Francisco de Almeyda commences building of Anjediva Fort.|
|October 1505||Building of St. Angelo Fort, Kannur commences. De Almeyda is visited by a Vijayanagara delegation. Francisco de Almeyda arrives at Kochi.|
|November 1505||Murder of the Portuguese factor António de Sá and his 12 men by a mob in Kollam. Lorenzo de Almeyda, finding 27 Kozhikode vessels at Kollam, engages and sinks them all. Francisco de Almeyda is crowned the new chief in Kochi.|
|February 1506||The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt sends a fleet, commanded by Amir Hussain al-Kurdi al-Askar, into the Indian Ocean. The Ottomans help in the construction of the fleet. The fleet leaves Jiddah only in August/September 1507 and sets sail to Diu (ruled by Malik Ayaz).|
|March 1506||Lorenz de Almeyda intercepts an armada of 210 large vessels of Turks (Ottoman) and Muslims whom the Samoothiri had launched against Kannur. Around 3,000 Muslims are killed in the assault and the Portuguese loss is very trifling.|
|April 1507||Joined forces of Kannur and Kozhikode attack St. Angelo Fort. The old Kolathiri - the original friend of Vasco da Gama - has died and the new ruler is already displeased with the Portuguese for harming prominent Muslims merchants at Kannur. Combined forces, including around 60,000 Nairs, lay siege to the St. Angelo Fort. Brito, the Cannanore Commandant, resists the Malabaris for four months.|
|August 1507||The Portuguese, assisted by eleven ship under da Cunha freshly arrived from Europe, break the blockade. The ruler of Kannur is forced to accede to the sailors.|
|November 1507||The Portuguese under Almeyda attack Ponnani, destroying the town and shipping. 18 Portuguese are killed in the assault on the place. A number of Muslims take an oath to die as "matrys" on this occasion.|
As per some historians, as result of the assault, the family of Marakkars relocated from Ponnani to Puthupattanam (in North Malabar). The Samoothiri of Kozhikode later appointed Marakkar I as his admiral. Kutti Ali served under Marakkar I. Some scholars identify the first Marakkar Kutti Ahmed Ali with Muhammed of Kochi.
|March 1508||Albuquerque is imprisoned by Almeyda. The Egyptian navy, under the command of Admiral Amir Hussain and supported by the forces of Mahmud Begarha (Sultan of Gujarat), defeat the Portuguese at the Battle of Chaul, killing Lorenzo de Almeyda in the process. The Egyptian force of 1500 Mamluks also includes Kozhikode's ambassador to Cairo, Mayimama Marakkar. Mayimama Marakkar is also killed in the action. The alliance between Amir Hussain and Malik Ayaz begins to fall apart. Ayaz enters into secret negotiations with de Amleyda.|
|November 1508||De Almeyda - with a fleet carrying 1300 Europeans, among others - sails to Kannur.|
|February 1509||De Almeyda counter-attacks and defeats the Egyptian navy, which is assisted by Kozhikode forces, at the Battle of Diu. The defeat off Diu is a major blow to the Muslims. Amir Hussain, though wounded, flees to the Gujarat capital. He eventually reaches Cairo in December 1512.|
|November 1509||A new fleet arrives from Europe. Albuquerque takes charge as Capitão-Mor.|
|1510||Fernando Coutinho arrives at Kannur. He brings instruction from Lisbon that Kozhikode should be destroyed. Such had been, it is said, the counsel sent to Europe by the Kolathiri and by the chief of Kochi.|
Governor Albuquerque and Fernando Coutinho lands in the city of Kozhikode. Fernando Coutinho and his men are slain in this misguided adventure, Albuquerque is shot, and the Mananchira palace is sacked and set on fire.
|September 1510||The Chief of Kochi decides to relinquish the throne. Albuquerque eventually succeeds in preventing the abdication.|
|November 1510||Governor Albuquerque takes Goa - Adil Khan is absent from the place - and it finally supplants Kochi as the chief Portuguese settlement in India. Among others he is assisted by the 300 hand-picked Nairs from Kannur.|
|July 1511||Albuquerque takes Malacca in the East Indies.|
|February 1511||Albuquerque establishes schools for the benefit of 400 natives who have converted to Christianity in Kochi.|
|1513||Albuquerque lands at Kozhikode and has an interview with the Samoothiri. Kozhikode and the Portuguese sign a treaty giving the Portuguese the right trade as "they pleased", and to erect a fort in the kingdom of Kozhikode.|
|1514-15||Fort Calicut is built on the right bank of the Kallayi river near the city of Kozhikode. Albuquerque grants the Samoothiri a certain number of cartazes for the merchants based at Kozhikode, enabling them to resume trade with Aden, Jiddah and Gujarat. The Samoothiri sends envoys to the King of Portugal with a letter expressing his readiness to supply goods.|
|1515||Albuquerque takes Hormuz (Ormus) in the Persian Gulf.|
|1515-17||Lopo Saores demands that the Samoothiri should repair to Fort Kozhikode and wait upon him. Hostilities are averted only by the good sense of the captains posted in the fort.|
|1517||Assassination attempt on the Samoothiri. The Portuguese invite the Samoothiri to a house within their fort under the pretext of presenting the king with some gifts. The Samoothiri, with the help of a Portuguese officer, escapes from the fort. The officer is later banished with all kin to Kannur.|
|1519||One of Kochi chief's nobles invades some lands belonging to one of the Samoothiri's barons. This leads to a general battle, and the Kochi chief suffers a defeat.|
|1521||Kochi Nairs, assisted by some men sent by Governor Sequeiro, invade Chetwai. But the Kochi chief is soon outnumbered, and is pursued right up to his capital.|
|1523||The Muslims, under the leadership of Kutti Ali, capture ten Portuguese vessels, and raid Kochi and Kodungallur harbours. The Muslims later insult the Governor Duarte de Menezes. In 1524 he bombards Fort Kozhikode.|
|1524||Duarte de Menezes comes to Fort Kozhikode. The Samoothiri is dead and his successor (1522-1531) does not favour the Portuguese alliance. Kutti Ali anchors his fleet of 200 vessels at Kozhikode, to load eight ships with spices, and to dispatch them with a convoy of 40 vessels to the Red Sea before the very eyes of the Portuguese.|
|1524||The King of Portugal sends Vasco Da Gama again to India. His mission is to reform the abuses which had crept into the administration in India. The ruler of Kannur (Kolathiri) surrenders a "pirate" chief called Bala Hassan to da Gama, who is thereupon thrown into a dungeon in Cannanore Fort. This man is related to the family of the Arakkal chief. Martu Alfonso de Souza under his orders relieves Kozhikode, engages the famous Kutti Ali's fleet and drives it to Kannur. Kutti Ali finally abandons his ships.|
|December 1524||The Muslims, with Kozhikode's approval, make an onslaught on the Kodungallur Jews and Christians. They kill many Jews and drive out the rest to a village to the east. When the fleet attacks Christians, the Nairs of the place retaliate, and drive all Muslims out of Kodungallur.|
|1525||Henry de Menezes reaches Kannur and executes Bala Hassan. The Kolathiri asks the Viceroy to punish those Muslims who have taken refuge at Dharmapattanam Island. An expedition is organised, and the towns, bazaars and shipping at Dharmapattanam and at Mahe are destroyed.|
|February- March 1525||A Portuguese navy led by new Viceroy Henry Menezes raids Ponnani and Pantalayini Kollam, and burns the towns. Pantalayini Kollam is defended by 20,000 Nairs and Muslims. On reaching Kozhikode, he earlier found that the place had been attacked by the Kozhikode forces. Kutti Ali in retaliation storms the port of Kochi, sets fire to the Portuguese ships, and manages to get away unhindered.|
The Nairs of the chief of Kurumbranad and Kozhikode forces invest Fort Calicut (Siege of Calicut). They are helped by a band of Muslims under the command of a European engineer. Kutti Ali's ships blockade the port. Captain Lima, with 300 men, defends the fort.
|June 1525||The Samoothiri himself marches in with an additional force.|
|October 1525||The Viceroy arrives with 20 ships and relieves the garrison; the besiegers are driven back. Around 2,000 Kozhikode men are killed in this effort. The fort is later abandoned and destroyed by the Portuguese.|
|October 1528||Viceroy Sampayo attacks Purakkad, a Kozhikode ally, and obtains a very rich booty.|
Kutti Ali is taken prisoner after a battle off Barkur. The Samoothiri's fleet suffers severe reverses. Pachachi Marakkar and Ali Ibrahim Marakkar leads the Samoothiri's fleet. The first foray of the fleet is against the Portuguese settlement in Ceylon.
|1531||Thirty Portuguese ships blockade the Kozhikode coast. A peace treaty is signed between Nunho de Acunha and the Samoothiri of Kozhikode. Fort Chaliyam, south of Kozhikode, is constructed. The fort is "like a pistol held at the Samoothiri's throat" as it is a strategic site, only 10 km south of Kozhikode.|
|1532||Mass conversion of the Paravas of the Pearl Fishery Coast.|
|1533||The Marakkar raids the Nagipattinam settlement of the Portuguese.|
|1535||The Portuguese fleet withdraw their forces to face Turkish admiral Suleiman Pasha.|
|1537||The Portuguese kill Kutti Ibrahim Marakkar. Fort Cranganore is erected.|
|1538||Mappila leaders Ibrahim and Pattu Marakkar are defeated by the Portuguese at Vedalai.|
|1539||Kozhikode enters into an agreement with the Portuguese. The Malabarians again agree to accept the Portuguese "passes". The wedge between the Samoothiri and the native Muslims widens.|
|1540||Pattu Kunjali Marakkar (died c. 1575.) leads the Kozhikode navy. He is assisted by Ponnani Kutti Pokkar. Chinna Kutti Ali sues for peace with the Portuguese (Goa). The defeat of Ibrahim and Pattu Marakkar and the killing in Ceylon of a third notable was one factor that forced Chinna Kutti Ali to this move.|
|1542||Afonso de Sousa launches expeditions against Bhatkal, apparently as "anti-Mappila" measure.|
|1545||The Portuguese assassinate Abu Bakr Ali, the qazi of Kannur.|
|1550||Battles by Kozhikode near Kochi. The Portuguese make descents on the coastal towns, particularly on Pantalayini Kollam, destroying mosques and houses, and killing one-third of the inhabitants.|
The Portuguese manage to reach an accommodation with some Middle Eastern merchants, such as Khoja Shams ud-Din Gilani of Kannur.
|1552||The Samoothiri receive assistance in heavy guns landed at Ponnani, brought there by Yoosuf, a Turk who sailed against the monsoon.|
|1555||Peace between the Samoothiri and the Portuguese on the condition that "passes" should be taken by traders.|
|1557-1559||Muslims of North Malabar begin hostilities, and then make the usual submission and agree to take out the "passes". The Muslim sailors come under enormous pressure under these stringent measures. The Muslims organise in small fleets of boats to engange with the Portuguese shipping. The Portuguese continue hostilities against the Samoothiri and the Malabarians.|
|1560||The Inquisition is established at Goa.|
|1564||The Portuguese are besieged in their fort at Kannur, but the attack is repulsed.|
|1564||The Samoothiri and his Muslim allies attack the Kochi chief at or near Kodungallur. Two Kochi princes are killed in the engagement. The Portuguese enlarge and strengthen the Fort Cranganore. Jews finally desert Anchuvannam and migrate to Kochi. They reside within the fort limits.|
|1566||Kutti Poker of Ponnani captures a Portuguese ship.|
|1567||Jew's Town is built, and the Jews in a body moved into the town from the Kochi fort limits.|
|1569||Kutti Poker of Ponnani captures a second Portuguese ship. Around 1000 Portuguese sailors from these ships are killed.|
|1569||Kutti Poker makes a successful raid on Mangalore Fort. His fleet falls in with a Portuguese fleet as he is returning south off Cannnanore, and he and all his sailors are killed.|
Samoothiri of Kozhikode forms alliances with rulers of Ahmadnagar and Bijapur.
|1571||Siege of Fort Chaliyam. The Samoothiri is assisted by the naval forces of Marakkar III (Pattu Kunjali Marakkar).|
|September 1571||Fort Chaliyam surrenders to Kozhikode. The Samoothiri destroys the fort.|
|1572||Chaliyam is burnt by the Portuguese.|
|1573||Parappanangadi town is burnt by the Portuguese. Pattu Kunjali Marakkar (Marakkar III) obtains permission from Samoothiri to build a fortress and dockyard at Puthupattanam (Kottakkal). This fort later came to be called "Fort Marakkar"."The rise in Ponnani of Pattu Kunjali Marakkar appeared to have signalled a real threat to rulers
such as the Kolathiri and the Samoothiri as much as to the Portuguese." - Sanjay Subrahmanyam
in "The Political Economy of Commerce: Southern India 1500-1650", Cambridge University Press (2002) 
|1577||The fleet of Muslim ships, carrying rice, is seized by the Portuguese and 3000 sailors are killed.|
|1578||Peace negotiations between Kozhikode and the Portuguese. The Samoothiri refuses to agree to construct a fort at Ponnani.|
|1579||The Samoothiri visits Kodungallur. The Portuguese continue hostilities against the Samoothiri and the Malabarians. The rice embargo results in the Famine of 1579.|
|1584||Kozhikode shifts policy towards the Portuguese because of his estrangement with the Marakkar who begins to defy the Samoothiri. Treaty of peace with Viceroy Mascarenhas. He sanctions the Portuguese to build a factory at Ponnani. The decision is much resented by the Marakkars, and they strengthen Fort Marakkar.|
|1591||Samoothiri allows the Portuguese to build a factory at Kozhikode. He lays the foundation of the church, granting them the necessary land and building materials.|
|1595||Possible date of the succession of Marakkar IV (Ponnani Muhammed Kunjali Marakkar). Another date in the 1570s a few years after the erection Fort Marakkar is also proposed. Muhammed is probably the nephew of the third Marakkar.|
|1597||The Samoothiri has grown nervous about the royal pretensions of the Marakkar. The Marakkar has styled himself "King of Muslims" and "Lord of the Indian Seas". Father Franciso de Costa is sent to Kozhikode. Agreement between the Samoothiri and the Portuguese on Marakkar IV. The allies decide to proceed together against Fort Marakkar - the Kozhikode forces by land the Portuguese by sea.|
|1599||Forcible subjection of the Syrian church to Rome at the Synod of Diamper. The Archbishop of Goa, Alexis Menezis, visits Kottakkal in 1599.|
(First) Siege of Fort Kottakkal (Fort Marakkar) from land by the Kozhikode forces alone. The siege ends in a frustrating defeat of the Kozhikode forces. Marakkar IV calls himself "Defender of Islam" and the "Expeller of the Portuguese".
Treaty between the Samoothiri of Kozhikode and the Portuguese. He declares that he would from then on cease persecuting Christians, permit the erection of churches in the kingdom of Kozhikode, support the Synod of Diamper, release all Christian prisoners, and provide spices for the ships of the Portuguese at the usual prices. In return the Portuguese agree to grant him "cartazes" every year for ships bound for Jiddah, Bengal, Aceh and the Canara. Most importantly the Samoothiri anticipate their help in a joint attack on Kunjali Marakkar's fort at Ponnani.
|1600||(Second) Siege of Fort Marakkar by the combined forces of the Portuguese (under Andre Furtado) and the Samoothiri of Kozhikode. The assault on the fort is begun by the Nair force consisting 6,000 men.|
The relations between the Samoothiri and the Portuguese again reverts.
In 1602, the Samoothiri sent messages to Aceh, where the Verenigde Zeeuwsche Compagnie had a factory, promising the Dutch a fort at Kozhikode if they would come and trade there. Two factors, Hans de Wolff and Lafer, were sent on an Asian ship from Aceh, but the two were captured by the chief of Tanur, and handed over to the Portuguese. These men were later hanged in Goa.
A Dutch fleet under Admiral Steven van der Hagen arrived in Kozhikode in November 1604. It marked the beginning of the Dutch presence in Kerala and they concluded a treaty with Kozhikode on 11 November 1604. By this time the kingdom and the port of Kozhikode was much reduced in importance. The treaty provided for a mutual alliance between the two to expel the Portuguese from Malabar. In return the Dutch East India Company was given facilities for trade at Kozhikode and Ponnani, including spacious storehouses.
In 1610, Cornelis Jacobsz van Breekvelt and Hans Bullardm arrived at Kozhikode and re-promulgated the old treaty. In 1617, Pieter van den Broecke was asked by a Samoothiri prince to aid them in a battle against Kochi. The Dutch refused to help the Kozhikode rulers.
The Dutch, some fifteen years after the Samoothiri first asked for help, had promised much and delivered almost nothing. The Samoothiri finally turned to the English. In September 1610, the English factors at Mocha were approached by the head of the Mappilas there to their shipping in the region from the Portuguese fleets. The English reached Kozhikode under Captain William Keeling and concluded a treaty of trade (1616) under which, among others, the English were to assist Kozhikode in expelling the Portuguese from Fort Kochi and Fort Cranganore. The English set up a factory at Kozhikode, and a factor, George Woolman, is sent there with a stock of presents. But the Samoothiri soon found the English as unreliable as the Dutch where military aid was concerned. The factory was wound up in March, 1617.
Later in 1661, Kozhikode joined a coalition led by the Dutch to defeat the Portuguese and Kochi and conducted a number of successful campaigns. As a result of the Kew Letters, the Dutch settlements on the Malabar Coast were surrendered to the British in 1795 in order to prevent them being overrun by the French. Dutch Malabar remained with the British after the conclusion of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814, which traded the colony with Bangka Island.
It was in 1732, at the invitation of the chief of Palakkad, that Mysore forces marched to Kerala for the first time. They appeared again in 1735, and in 1737 they raided the Samoothiri's frontier outposts. In 1745, the Mysore forces fought three battles with the Kozhikode warriors. In 1756 they invaded Kozhikode for the fifth time. The chief of Palakkad had placed himself under the protection of the King of Mysore, agreeing to pay an annual tribute of 12,000 fanams. The Faujdar of Dindigul, Hyder Ali, sent Mukhdam Sahib, with 2000 cavalry, 5,000 infantry, and 5 guns to Kerala. The Samoothiri tried to buy off the enemy by promising (Treaty, 1756) to refrain from molesting Palakkad and pay 12 lakh rupees for the expenses of the expedition. However the Samoothiri was unable pay anything to Hyder Ali. In 1766, 12,000 Mysore forces under Hyder Ali marched to Malabar from Mangalore. Mysore's intentions were made easy by the help they received from the Muslims in Malabar. Ali Raja of Kannur, a Muslim ruler in northern Kerala, also helped the invading forces. The Mysore army conquered northern Kerala up to Kochi with relative ease. Hyder Ali inflicted a major setback on the Kozhikode warriors at Perinkolam Ferry on the Kotta River. As Mysore edged closer to the outer reaches of the city of Kozhikode, the Samoothiri sent most of his relatives to safe haven in Ponnani, and from there to Travancore, and to avoid the humiliation of surrender committed self-immolation by setting fire to his palace at Mananchira (27 April). Hyder Ali absorbed Malabar district to his state.
But as soon as the Haider Ali marched to Coimbatore, Nair rebellions broke out in Malabar. Some members of the Samoothiri family rebelled against the Muslim occupiers. This included the Eralpadu Krishna Varma with his nephew Ravi Varma. The princes were aided by the British East India Company. In 1768 the Samoothiri prince was restored in Kozhikode, agreeing to pay an annual tribute to Mysore. For nearly six years till 1774 nothing was heard about Hyder Ali. In 1774, Mysore forces under Srinivasa Rao occupied the city of Kozhikode. The prince retired to Travancore in a native vessel. The baton of resistance now passed to his nephew Ravi Varma. Ravi Varma helped the Company occupy Kozhikode in 1782. By the Treaty of Mangalore, concluded in 1784, Malabar was restored to Mysore. In 1785 the oppression of revenue officers led to a rebellion by the Mappilas of Manjeri. As a reward for aiding to put down the rebels, and partly as an incentive, Tipu Sultan settled upon Ravi Varma a pension and a jaghir in 1786. The peace was soon broken and Tipu sent 6,000 troops under Mon. Lally to Kerala.
Lord Cornwallis invited the Kerala chiefs to join him in 1790, promising to render them in future entirely independent of Mysore and to retain them upon reasonable terms under the protection of the Company. Prince Ravi Varma met General Meadows at Trichinopoly and settled with him the terms of the Kozhikode's cooperation. After the Third Mysore War (1790-1792), Malabar was placed under the control of the Company by the Treaty of Seringapatam.
In the settlement negotiations with the Joint Commission in 1792, the Samoothiri proved recalcitrant. To pressure him, a portion of his former territories (Payyanadu, Payyormala, Kizhakkumpuram, Vadakkampuram and Pulavayi) was leased to the ruler of Kurumburanadu as manager for the East India Company. Finally, after prolonged negotiations, the hereditary territory of the Samoothiri, together with the coin mint and the sea customs, was leased back to him. He was also temporarily given jurisdiction over the petty rulers and, as a mark of the Samoothiri's exceptional position in Malabar, the revenue fixed for Beypore, Parappanadu and Vettattunadu was to be paid through him. As previously noted, these tax-payment and jurisdictional arrangements were terminated later and the Samoothiri of Kozhikode became a mere pensioned landlord receiving the "malikhana". On 1 July 1800, Malabar was transferred to the Madras Presidency. On 15 November 1806 the agreement upon which rested the future political relations between the Samoothiri of Kozhikode and the English was executed.
According to historian M. G. Raghava Varier, at the peak of their reign, the Samoothiri's ruled over a region from Kollam to Panthalayini Kollam (Koyilandy). The hereditary local chiefs, more or less independent in their region, acknowledged the over-lordship of the Samoothiri in Kozhikode. The local magnates - conferred with privileges and titles by the Samoothiri - were more dependent on Kozhikode. In times of battles the chiefs and magnates provided the warriors to the Samoothiri and were protected in turn when an enemy made encroachment to their dominions.
Some of the local chiefs had the investiture ceremony, rather similar to that of the Samoothiri of Kozhikode, some claimed kshatriya status, and some of them even used the title "Raja". Vettam Udaya Mootha Kovil, Thirumanassheri Namboothiri, Thalappalli Punnathoor Nambadi, Thalappalli Kakkattu Nambadi, Vannilassheri Padinjare Nambadi, Parappur Karippuva Kovil, Chittoor Namboothirippadu, Manakkulathil Mooppil, Parappur Valavil Kovil, Parappur Kayyavil Kovil, Venginnadu Nambadi, Kurumburanadu Madampu Unithiri were some of the local chiefs of the kingdom of Kozhikode.
K. V. Krishna Iyer, the court historian in Kozhikode, explains;
Apart from the southern half of Kurumburanadu, Payyanadu, Polanadu, Ponnani, Cheranadu, Venkadakkotta, Malappuram, Kappul, Mannarakkadu, Karimpuzha, Nedunganadu, Naduvattom, Kollangode, Koduvayur, and Mankara the kingdom of Kozhikode included the following territories as tributary polities: Kottayam, Payyormala, Pulavayi, Tanore, Chaliyam, Beypore, Parappanadu, Thirunavaya, Thalapalli-Kakkad, Thalapalli-Punnathoor, Chittoor, Chavakkad, Kavalappara, Edappally, Patinjattedam, Cranganore, Kollengodu, Cochin and all of its vassal polities, Paravur, Purakkad, Vadakkumkur, Tekkumkur, Kayamkulam and Quilon.
The kingdom only included the following territories during the late 18th century:
Payyanadu, Polanadu, Ponnani, Cheranadu, Venkattakkotta, Malappuram, Kappul, Mannarkkad, Karimpuzha, and Nedunganadu. The Samoothiri claimed to be - with more or less influence - the paramount sovereign over Payyormala, Pulavayi, Beypore, Parappanadu, Tanore, Talapalli, Chavakkadu and Kavalappara. Kozhikode had also taken possession of the more full and immediate sovereignty over Kollangode-Venginnadu, Koduvayur and Mankara.
The Samoothiri was assisted in the work of government in Kozhikode by four hereditary chief ministers called "Sarvadhi Karyakkar" and number of ministers called "Karyakkar" and "Polttis". The Karyakkar were appointed and removed by the Samoothiri. Adhikaris, Thalachennavars, Achanmar and temple functionaries also belonged to the Polttis. There were ritual specialists like Hindu priests of the palaces, astrologers etc. as well as various occupational groups like physicians, weavers, and militiamen all of whom were attached to the royal establishment.
Although the Samoothiri of Kozhikode derived greater part of his revenue from taxing the Indian Ocean spice trade, but he still did not run a fully developed mercantilist state. The Samoothiris left trade in the hands of Paradesi (Middle Eastern) and Kerala Muslims.
Shahbandar Koya (sometimes Khwaja, popularly known as the "Koya of Kozhikode") was a privileged administrative position in Kozhikode. The Shahbandar was the second most important official in most Asian polities after the ruler. Trade at the port of Kozhikode was controlled by this Muslim merchant-cum-port commissioner. He supervised customs on the behalf of the king, fixed the prices of the commodities, and collected the share to the treasury. As the farmer of customs he also had right collect brokerage and poll tax at the port.
According to tradition, it was a merchant from Muscat, Oman who induced to the Samoothiri to the conquer Valluvanadu. The Koya was subsequently appointed as the "Shahbandar" by the Samoothiri of Kozhikode. He is also given "all the privileges and dignities of a Nair chief, jurisdiction over all the Muslims residing in the bazaar of Kozhikode, the right to receive a present from the Ilavar (the Tiyyar), the Kammalar (the smiths, carpenters, stone workers etc.) and the Mukkuvar whenever the Samoothiri conferred any honours on them on ceremonial occasions".
The major sources of revenue for the kingdom of Kozhikode were:
The Samoothiri of Kozhikode derived greater part of his revenues by taxing spice trade. Trade - both coastal and overseas - was dominated the Muslims, though Jews, Chettis from Coromandel Coast, and Vanias from Gujarat all traded in and from Kozhikode. The Muslim traders included natives (Mappilas and Marakkars) as well as Muslims from the Middle East. The foreigners dominated the lucrative Indian Ocean spice trade.
The goods carried across the Arabian Sea included spices - pepper, ginger and cardamom - and trans-shipped textiles, and coconut products. The import into Kozhikode consisted of gold and copper, silver, horses (Kannur especially), silk, various aromatics, and other minor items. The Indian coastal trade network encompassed commodities such as coconuts, coir, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and rice. Rice was a major import item into the kingdom of Kozhikode from Canara and Coromandel Coast. Low-value but high-volume trade in foodstuffs that passed through the Gulf of Mannar was also handled by the native Muslims from Malabar Coast. The local people were suppliers and consumers of goods in Kozhikde ports.
|Maritime corridor||Nature||Dominant community|
|West Asia - Malabar Coast (Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf)||International / overseas||Muslims from the Middle East|
|East Asia - Malabar Coast (Pegu, Mergui, and Melaka in Myanmar and Malasia and points east)||International / overseas||Native Muslims (Mappilas and Marakkars)|
|East Coast of India - Malabar Coast (Canara, Coromandel Coast and Bay of Bengal shores) and Maldives, and Ceylon||Domestic / coastal||Native Muslims (Mappilas and Marakkars), and Chettis from Coromandel Coast |
|Gujarat - Malabar Coast||Domestic / coastal||Muslims, and Vanias from Gujarat|
|Malabar coastal||Domestic / coastal||Muslims - Mappilas|
The coins minted in Kozhikode included Panam (made of gold), Taram (made of silver) and Kasu (made of copper). The officer in-charge of the mint was called the "Goldsmith of Manavikraman". The royal mint was destroyed in 1766.
Coins in circulation in the pre-Portuguese kingdom of Kozhikode included gold coins called Pagoda/Pratapa, silver Tangas of Gujarat, of Bijapur, of Vijayanagara and the Larines of Persia, Xerafins of Cairo, the Venetian and the Genoan ducats. Other coins in circulation in the kingdom of Kozhikode - in sometime or other - included Riyal ("Irayal"), Dirhma ("Drama"), Rupee ("Uruppika"), Rasi ("Rachi"), and Venadu Chakram. Venadu coins - it seems - came to circulation after the Mysorean interlude.
Rasi later gave way to the Kaliyuga Rayan Panam. Of Kaliyuga Rayan Panam there were two varieties. One of these (issued by Kannur) was afterwards imitated by the Samoothiri called Virarayan Putiya Panam, to distinguish it from the coin of Kannur, which then became Pazhaya Panam. The four Pazhaya Panams made a Rupee while three and half Putiya Panams equalled a Rupee.
Kozhikode's attitude towards the vanquished chiefs and European governors was generally marked by moderation. The whole conquered area was not ruled directly from Kozhikode but was ruled by a Kozhikode official (general, minister or Eradi prince). Sometimes, its former rulers allowed to rule as a vassal or feudatory.
Kozhikode forces consisted mainly of feudal levies, brought by the vassal rulers and chiefs. The former were divided into five classes (Commanders of the Five Thousand, of the Thousand, of the Five Hundred, of the Three Hundred, and of the Hundred). Standing armies were kept at strategic locations like Kozhikode, Ponnani, Chavakkad, Chunganadu etc. Dharmottu Panikkar - the instructor in arms - commanded the warriors. The nominal cavalry was commanded by the Kuthiravattattu Nair. Nair militia was slow moving as compared to the cavalry, and always fought on foot.
The use of firearms and balls had been known before the advent of the Portuguese. As gunpowder and shot made by the natives were poor quality, Kozhikode later employed the Europeans to manufacture them. The Mappilas formed the main corps of musketeers, led by Thinayancheri Elayathu.
The Kunjali Marakkars effectively functioned the naval commanders of the Kozhikode Samoothiri in the 16th century. The Mappila seamen were famous for their naval guerrilla warfare and hand-to-hand fighting on board. The Mappila vessels, small, lightly armed, and highly mobile, were a major threat to the Portuguese shipping all along the Indian west coast. But the Mappila artillery was inferior, and the vessels were incapable of large scale joint/organised operations. Merchants drew Mappila corsairs and used them to transport the spices past Portuguese blockades.
Historians speculate that the Marakkars were primarily suppliers of food materials from the ports of the Coromandel Coast and spices from interior Kerala and Sri Lanka. Some assume that the Marakkars, before the beginning of the hostilities with the Portuguese, were traders of rice from Konkan. One Ismail Marakkar seems to be a prominent rice trader in Kochi. During the early years of Portuguese presence in Kerala the native Muslim merchants of Kochi - such as Cherina/Karine Mecar (Karim Marakkar), Mamale (Muhammed) Marakkar, Mitos Marakkarm, Nino Marakkar, Ali Apule, Coje Mappila and Abraham Mappila etc. - acted as spice suppliers for them. The Marakkars also supplied food materials for the Portuguese settlements in Kerala. Mamale Marakkar of Cochin was the richest man in the country. These traders, along with the other big Mappila, and Syrian Christian merchants, also acted as brokers and intermediaries in the purchase of spices and in the sale of the goods brought from Europe.
It was the commercial Interests of the Portuguese private traders in Cochin that came into the conflict with Mappilas and the (Tamil) Maraikkayar traders. By the 1520s, open confrontations between the Portuguese and the Mappilas, in southern India and in western Sri Lanka, became a common occurrence. After a series of naval battles, the once powerful Chinna Kutti Ali was forced to sue for peace with the Portuguese in 1540. The peace was soon broken, with the assassination of the Muslim judge of Kannur Abu Bakr Ali (1545), and the Portuguese again came down hard on the Mappilas. By the end of the 16th century, the Portuguese were finally able to deal with the "Mappila challenge". Kunjali Marakkar IV was defeated and killed, with the help of the Samoothiri, in c. 1600 AD. Even after the execution of Marakkar IV, the title of the Kunjali Marakkar continued to exist for almost century.
The four key Kunjali Marakkars were:
Historical documents rarely mentions the individual names of the Samoothiris of Kozhikode. Mana Vikrama, Mana Veda and Vira Raya were the only names given to male members in the royal family, the Samoothiri always being known as Manavikrama. Mana Veda might be a corruption of the Old Malayalam title "Mana Viyata". Portuguese historian Diogo de Couto was the first to attempt the construction of chronological scheme.
The following is a list of rulers of Kozhikode from "The Zamorins of Calicut" (1938) by K. V. Krishna Iyer. The first column (No.) gives the number of the Samoothiri reckoned from the founder of the ruling family, based upon de Couto's assumption that there had been 98 Samoothiris before the Samoothiri reigning in 1610.
The original seat of the aristocratic clan was Nediyiruppu and the head of the house was known as Nediyiruppu Mutta Eradi, a title enjoyed by the fifth in rank from the Samoothiri. Under the Kodungallur Chera rulers the Mutta Eradi governed Ernad with the title of "Ernad Utaiyar". Later the clan abandoned its ancestral house and transferred its residence to the present day Kozhikode.
|No. of Samoothiri||Name||Reign||Important events|
|1||Mana Vikrama (Manikkan)||N/A||The legendary founder of the ruling family.|
|27||8 years||Kozhikode city is established|
|65||1339-1347||Ibn Battuta at Kozhikode (1342-1347)|
|73||1402-1410||Ma Huan at Kozhikode (1403)|
|78||1442-1450||The visits of Abdur Razzak (1442) and Niccolò de' Conti (1444)|
|81||Mana Vikrama the Great||1466-1474||Athanasius Nikitin (1468-1474) visits Kozhikode.|
|84||1495-1500||The arrival of Vasco da Gama (1498)|
|85||1500-1513||The occupations of Kochi (1503-1504)|
|86||1513-1522||Treaty with Portuguese (1513), and the erection of the Portuguese fort at Kozhikode (1514)|
|87||1522-1529||The expulsion of Portuguese from Kozhikode|
|88||1529-1531||The building of Portuguese fort at Chaliyam (1531)|
|89||1531-1540||Battles with the Portuguese|
|90||1540-1548||Treaty with Portuguese (1540)|
|91||1548-1560||Adoption of the chief of Bardela (150) and the battles with the Portuguese.|
|93||Mana Vikrama||1572-1574||The expulsion of the Portuguese from Chaliyam (1571)|
|94||1574-1578||Battles with the Portuguese|
|95||1578-1588||The Portuguese allowed a factory at Ponnani (1584)|
|96||1588-1597||The settlement of the Portuguese at Kozhikode (1591)|
|97||1597-1599||Battles with Marakkar (1598-1599)|
|98||1599-1604||Capture of Marakkar's stronghold (1600)|
|99||1604-1617||Siege of Cannanore (1604-1617) and treaties with the Dutch (1604 and 1608) and the English (1615)|
|103||Mana Vikrama (Saktan Tampuran)||1637-1648||The uncle of the author of the Krishnanatakam|
|105||Mana Veda||1655-1658||The author of the Krishnanatakam|
|106||Asvati Tirunal||1658-1662||The expulsion of the Portuguese from Kodungallur (1662)|
|107||Puratam Tirunal||16621666||The expulsion of Portuguese from Kochi (1663)|
|108||1666-1668||Battles with the Dutch|
|109||1668-1671||The destruction of the Cheraman Sword|
|110||Uttrattati Tirunal||1671-1684||Cession of Chetwai to the Dutch|
|111||Bharani Tirunal Mana Vikrama||1684-1705||The terror of the Dutch. Two Mamankams (1694 and 1695)|
|112||Nileswaram Tirunal||1705-1711||Adoptions from Nileswaram (1706 and 1707)|
|113||1711-1729||The Dutch War (1715-1718)|
Note: Italic names only indicate the asterism under which the Samoothiri is born
It seems that the original ruling family came to an end with the 114th Samoothiri of Kozhikode. The 115th Samoothiri, the first of the second ruling family, was the oldest of the princes adopted from Nileshwaram in 1706.
|No. of Samoothiri||Name||Reign||Important events|
|115||Samoothiri from Kilakke Kovilakam||1741-1746|
|116||Putiya Kovilakam||1746-1758||The Dutch War (1753-1758)|
|117||Kilakke Kovilakam||1758-1766||Battles with Travancore and the invasion of Mysore, committed suicide. Annexed by Mysore.|
|119||Kerala Varma Vikrama (Putiya Kovilakam)||1788-1798||Treaty of Seringapatam (1792)|
|120||Krishna Varma (Putiya Kovilakam)||1798-1806||Agreement of 1806 with EIC (died in 1816)|
K. K. N. Kurup
M. G. S. Narayanan
The Samoothiris of Kozhikode returned to Kozhikode from Travancore by 1800. The Company reduced the Samoothiris to the position of "pensioned" landlord by giving them an annual payment called mali khana. Payments (mali khana) were taken over by the Government of India after independence in 1947. The royal family has been trying to get a pension from the various governments over fifty years. The Kerala government decided to award a monthly pension to members of the royal family in 2013.
At present the Samoothiri of Kozhikode is trustee to 46 Hindu temples (under Malabar Devaswom Board, as Madras H. R & C. E Act 1956) in northern Kerala, including five special grade temples, which generate a substantial revenue. The Samoothiri also has a permanent seat on the Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple's managing committee. Zamorin's High School - situated overlooking the Tali temple - was established in 1877 and the family manages the Zamorin's Guruvayurappan College.
The family has sought the government's help to preserve the artefacts in their private collection. This collection include palm leaf manuscripts, swords, shields and other valuables. Malabar Devaswom Board Commissioner recently proposed to the Kerala state government that the temples under the hereditary (private) trustees - such as the Samoothiri - should be attached to the Board.