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History of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu, one of the hottest tourist destination of India. This state, located in southern peninsula of of our country has a rich history.

Hemmed by azure water of Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean, Tamil Nadu is known as ‘the country of Tamil’. Since 1500 B.C, Tamil Nadu has been the home of Tamil civilization which is evident from numerous archaeological sites that are dotted in the entire state. The most important archaeological site being Adichanallur, which is located near Tirunelveli town. Even the language, Tamil is also very old and traces back its history to 2, 500 years. Since that era, this classical language of India has been used in inscriptions and literature.

History of Tamil Nadu can be classified into various eras such as prehistoric era, eras of empires, and British era.

Pre-historic era – Pre historic era of Tamil Nadu can be classified into Old Stone Age, New Stone Age, Metal Age and Megalithic age.Archaeological evidences found in Adichanallur, located just 24 km from Tirunelveli. 169 clay urns containing human skulls, skeletons and bones, plus husks and grains of rice, charred rice and Neolithic Celts, are found here which confirms the Neolithic period( 3800 years ago). Apart from this, a group of Indian geologists are connecting the history of Tamil Nadu with Jurassic era. They have found hundreds of fossilized dinosaur eggs, perhaps of 65 million years old, underneath a stream in a small village in Ariyalur district.

Age of Empires (600 -1300 B.C)

Ancient History (1st to 9th century) – After pre-historic era, now its turn for ancient period. The history of this period mainly showcases the rise and fall of many empires. Some of these kings have extended their empires to other parts of India as well as overseas. In the first few centuries of this period, there was very little trace of existence of Chola dynasty, who were very active during the Sangam period. But, rivalry between Pallavas and Pandyas has helped the Cholas to regain their strength. They have ruled the region like Thanjavur and Tiruchirapalli districts in between 1st and 4th centuries C.E.

During the later half of 4th century, Pallavas has ruled the south for nearly 400 years. They have ruled a large portion of the region from Kanchipuram which served as their capital. In the 6th century they defeated the Cholas and ruled as far as Sri Lanka. In the 9th century, the last Pallava king was defeated by Aditya Chola.

Medieval History (9th to 14th century) – In the 9th century, once again Cholas came to power, under the reign of Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola. They have extended their empire to parts of Orissa, West Bengal, parts of Ceylon( present day Srilanka), islands of Andaman-Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Sumatra, Java, Malaya and the islands of Pegu by defeating rulers of Cheras and Pandyas. After such glorious days, Cholas started losing their power around the 13th century.

With the decline of Cholas, in the 14th century Pandyas once again came to power. But soon Muslim invaders have destroyed both Chola and Pandya dynasty completely and created Bahmani kingdom in the Northern Deccan. To take revenge of this defeat, Hindu rulers has joined hands together and build a new kingdom known as Vijayanagara Empire. But, in 1564 A.D, Deccan Sultans have defeated the ruler of Vijayanagara Kingdom in the battle of Talikota.

Modern History (17th century) – Modern history of Tamil Nadu starts with the settlement of Dutch in Pulicat in 1609 A.D. And in the year 1639 A.D, Britishers under the banner East India Company has established their settlement at Chennai. With the help of divide and rule policy, Britishers has extend their area. They fought with other European powers like Dutch and French to drive away them from India. Britishers have also fought with Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan of Mysore Kingdom and brought the entire southern region under their reign. They merged Southern India under Madras Presidency.

But, from late 18th century, nationalist movement has started in Tamil Nadu. Poligars of Poligars of Tirunelveli and Shivagana, and the sepoy revolt at Vellore in 1806 has infused the early manifestation of anti-colonial feeling in the natives of Tamil Nadu.

In 1947 after India’s independence, Madras Presidency became Madras State in 1953. On the basis of linguistic difference, in 1953 Kannada-speaking areas were transferred to Mysore (now Karnataka), and the Malayalam areas to Kerala. In 1968, the name of Madras was changed to Tamil Nadu.

Visit Tamil Nadu and explore its interesting history.