Malabar: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Country  India
State Kerala , Puducherry(Mahe)
District(s) 6
District(s) Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad, Wayanad
Largest city Kozhikode

816 /km2 (2,113 /sq mi)
Literacy 91.74%
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)

Malabar (Malayalam: മലബാര്‍) is a region of southern India, lying between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. The name is thought to be derived from the Malayalam word Mala (Hill) and Puram (region) derived or westernised into bar. This part of India was a part of the British East India company controlled Madras State,when it was designated as Malabar District . It included the northern half of the state of Kerala and some coastal regions of present day Karnataka. The area is predominantly Hindu but the majority of Kerala's Muslim population known as Mappila also live in this area, as well as a sizable ancient Christian population.[1] The name is sometimes extended to the entire southwestern coast of the peninsula, called the Malabar Coast. Malabar is also used by ecologists to refer to the tropical moist forests of southwestern India (present day Kerala).


Malabar region

The Malabar region lies along the southwest coast of the Indian peninsula and forms the northern part of present-day Kerala state. Malayalam is the chief language of the region, and the ancestors of today's population have inhabited the region for centuries. The region formed part of the ancient kingdom of Chera for centuries. It became part of the Hindu Vijayanagara empire in the 15th century. with the breakup of the empire in the mid-16th century, the region came under the rule of a number of local chieftains notably the Kolathiris of North Malabar, Zamorins of Calicut and the Valluvokonathiris of Walluvanad. The region came under British rule in the 18th century, during the Anglo-Mysore Wars. During the British rules, the Malabar area was divided in to two categories as North and South. North Malabar comprises : Present Kasaragod and Kannur Districts, Mananthavady Taluk of Wayanad District and Vadakara Taluk of Kozhikode District. Left over area in South Malabar.

At the conclusion of the Anglo-Mysore wars, the region was organized into a district of Madras Presidency. The British district included the present-day districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, much of Palakkad and a small portion of Thrissur. The administrative headquarters were at Calicut (Kozhikode). With India's independence, Madras presidency became Madras State, which was divided along linguistic lines on 1 November 1956, when Malabar district was merged with the Kasaragod district immediately to the north and the state of Travancore-Cochin to the south to form the state of Kerala.

Bekal Fort Beach, Kerala

Malabar Coast

Backwaters in the Malabar, c.a. 1913

The Malabar Coast, in historical contexts, refers to India's southwest coast, lying on the narrow coastal plain of Karnataka and Kerala states between the Western Ghats range and the Arabian Sea. The coast runs from south of Goa to Cape Comorin on India's southern tip.

The Malabar Coast is also sometimes used as an all encompassing term for the entire Indian coast from the western coast of Konkan to the tip of the subcontinent at Cape Comorin. It is over 525 miles or 845 km long. It spans from the South - Western coast of Maharashtra and goes along the coastal region of Goa, through the entire western coast of Karnataka and Kerala and reaches till Kanyakumari. It is flanked by the Arabian Sea on the west and the Western Ghats on the east. The Southern part of this narrow coast is the South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests.

The Malabar Coast features a number of historic port cities, notably Kozhikode (Calicut), Cochin, and Kannur, that have served as centers of the Indian Ocean trade for centuries. Because of their orientation to the sea and to maritime commerce, the Malabar coast cities feel very cosmopolitan, and hosted some of the first groups of Christians (now known as Syrian Malabar Nasranis), Jews (today called as Cochin Jews), and Muslims (at present known as Mappilas) in India.

Geographically, the Malabar Coast, especially on its westward-facing mountain slopes, comprises the wettest region of southern India, as the Western Ghats intercept the moisture-laden monsoon rains.

European settlements in India

Malabar rainforests

The term Malabar rainforests refers to one or more distinct ecoregions recognized by biogeographers:

  1. the Malabar Coast moist forests formerly occupied the coastal zone to the 250 meter elevation (but 95% of these forests no longer exist)
  2. the South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests grow at intermediate elevations
  3. the South Western Ghats montane rain forests cover the areas above 1000 meters elevation

The Monsooned Malabar coffee bean comes from this area.

See also


Team malabar


  1. ^ "Kerala." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 8 June 2008

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MALABAR, a district of British India, in the Madras Presidency. Geographically the name is sometimes extended to the entire western coast of the peninsula. Properly it should apply to the strip below the Ghats, which is inhabited by people speaking the Malayalam language, a branch of the Dravidian stock, who form a peculiar race, with castes, customs and traditions of their own. It would thus be coextensive with the old kingdom of Chera, including the modern states of Travancore and Cochin, and part of Kanara. In 1901 the total number of persons speaking Malayalam in all India was 6,029,304.

The district of Malabar extends for 145 m. along the coast, running inland to the Ghats with a breadth varying from 7 0 to 25 m. The administrative headquarters are at Calicut. Area, 5795 sq. m. Malabar is singularly diversified in its configuration; from the eastward, the great range of the Western Ghats, only interrupted by the Palghat gap, looks down on a country broken by long spurs, extensive ravines, dense forests and tangled jungle. To the westward, gentler slopes and downs, and gradually widening valleys closely cultivated, succeed the forest uplands, till, nearer the seaboard, the low laterite tablelands shelve into rice plains and backwaters fringed with coconut palms. The coast runs in a south-easterly direction, and forms a few headlands and small bays, with a natural harbour in the south at Cochin. In the south there is considerable extent of table-land. The mountains of the Western Ghats run almost parallel to the coast, and vary from 3000 to 7000 ft. in height. One of the most characteristic features of Malabar is an all but continuous chain of lagoons or backwaters lying parallel to the coast, which have been formed by the action of the waves and shore currents in obstructing the waters of the rivers. Connected by artificial canals, they form a cheap means of transit; and a large local trade is carried on by inland navigation. Fishing and fishcuring is an important industry. The forests are extensive and of great value, but they are almost entirely private property. The few tracts which are conserved have come into government hands by escheat or by contract. Wild animals include the elephant, tiger, panther, bison, sambhar, spotted deer, Nilgiri ibex, and bear. The population in 1901 was 2,800,555, showing an increase of 5.6% in the decade.

The staple crop is rice, the next most important product being coco-nuts. Coffee is grown chiefly in the upland tract known as the Wynaad, where there are also a few acres under tea. The Madras railway crosses the district and has been extended from Calicut to Cannanore along the coast. There are eleven seaports, of which the principal are Calicut, Tellicherry, Cannanore and Cochin. The principal exports are coffee, coco-nut products and timber. There are factories for cleaning coffee, pressing coir and making matting, making tiles, sawing timber and weaving cotton.

See Malabar District Gazetteer (Madras, 1908).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun




  1. A region in the southwest of India.

Derived terms

  • Malabar Coast


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