Kerala is a state in India. It is located on the south-western region of the country. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act bringing together the areas where Malayalam was the dominant language.
The state has an area of 38,863 km2 (15,005 sq mi) and is bordered by Karnataka to the north, Tamil Nadu to the south and the east and the Lakshadweep Sea towards the west. Thiruvananthapuram is the capital and largest city of Kerala. Kochi and Kozhikode are the other major cities. Kerala is also known for its many small towns that are scattered across the state, thus creating a higher density of population.
From as early as 3000 BC, Kerala had established itself as a major spice trade centre. A 3rd-century-BC rock inscription by emperor Asoka the Great attests to a Keralaputra. Around 1 BC the region was ruled by the Chera Dynasty, which traded with the Greeks, Romans and Arabs. The Tamil Chera dynasty, Ays and the Pandyan Empire were the traditional rulers of Kerala whose patriarchal dynasties ruled until the 14th century. The Cheras collapsed after repeated attacks from the neighboring Chola and Rashtrakuta kingdoms. Feudal Namboothiri Brahmin and Nair city-states subsequently gained control of the region. Contact with Europeans after the arrival of Vasco Da Gama in 1498 gave way to struggles between colonial and native interests. By early 16th century, the Portuguese established their domination. They were defeated by the Dutch in 1663, who in turn were forced out of the land by the British East India Company in 1795, bringing the area under British dominion. After independence, the state of Kerala was created in 1956 from the former state of Travancore-Cochin, the Malabar district of Madras State, and the Kasaragod taluk of Dakshina Kannada.
Kerala is a popular tourist destination famous for its backwaters, Ayurvedic treatments and tropical greenery. Kerala has a higher Human Development Index than all other states in India. The state has a literacy rate of 94.59 percent, the highest in India. A survey conducted in 2005 by Transparency International ranked Kerala as the least corrupt state in the country. Kerala has witnessed significant migration of its people, especially to the Persian Gulf countries during the Kerala Gulf boom, and is heavily dependent on remittances from its large Malayali expatriate community.