Personalities in Kerala History
One of the most competent and popular Chief Ministers of Kerala.
A prominent leader of the oppressed classes. Born
in 1863, he successfully organised educational and other rights
for people of the lowest strata of society.
AYYAPPAN (Sahodaran Ayyappan)
A noted leader of the oppressed classes. He started
the paper Sahodaran in 1921 and hence the name Sahodaran Ayyappan.
He was a noted member of the ministries of Kochi from 1946 onwards
till 1949. Died in 1968. The main arterial road from East into Kochi
is today named after him
A German priest who later became a Sanskrit scholar
and penned many notable Sanskrit books of high repute. Also produced
the first Malayalam - Portuguese dictionary.
A traveller from Arabia circa 1000 AD, who first described
Malabar in his writings. Talks about Buddhist influence in Kerala
during his travels.
ALPHONSA DE ALBURQUEQE
Portugese governor of Kerala from 1506. He is credited
with expanding Portuguese power to the entire coast of Kerala, Goa
and Malacca in the east by force of arms and shrewd alliances. He
was an able administrator and brought in a semblance of law and
order and sensible civil laws.
Legendary figure of 12th century AD. Hero in many
Vadakkan Pattu or local chronicles. Reputedly man of great chivalry
and bravery. His memory is revered in many parts of Kerala to this
Soon after Vasco de Gama returned to Portugal, Cabral
sailed to Kerala with 33 ships and 1500 men. Cabral was noted for
his treachery and cruelty. Soon the entire coast was a battle field
and forced Cabral to seek the help of the Kochi Raja to fight the
Freedom fighter and Chief minister of the state of
Thirukochi in 1951.
Veteran politician. The mild mannered and popular
former Chief minister of Kerala .
A priest from a small parish of Ramapuram, he undertook
a journey to Rome in 1778. Thereafter he wrote the first ever Travelogue
Herman Gundert, a German missionary is credited with
having prepared and published the first Malayalam dictionary in
1872. A noted educationist and literary figure.
Another great traveler, from Africa, who wrote about
the great port cities of Kerala - Caulum (Kollam), Calikooth (Kozhikode).
There is no mention of Kochi in his memoirs.
A Dutch traveler to Kerala in 1664 wrote an exhaustive
travelogue on Kerala.
This Arab merchant arrived at Kodungalloor in 345 AD and laid the
foundations of the Syrian Christian of Kerala. The local Raja accorded
him great honours and positions in credited with founding the Syrian
Christian community of Kerala.
Karunakaran was one among the able Chief Ministers
of Kerala. Popularly known as 'Leader'
The Admiral of great courage and tactical capabilities,
was reportedly o Arab descent. He is probably the only person to
have effectively challenged the might of the Portuguese fleets.
But the odds were too great against the might of the Portuguese
A famed highwayman of Central Thiruvithamkoor in the early part
of the 19th century. He is reported to have stolen from the rich
and given to the poor. Legends about his exploits are part of the
local folk lore. Died in jail in 1859.
A Gandhian who fought ceaselessly against all form of subjugation
and oppression. Closely identified with the Vaikom satyagraha (temple
entry for all castes).
A great Malayalam poet in the court of Marthanda Varma
The founder of the unified state of Thiruvithamkur
in the 18th century. He conquered all the medium sized principalities
upto Kochi and laid the foundations of a modern state. He employed
people with known capabilities in the military, administration and
MUNROE, JOHN, COLONEL
A able administrator and resident of Thiruvithamkoor in the early
years of 19th century. Introduced very far reaching and sensible
PATTOM THANU PILLAI
One of the early Chief Ministers of Kerala in its formative years
PANAMPILLY GOVINDA MENON
An eminent political figure of Kochi. He was the Chief Minister
of Kochi in 1947 and 1955. He was also member of the Union Cabinet.
The Pazhassi raja led an insurrection against British rule in Malabar
in 1797. The British took causalities in the beginning, but asserted
themselves as the campaign wore on. By 1804 Pazhassi's revolt was
all but suppressed. In 1805 he was killed in the forests of Wayanad.
He is to this day revered as one of the greatest patriots of Kerala.
One of the Chief Ministers of Kerala after Independence.
Sir C. P. RAMASWAMY IYENGAR
Powerful Dewan of Thiruvithamkur state at Independence.
It must be said that Sir CP (as he was popularly known) nursed ambitions
of making Thiruvithamkur an independent country. However, a violent
personal attack on him demoralised him and he went to self exile.
SRI NARAYANA GURU
One of the greatest social reformers of India and a contemporary
of Mahatma Gandhi. His call for equality among people found a great
following. His teachings have had a profound effect on the caste-ridden
Kerala landscape and helped the state achieve great social progress
when compared to the other states of India. Founded many ashrams,
the most important being at Sivagiri near Kollam. He died in 1928.
Another legendary warrior from North Kerala at the end of the 16th
century. Highly stylised songs and stories of his valour and chivalry
Legendary warrior figure , sister of Aromal Chekavar, mother of
Aromalunny. The songs and chronicles have to this day kept the legend
VASCO DE GAMA
The European merchant prince who opened up the East to European
rule. Landed at Kozhikode in 1498 and established trading stations
and in the end Portuguese rule over Kerala.
VELU THAMPI DALAWA
Velu Thampi led what is perhaps the most courageous rebellion against
the British which started as a direct fall out of the British Resident
Macauly's humiliating interference in the affairs of the Thiruvithamkur
. Th e revolt started in 1808 . The Kundara Proclamation of 1809
was an open call to arms and thousands flocked to his banner.
Initially, he was helped in his cause by the Dewan of Kochi, Paliath
Achan, but in the later stages he fought a lonely campaign against
the British. He was no match for the military might of the British
Army and finally fled the state and reportedly committed suicide
in March 1809. Most of Velu Thampi's followers were either hanged
or imprisoned after the termination of hostilities. There would
not be any insurrection on this scale for the rest of the British
presence in Kerala.