History of Kollam

History of Kollam throws light on the gradual development of the fascinating city of Kollam into a busy and prosperous commercial center of Kerala. 'Quilon' was the name given to Kollam by the Portuguese. This old sea port town on the Arabian Coast is poised on the edges of the beautiful Ashtamudi Lake. As an important trade center, since the times of the Phoenicians and Romans, the enchanting sea port has been touched upon by many foreign explorers and travelers on their voyage.

Historical evidences in Kollam reveal that the rulers of Kollam, formerly known as Desinganadu and China maintained cordial relations between them. They even exchanged their embassies and small Chinese settlements were established in this town. Kollam enjoyed the status of the 'chief port of call' by the Tang Dynasty of China. They referred to Kollam as 'Mahali'. Merchant Sulaiman of Siraf in Persia, on his sea voyage trail from Canton to Persia had touched upon Quilon sea port and mentioned in his memoirs about the huge Chinese junks he had found in this city. Kollam has also been mentioned by the famous Marco Polo, who after visiting Kublai Khan's Court in China, enjoyed a brief stopover at Kollam on his return journey to Venice. In his interesting account he has mentioned about the flourishing trade relations between Kollam and China.

Going by Kollam history, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to set their foot in this sea port in the year 1502 with the motive of establishing a trade center. The Dutch and the British later joined them. A British Garrison was established here as a result of the treaty between the Britishers and the rulers of Travancore. The Velu Thampi Dalawa of Travancore, contributed a lot for the improvement of this small town. Bazars were built, and traders from all over were invited to establish their trading centers at Kollam and settle here. Gradually this small town flourished and later on became a famed capital of the illuminated and liberal rulers.

Archaeological digs have validated the fact that Kollam was one of the early centers for development of Christianity. An interesting historical fact about Kollam suggests that the present town was built in 9th century AD by Sapir Iso, the Syrian merchant.

Kollam, which was once a city of palaces has developed and flourished into a beautiful seaport, and a buzzing commercial center. The new town still bears the remnants of the glorious history of Kollam.

Last Updated on 9/15/2011



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