Thiruvananthapuram, the unsullied capital city of Kerala and a top-notch tourist destination in India, is far-famed for its unadulterated greenery and old-world charm. Erstwhile known as kingdom of Travancore, today, Thiruvananthapuram serves as the political and business centre to several legislative offices and trading companies. The history of Thiruvananthapuram dates back to the 1000 BCE. Initially ruled by Ays Kingdom, the history of Thiruvananthapuram is truly gripping. After the Ays rulers were attacked and driven out by the Cholas, the district came under the dominance of Venad leaders. During this time, the province witnessed a struggle for absolute supremacy from its internal rivals. By the end of 1685, Thiruvananthapuram was invaded and overpowered by foreign influences like the Dutch and the Portuguese before the city finally came under the East Indian Company. The reign of Maharaja Marthanda Varma brought about significant developments in the region that played an important role in shaping Thiruvananthapuram history. Read the article to know more facts on the history of Thiruvananthapuram.
Although the city was under the dominance of Ays dynasty, the coastal region only rose to eminence only when several ships of King Solomon embarked on the port of Ophir. During the war between the Chera and Chola, the powerful Chola military demolished the political rule in the coastal region. By the end of 1110 AD, the Chola dynasty lost its hold and retreated to Kottar and the kingdom was passed on to the Venad rulers.
Venad Royal Family
The Venad rulers, apart from being known for their efficient administration and stable governance, made groundbreaking advances in the fields of music, dance, literature and other art forms. The Venad rule ended when the temple trustees of Ettarayogam challenged the Varma kings and overthrew their supremacy. In 1677, Raja Aditya Varma was assassinated by them. From 1677 to 1684, Umayamma Rani ruled the city. During her rule, a Mughal warrior, Mughal Sirdar, annexed Travancore and the queen was left with no choice but to take shelter in Nedumangad. However, a prince from the Kottayam princely family defeated the Muslim ruler, who was later murdered by the temple trustees. The period between 1718 and 1721 witnessed first handed quarrels between temple heads and the kings of Travancore. By this time, fights between the officials and temple authorities had become common. One of the main reasons for the conflicts is believed to be King Aditya Varma's ignorance towards his subjects' grievance.
Maharaja Marthanda Varma initiated the foundation for modern Thiruvananthapuram in the year 1729. According to the chronicler of the city, Maharaja Marthanda Varma is said to be the 'Father of modernization' in Thiruvananthapuram. During his time, there were several attempts made to assassinate Maharaja Marthanda Varma but he escaped to the safety of Thiruvananthapuram. He undertook several architectural activities by building temples and was involved in creating Thiruvananthapuram as a centre of aesthetic and academic activities. During his time, the Maharaja shifted his capital to Padmanabhapuram while Thiruvananthapuram remained as an important artistic hub of Travancore.
Thiruvananthapuram experienced the benefits of being under the English rule in India. In the year 1791, the English and the king of Travancore signed a peace treaty allowing their heirs to the throne. From 1829 to 1847 AD, the period witnessed not only a cultural boom but also enjoyed economic prosperity from the spice trade. On the academic front, Thiruvananthapuram made great progress as well. In 1834, the town saw its first English medium school. Maharaja Swathi Thirunal encouraged the development activities in the country. Towards the end of 1880, the town had already earned a distinction as a thriving learning centre.
During Maharaja Sree Moolam Thirunal rule, Thiruvananthapuram saw the investiture of the legislative council, which was the first governmental chamber in India. During the freedom struggle, the campaign by the Indian National Congress against the East Indian Company reverberated in Thiruvananthapuram and several parts of the state. Thiruvananthapuram became a part of Kerala state under the state reorganization act in 1956.