Also known as Calicut, Kozhikode was the trade, cultural and culinary hub of ancient Kerala. The district owes its name to the fort built by the former rulers, the legendary Zamorins. Today, with its sandy coastal belt, laterite midlands and rocky highlands, Kozhikode is one of the most favoured tourist destinations of God's Own Country.
This port town was put on the world map by Arab, Chinese and African merchants who came into trade spice. With the fall of the Chera kingdom, the Zamorins rose to power here in the 12th century. Later, the Portuguese arrived with Vasco da Gama at the helm, initially seeking to establish trade relations with the state. But this led to a battle for political dominion. Soon, other European powers, including the Dutch and the British, also joined the fray.
They were followed by the Mysore Kings, Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. By the end of the 18th century the British gained complete control over Kozhikode and surrounding areas. In the post-independence-era, Kozhikode officially became a part of the state of Kerala in 1956, and was named a district in 1957. It was further divided to carve out the districts of Wayanad and Malappuram.