The first westerner on the islands was Vasco da Gama, but the English were the first to explore the islands. They are also mentioned in great detail in the stories of the Arab traveller, Ibn Batuta. The Portuguese established a fort on the islands in May 1498, but the inhabitants rose up against them and chased them away. The Amindivi group of islands (Amini, Kadmat, Kiltan, Chetlat and Bitra) came under the rule of Tipu Sultan in 1787. They passed on to British control after the Third Anglo-Mysore War and were attached to the South Canara district. The rest of the islands became a suzerainty of the Chirakkal family of Cannanore in return for a payment of annual tribute. After a while, the British took over the administration of those islands for non-payment of arrears. These islands were attached to the Malabar district of the Madras Presidency. In 1956, the States Reorganisation Act separated these islands from the mainland administrative units, forming a new union territory by combining all the islands.
Lakshadweep's gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at $60 million in current prices.