Kozhikode pronunciation (help·info) in , also known as Calicut, is a city in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It is the third largest city in Kerala and the headquarters of Kozhikode district. Kozhikode was once the capital of an independent kingdom, and later of the erstwhile Malabar District.
Kozhikode has a population of 436,527 as of 2001 census, with an extended metropolitan population of about 0.9 million, making it the third largest urban agglomeration and the third largest city in Kerala. According to data compiled by economics research firm Indicus Analytics on residences, earnings and investments, Kozhikode ranked as the second best city in India to reside in. Indicus considered six parameters -- health, education, environment, safety, public facilities and entertainment -- for preparing their 'reside-in' index of livability.
The ports of the Malabar Coast have participated in the Indian Ocean trade in spices, silk, and other goods for over two millennia. There are documented visits in as early as the 14th century, by Chinese travellers such as Zheng He. Kozhikode had emerged as the centre of an independent kingdom by the 14th century, whose ruler was known as the Samoothirippadu (often anglicised as Zamorin). Thus Calicut came to be called the City of Zamorins
In the year 1498 Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed at 'Kappad', about 25 km from Calicut city. This was a major event in the era of European Discoveries, because the discovery of the sea route from Europe to India gave the Portuguese a significant advantage in the control of international trade that lasted for almost a century.
During the 16th century, the Portuguese set up trading posts to the north in Kannur and to the south in Kochi, but the Zamorin resisted the establishment of a permanent Portuguese presence in the city. In 1509 though, the kingdom was forced to accept a Portuguese trading post in Chaliyar. The Samoothirippadu later allied with Portuguese's rivals, the Dutch, and by the mid-17th century the Dutch had captured the Malabar Coast spice trade from the Portuguese. In 1766 Hyder Ali of Mysore captured Kozhikode and much of the northern Malabar Coast and came into conflict with the British based in Madras, which resulted in four Anglo-Mysore Wars. Kozhikode and the surrounding districts were among the territories ceded to the British by Tipu Sultan of Mysore at the conclusion of the Third Anglo-Mysore War in 1792. The newly acquired possessions on the Malabar Coast were organized into the Malabar District of Madras Presidency, and Calicut became the district capital.
After Indian Independence in 1947, Madras Presidency became the Madras State. In 1956, the Indian states were reorganized along linguistic lines. Malabar District was combined with the state of Travancore-Cochin to form the new state of Kerala on November 1, 1956. Malabar District was split into the districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, and Palakkad on January 1, 1957.