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Imperial gazetteer of India .. (Volume 17) online

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when Haidar again passed down the ghats with two armies and com-
pletely subjugated the country, the Hindu chiefs retiring to Travancore
and Tellicherry.


On war breaking out between the English and the French in 1778,
Haidar resented the asylum that had been granted by the former to
refugees in 1769, and began hostilities by investing Tellicherry fort.
The siege was prosecuted in a fitful manner for two years till reinforce-
ments arrived from Bombay, when it was raised by a sortie, the success
of which was so complete as practically to annihilate the besieging
army. Peace intervened between 1784 and 1788, when Tipu Sultan,
son and successor of Haidar, descended the ghats and commenced
a religious persecution of the people. This produced a rebellion ; and,
on the breaking out of the war between him and the British in 1790,
the refugee chiefs were encouraged by proclamation to join the British
cause. The contest terminated in the cession of Malabar (except
the Wynaad) to the Company by the Treaty of Seringapatam in 1792.
vSince that date the District has remained in the peaceable possession
of the British, except for the rebellion of the Kottayath (Pychy) Raja
in the north and various Mappilla chiefs in the south (i 795-1805).
The A\^ynaad fell to the British on the death of Tipu .Sultan in 1799.

Prehistoric menhirs and dolmens, in which have been found bones,
pottery, iron implements, and beads, are scattered all over the District.
Peculiar to Malabar are the topi kal/u ('hat-stones'), kuda kalhi
(' umbrella-stones '), and bee-hive sepulchres cut in the laterite rock.
A large number of Roman coins of the early emperors have been found
in Kottayam, and a few elsewhere. The architecture of the temples,
both Hindu and Muhammadan, perhaps suggests Mongolian influence;
the most striking feature is the reverse slope of the eaves above the
veranda, a peculiarity which is found all down the West Coast but
nowhere else in India south of Nepal. Most of the temples are small ;
the finest are at Guruvayur, Calicut, and Taliparamba.

During the last thirty years the population of the District has
advanced steadily if not rapidly. In 1871 it was 2,261,250; in 1881,
Population. "'365.035; ini89i, 2,652,565; and ini90i, 2,800,555.
Malabar is now the third most populous District in
the Presidency, and, notwithstanding the large areas of hill and forest
included within its limits, is more densely peopled than any other
except the rich delta of Tanjore. The rate of increase is little affected
by outside influences, famine being practically unknown, emigration
small, and immigration a negligible quantity. The District contains ten
taluks^ of which particulars, according to the Census of 1901, are shown
in the table on next page, and also includes the Laccadive Islands.

Each taluk is divided into amsams (parishes) instead of villages, and
these are again subdivided into desams. The custom by which each
family lives in its own separate homestead is inimical to the growth
of towms, and there are only seven in all Malabar : namely, Calicut,
Tellicherrv, Palghat, C.\nnanore, Cochin, Badagara, and Pon-



NAM. Of every loo of the people 68 are Hindus, 30 (a far larger
proportion than in any other Distriet) Musalmans, and 2 Christians.
Malayalam, a language which is confined to the Malabar coast, is the
prevailing vernacular, though 4 per cent.