Kozhikode formerly known as Calicut, is a city in the state of Kerala in southern India on the Malabar Coast. Kozhikode is the third largest city in Kerala and is part of the second largest urban agglomeration in Kerala with a metropolitan population of 2,030,519 as per 2011 census. It is the headquarters of the Kozhikode district.During classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Calicut was dubbed the "City of Spices" for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. It was the capital of an independent kingdom ruled by the Samoothiris (Zamorins) in Middle Ages and later of the erstwhile Malabar district under British rule. Muslim Arab merchants traded with the region as early as 7th century, and Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed at Calicut on 20 May 1498. A Portuguese factory and fort was intact in Calicut for short period (1511–1525, until the Fall of Calicut), the English landed in 1615 (constructed a trading post in 1665), followed by the French (1698) and the Dutch (1752). In 1765, Mysore captured Calicut as part of its occupation of Malabar Coast. Recently[when?] Calicut was given the tag of "City of Sculptures" (Shilpa Nagaram) because of the various architectural sculptures located in various parts of the city. Calicut, once a famous cotton-weaving center, gave name to the Calico cloth.
Kozhikode is a town with a long recorded history. From time immemorial, the city has attracted travelers with its prosperity. It has traded in spices like black pepper and cardamom with Jews, Arabs, Phoenicians, and Chinese for more than 500 years. As Kozhikode offered full freedom and security, the Arab and the Chinese merchants preferred it to all other ports. Kozhikode was the capital of Malabar during the time of Zamorins (in Malayalam Samoothiri), who ruled the region before the British took over. The city's first recorded contact with Europe was when Vasco da Gama landed at Kappad (18 km north) in May 1498, as the leaders of a trade mission from Portugal. He was received by the Zamorin himself.
Earlier, the state of Travancore consisted of two revenue divisions viz., the southern and northern divisions, under the administrative control of a 'Diwan Peshkar' for each. Later, in 1868, Kottayam was also formed as a revenue division in Travancore. A fifth division, Devikulam existed for a short period but was then added to Kottayam. At the time of the integration of the State of Travancore and Cochin in 1949, these revenue divisions were renamed as districts and the Diwan Peshkars gave way to District Collectors. Thus, in July 1949, Kottayam came into being as a district. Later, it became a part of the state of Kerala, and the headquarters of the district bearing the same name when the state was formed in 1957.
Vasco da Gama arrived at Calicut on 20 May 1498 and obtained permission to carry out trade. He landed at a place known as Kappad, near Thiruvangoor. The Arabs sensing the threat posed by Portuguese to their commercial supremacy opposed the Europeans. Bitter fights started between Portuguese and Arabs. The Portuguese went to Cochin for trade and the Raja of Cochin had an alliance with the Portuguese with aim of attaining sovereignty from Zamorin. The hostilities between the Zamorin and the Portuguese continued for many decades and the role played by the Kunjali Marakkar in these battles can not been forgotten. Kunjali Marakkars were the hereditary admirals of the zamorin and organized a powerful navy to fight the Portuguese.Kunhali II, was one of the greatest of Zamorin's Admirals.
Kunjali III built a fort at Kottakkal and enjoyed all the privileges enjoyed by the Nair chiefs. His actions against the Portuguese fleets caused heavy damages to Portuguese shipping and trade from Calicut. The Portuguese built a fort at Chaliyam at the mouth of the Baypore River in the middle of the Zamorin's territory. Due to the prolonged struggle, Zamorin's military strength deteriorated and he entered into a treaty with them in 1540, which allowed the Portuguese to have monopoly over trade at Calicut port. The peace was temporary and war broke out again resulting in the demolition of Chaliyom Fort in 1571 by the Zamorin forces. The battles between the Portuguese and the Zamorin continued till 1588 when the Portuguese were allowed to settle down at Calicut. However Kunjali opposed the move.
At around this time, Kunjali IV declared himself as the 'King of the Moors' and moved away from the Zamorin. The Zamorins now took the help of the Portuguese to destroy the powerful Kunjalis. In 1600, kunjali surrendered and was executed. In the meanwhile, the Dutch, English and the French arrived in Kerala. Zamorins allowed the Dutch to trade in Calicut and sought their help to drive out the Portuguese. The position of Portuguese weakened gradually due to international events and their position in Kerala deteriorated. the Dutch captured Cochin and Cannanore and established trade. However, by 1721, the Dutch formally withdrew from all interference in native wars.
The Kozhikode Beach is situated near the town of Kozhikode and is known for its old world charm and natural beauty. The beach has two crumbling piers that stand toward the middle of the sea and each of them are them are more than hundred years old. The beach also houses a lighthouse, Marine Water Aquarium and Lions Park. The beach is a perfect setting for tourists wanting to enjoy the sunrise or sunset. The coastal area is about 1.2 m above sea level, whereas the eastern part of the city is at about 15 m above sea level. The city has a long seashore of 15 kilometres (9.3 mi). Small hills dot the city terrain in the eastern and central portions. In the city nearly 5500 Hectares of land is used for cultivation and nearly 321 Hectares are waterlogged area.