The history of the Tamils presents an exciting pageant of a powerful
civilization whose origin dates back to ancient times. Tamils belong to the
Dravidian race and were the first major occupants of the country and settled in
the north-western part of India long before the coming of the Indo-Aryans.
Excavations have revealed that the features of the people of the Indus Valley
Civilization bore a strong resemblance to this race. Later with the advent of
the Aryans, the Dravidians were pushed back into the deep south where they
The Sangam literature is the basis of Tamil History, culture and organisations from the 3rd century AD. The Cholas , the Pallavas, the Pandyas and the Cheras had their influence on Tamil Nadu and established their kingdoms. The Pallavas established their reign at Kanchipuram in about the 4th century Ad. They held power over the land of the Tamils from 6th and 9th centuries. At the end of the 9th century the Cholas established themselves they extended their empire and established contacts in South East Asia.
In the 13 the century the Pandyas dominated. The establishment of the Vijayanagar empire brought the downfall of the Pandyas. This empire ruled till the 16th century preserving and promoting Hindu culture. The Muslim powers influenced this region politically. The Marathas also influenced Madurai and Thanjavur till the advent of the English who wrested power from the French. During the 17th and the 18th centuries, conflicts between the trading companies of Europe arose for control of the major parts in the east. The British managed to control this region in the 19th century. This region was under the domain of the East India Company and continued till independence after which the state of Tamil Nadu was formed. The region under the jurisdiction of the Madras Presidency formed into a single unit and named Tamil Nadu in 1969.