Kerala (Malayalam: കേരളം(Kēraḷaṁ) is a state located in southwestern India. Neighbouring states include Karnataka to the north and Tamil Nadu to the south and east; to the west is the Arabian Sea. Besides the state capital Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) തിരുവനന്തപുരം, the other major cities in Kerala are Kochi (Cochin) കൊച്ചി, Kozhikode (Calicut) കോഴിക്കോട്, Thrissur തൃശൂര് and Kollam കൊല്ലം. The principal spoken language is Malayalam.
A 3rd-century-BC rock inscription by emperor Asoka the Great attests to a Keralaputra. Around 1 BC the region was ruled by the Chera Dynasty, which traded with the Greeks, Romans, and Arabs. In the 1st century AD Jewish immigrants arrived, and it is believed that St. Thomas the Apostle visited Kerala in the same century. Feudal Namboothiri Brahmin and Nair city-states subsequently gained control of the region. Early contact with Europeans gave way to struggles between colonial and native interests. On 1 November 1956 the States Reorganisation Act elevated Kerala to statehood.
The state is known for achievements such as near 100% literacy rate, among the highest in India. A survey conducted in 2005 by Transparency International ranked Kerala as the least corrupt state in the country. Kerala is uniquely dependent on remittances from a large Malayali expatriate community based mainly in Persian Gulf countries.