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Kerala is a state in the Indian Union located at the southern part of the Indian peninsula. It is bordered on the north by Karnataka, south and east by Tamil Nadu, and west by the Arabian sea. Thiruvananthapuram, the capital, Kochi and Kozhikode are the major Cities. The principal spoken language is Malayalam though other languages are also spoken. Kerala is one of the most densely populated states in India and ranks 12th among states in terms of population.
Kerala is mentioned in the ancient epic Mahabharata (800 BC) at several instances as a tribe, as a region and as a kingdom. The first written mention of Kerala is seen in a 3rd-century-BC rock inscription by emperor Asoka the Great, where it is mentioned as Keralaputra. This region formed part of ancient Tamilakam and was ruled by the Cheras. They had extensive trade relations 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. The Chera Kingdom and later the feudal Nair and Namboothiri Brahmin city-states became major powers in the region. Early contact with Europeans later gave way to struggles between colonial and native interests. The States Reorganisation Act of 1 November 1956 elevated Kerala to statehood.
Social and educational reforms enacted in the late 19th century by Cochin and Travancore were expanded upon by post-independence governments, making Kerala one of the most literate, healthiest, and gender-equitable regions in India. Kerala has one of the most advanced educational systems in India. Unlike the other Indian states, Kerala's basic human development indices are roughly equivalent to those in the developed world, and the state is substantially more environmentally sustainable than Europe and North America. A survey conducted in 2005 by Transparency International ranked Kerala as the least corrupt state in the country. Nevertheless, Kerala's suicide, alcoholism, and unemployment rates rank among India's highest.

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