CALICUT, a city of British India, in the Malabar district of Madras; on the coast, 6 m.
Calicut is of considerable antiquity; and about the 7th century it had its population largely increased by the immigration of the Moplahs, a fanatical race of Mahommedans from Arabia, who entered enthusiastically into commercial life.
The Portuguese traveller Pero de Covilham visited Calicut in 14,87 and described its possibilities for European trade; and in May 1498 Vasco da Gama, the first European navigator to reach India, arrived at Calicut.
In 1782 the troops of Hyder were driven from Calicut by the British; but in 1788 it was taken and destroyed by his son Tippoo, who carried off the inhabitants to Beypur and treated them with great cruelty.
In the latter part of 1790 the country was occupied by the British; and under the treaty concluded in 1792, whereby Tippoo was deprived of half his dominions, Calicut fell to the British.
As the administrative headquarters of the district, Calicut maintains its historical importance.
North of Calicut), at Cranganore, and at Kulam or Quilon, proceeding thence, apparently, to Ceylon and to the shrine of St Thomas at Maylapur near Madras.
When European adventurers found the way to India, cotton and silk always formed part of the rich cargoes that they brought home, and the early settlers were always careful to fix their abode amid a weaving population, at Surat, Calicut, Masulipatam or Hugli.
The expedition under Vasco da Gama started from Lisbon five years later, and, doubling the Cape of Good Hope, cast anchor off the city of Calicut on the 10th of May 1498, after a prolonged voyage of nearly eleven months.
Ultimately he reached Calicut, and established factories both there and at Cochin, in the face of active hostility from the natives.
He formed an alliance with the rajas of Cochin and Cannanore against the zamorin of Calicut, and bombarded the latter in his palace.
Having failed in an attack upon Calicut, he seized Goa, which from 1530 became the capital of Portuguese India.
The party travelled through central India to Cambay and thence sailed to Calicut, classed by the traveller with the neighbouring Kaulam (Quilon), Alexandria, Sudak in the Crimea, and Zayton (Amoy harbour) in China, as one of the greatest trading havens in the world - an interesting enumeration from one who had seen them all.
On the Asiatic mainland the first trading-stations were established by Cabral at Cochin and Calicut (1501); more important, however, were the conquest of Goa (1510) and Malacca (1511) by Albuquerque, and the acquisition of Diu (1535) by Martini Affonso de Sousa.
In 1498 the Portuguese came first to Calicut, their earliest possession in the presidency being the island of Anjidiv.