|The Tamil people, also known as Tamilians, Tamilar, Thamizhar (Tamil: தமிழர், tamiẓhar (singular) ? [t̪ɐmɪɻɐɾ], or Tamil: தமிழர்கள், tamiẓarkaḷ (plural) ? [t̪ɐmɪɻɐɾxɐɭ]), or simply Tamils (), are an ethnic group who speak the Tamil language as their mother tongue and trace their ancestry to Southern India and north-eastern Sri Lanka. Tamils, with a population of around 76 million and with a documented history stretching back over 2,000 years, are one of the largest and oldest extant ethnolinguistic groups in the modern world. Tamils constitute 5.9% of the population in India (concentrated in south India with 67%), 15% in Sri Lanka, 6% in Mauritius, 7% in Malaysia and 5% in Singapore.
In 2019, carbon dating of samples from the Adichanallur archaeological site, in a village on the banks of the Thamirabarani River in Thoothukudi district of southern Tamil Nadu showed that the Tamil civilization dates back to at least 900 BC. From the 4th century onwards, urbanisation and mercantile activity along the western and eastern coasts of what is today Kerala and Tamil Nadu led to the development of four large Tamil political states, the Cheras, Cholas, Pandyas and Pallavas and a number of smaller states, all of whom were warring amongst themselves for dominance. The Jaffna Kingdom, inhabited by Sri Lankan Tamils, was once one of the strongest kingdoms of Sri Lanka, and controlled much of the north of the island.
Selected article -
The region of Tamil Nadu
in modern India
has been under continuous human habitation since prehistoric times, and the history of Tamil Nadu
and the civilization of the Tamil people
are among the oldest in the world. Throughout its history, spanning the early Paleolithic
age to modern times, this region has coexisted with various external cultures. Except for relatively short periods in its history, the Tamil region has remained independent of external occupation. The four ancient Tamil empires of Chera
were of ancient origins. Together they ruled over this land with a unique culture and language, contributing to the growth of some of the oldest extant literature
in the world. They had extensive maritime trade contacts with the Roman
empire. These three dynasties were in constant struggle with each other vying for hegemony over the land. Invasion by the Kalabhras
during the third century disturbed the traditional order of the land by displacing the three ruling kingdoms. These occupiers were overthrown by the resurgence of the Pandyas and the Pallavas
, who restored the traditional kingdoms. The Cholas, who re-emerged from obscurity in the ninth century by defeating the Pallavas and the Pandyas, rose to become a great power and extended their empire over the entire southern peninsula. At its height the Chola empire spanned almost 3,600,000 km² (1,389,968 sq mi) straddling the Bay of Bengal
. The Chola navy
held sway over the Sri Vijaya
kingdom in Southeast Asia
Rapid changes in the political situation of the rest of India due to incursions of Muslim armies from the northwest marked a turning point in the history of Tamil Nadu. With the decline of the three ancient dynasties during the fourteenth century, the Tamil country became part of the Vijayanagara Empire. Under this empire the Telugu speaking Nayak governors ruled the Tamil land. The brief appearance of the Marathas gave way to the European trading companies, who began to appear during the seventeenth century and eventually assumed greater sway over the indigenous rulers of the land. The Madras Presidency, comprising most of southern India, was created in the eighteenth century and was ruled directly by the British East India Company. After the independence of India, the state of Tamil Nadu was created based on linguistic boundaries.The region of Tamil Nadu in modern India has been under continuous human habitation since prehistoric times, and the history of Tamil Nadu and the civilization of the Tamil people are among the oldest in the world. Throughout its history, spanning the early Paleolithic age to modern times, this region has coexisted with various external cultures. Except for relatively short periods in its history, the Tamil region has remained independent of external occupation.
Selected biography -
Srīnivāsa Aiyangār Rāmānujan better known as Srinivasa Iyengar Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician and self taught genius who, with almost no formal training in pure mathematics, made substantial contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series and continued fractions. Born and raised in Erode, Tamil Nadu, India, Ramanujan first encountered formal mathematics at age 10. He demonstrated a natural ability, and was given books on advanced trigonometry written by S L Loney. He had mastered them by age 12, and even discovered theorems of his own. He demonstrated unusual mathematical skills at school, winning accolades and awards. By 17, Ramanujan conducted his own mathematical research on Bernoulli numbers and the Euler–Mascheroni constant. He received a scholarship to study at Government College in Kumbakonam, but lost it when he failed his non-mathematical coursework. He joined another college to pursue independent mathematical research, working as a clerk in the Accountant-General's office at the Madras Port Trust Office to support himself. In 1912–1913, he sent samples of his theorems to three academics at the University of Cambridge. Only G. H. Hardy recognized the brilliance of his work, subsequently inviting Ramanujan to visit and work with him at Cambridge. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, dying of illness, malnutrition and possibly liver infection in 1920 at the age of 32.
During his short lifetime, Ramanujan independently compiled nearly 3900 results (mostly identities and equations). Although a small number of these results were actually false and some were already known, most of his claims have now been proven correct. He stated results that were both original and highly unconventional, such as the Ramanujan prime and the Ramanujan theta function, and these have inspired a vast amount of further research. However, some of his major discoveries have been rather slow to enter the mathematical mainstream. Recently, Ramanujan's formulae have found applications in crystallography and string theory. The Ramanujan Journal, an international publication, was launched to publish work in all areas of mathematics influenced by his work.
In the news
Meenakshi Amman temple, dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi, tutelary deity of Madurai city
Tiruvannamalai city and Annamalaiyar temple, Tamil architecture and culture influenced much of Southeast Asia between the 8th to 13th century CE.
Tamil woman in traditional attire, c. 1880
Katar, Tamil dagger which was popular throughout South Asia
Grey pottery with engravings, Arikamedu, 1st century CE
Aiyanar (Tamil: ஐயனார், சாஸ்தா), guardian folk deity of Tamil Nadu
Sage Agathiyar, one of the contributors of old Tamil literature
Megalithic burial urns or jar found in Pomparippu, North Western, Sri Lanka dated to at least five to two centuries before the Common Era. These are similar to Megalithic burial jars found in South India and the Deccan during a similar time frame.
Distribution of Tamil speakers in South India and Sri Lanka (1961)
Batu Caves temple built by Tamil Malaysians in c. 1880s
The Om symbol in Tamil script
Virampatnam jewelry from funerary burial, 2nd century BCE, Tamil Nadu
Map of ancient oceanic trade, and ports of Tamilakam
Erwadi durgah in Ramanathapuram district is the major pilgrimage shrine of the Tamil Muslims.
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