Kerala (/ˈkeɪrələ/), also known as Keralam (/ˈkeɪrələm/) is a state located in the south-west region of India on the Malabar coast. It was formed on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam-speaking regions. Spread over 38,863 km2 (15,005 sq mi) with a population of 3.33 crore (33.3 million), it is bordered by Karnataka to the north and north-east, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Arabian Sea to the west. Thiruvananthapuram is the state capital among the 14 districts; other major cities include Kochi and Kozhikode.
The region had been a prominent spice exporter from 3000 BCE to 3rd century. The Chera Dynasty was the first powerful kingdom based in Kerala, though it frequently struggled against attacks by the neighbouring Cholas and Pandyas. During the Chera period Kerala remained an international spice trading center. Later, in the 15th century, the lucrative spice trade attracted Portuguese traders to Kerala, and eventually paved the way for the European colonisation of the whole of India. After independence, Travancore and Cochin joined the Republic of India and Travancore-Cochin was given the status of a state. Later, the state was formed in 1956 by merging the Malabar district, Travancore-Cochin (excluding four southern taluks), and the taluk of Kasargod, South Kanara.
At a population of 33,388,000 in 2011, the state has the lowest population growth rate; 3.44% and a density of 819 persons per km2. Kerala has the highest Human Development Index (HDI) in the country with 0.790 according to the Human Development Report 2011. It also has the highest literacy rate; 93.91%, the highest life expectancy; 74 years and the lowest sex ratio; 923 men per 1000 women among the Indian states. A survey in 2005 by Transparency International ranked it as the least corrupt state in the country. Kerala has witnessed significant emigration of its people, especially to the Persian Gulf countries during the Kerala Gulf boom, and its economy depends significantly on remittances from a large Malayali expatriate community. Hinduism is practised by the over half of the population, followed by Islam and Christianity, while majority of over 96% people speak Malayalam. It is considered as the "cleanest state in India", however, the morbidity rate is highest in the state at 118. Culture of the state which traces its roots from 3rd century CE is a synthesis of Aryan and Dravidian cultures, developed and mixed for centuries, under influences from other parts of India and abroad.
Production of pepper and natural rubber constitute prominent output in the total national output, as well as in the agricultural sector, coconut, tea, coffee, cashew, spices are important. As the state has 590 km of coastal belt, around 1.1 million people of the state are dependent on the fishery industry which contribute to 3% income of the state. With 145,704 kilometres (90,536 mi) of roads, the state constitutes 4.2% of total India's roadways. Waterways are also used as means of transportation while there are also three existing and two proposed international airports. The state has the highest media exposure in India with newspapers publishing in nine different languages; mainly English and Malayalam. Kerala is an tourist destination: the backwaters, beaches, Ayurvedic tourism, and tropical greenery are among its major attractions. National Geographic's Traveler magazine named Kerala as one of the "ten paradises of the world" and "50 must-see destinations of a lifetime"; Travel + Leisure listed it as "one of the 100 great trips for the 21st century".