Malabar District was an administrative district of Madras Presidency in British India and independent India's Madras State. The British district included the present-day districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Palakkad (excluding the Alathur and Chittur Taluks), and Chavakad Taluk of Thrissur District (former part of Ponnani Taluk) in the northern part of Kerala state. The district lay between the Arabian Sea on the west, South Canara District on the north, the Western Ghats to the east, and the princely state of Cochin to the south. The district covered an area of 15,009 km (5795 square miles), and extended 233 km (145 mi) along the coast and 40–120 kilometers (25–75 miles) inland. The name Mala-bar means the "hill country". Kozhikode is considered as the capital of Malabar.
Most of Malabar District was included among the territories ceded to the British East India Company in 1792 by Tipu Sultan of Mysore at the conclusion of the Third Anglo-Mysore War; Wayanad was ceded in 1799 at the conclusion of the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War. The region was organized into a district of Madras Presidency. The administrative headquarters were at Calicut (Kozhikode). After Indian independence, Madras Presidency was reorganized into Madras state, which was divided along linguistic lines on November 1, 1956, when Malabar District was merged with the Malayalam-speaking Kasaragod District immediately to the north and the state of Travancore-Cochin to the south to form the state of Kerala. Malabar District was divided into the three districts of Kozhikode, Palakkad, and Kannur on January 1, 1957. Malappuram District was created from parts of Kozhikode and Palakkad in 1969, and Wayanad District was created in 1980 from parts of Kozhikode and Kannur.
The name Malabar was not in general use until the arrival of the Europeans. The word is most probably the fusion of the Dravidian Mala (Hill) and Puram (region) derived or westernized into bar. Malabar may so be taken to mean the hill country, a name well suited to its physical characteristics.
The district was widely scattered and consists of the following parts:-
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