Arakkals was the only Muslim Royal family in kerala
, during the 16-18th century. They ruled the erstwhile tiny Muslim principality comprising Kannur
and the Lakshadweep
Islands. Arakkal Kettu, a popular tourist destination, was the seat of the Arakkals.
Arakkals' origin can be traced to Muhammed Ali - the nephew of Cheraman Perumal. According to a source, Arakkal family formed as a result of a matrimonial alliance between a princess of the powerful Kolathiri dynasty and a Muslim youth. Another belief is that Arakkal family was founded by Arayankulangara Nair - one of the ministers in the court of Kolathiri.
Arakkals followed the matrilineal system and the elder most of the family, whether male or female, was the head and ruler. The male rulers were known as 'Ali Rajah' and female as 'Arakkal Beevis'.
Arakkals believed to have played a key role in shaping the political and commercial status of Kannur, which is evident from their trade relations with the Arabian countries. They had amicable relationships with the Dutch and the Sultans of Mysore such as Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.
The Arakkal rule was domineering in Lakshadweep. In 1783, the control of Amini Islands in Lakshadweep was handed over to Tipu Sultan. Arakkals declined when the Beebi (queen) of Arakkal surrendered to the British in 1790, after a protracted resistance in alliance with Tipu Sultan.