The State of Kerala was formed in 1956 from the former states of Travancore, Malabar and Cochin, to be the homeland of the
Malayalam language. The name 'Kerala' means 'land of coconuts', which are found in abundance in the State. The tropical climate of Kerala favours tropical crops such as rubber. The
Malabar Coast has been famous for spices since antiquity.
Kerala boasts India's highest rate of literacy and longest life expectancy. It also is the most diverse State, in terms of religion. For every ten people, approximately six are Hindu, two are Muslim and two are Christian. The capital is Thiruvananthapuram at the southern end of the state. The other major cities are Kochi (formerly Cochin) and Kozhikode (formerly Calicut).