Located in South India on the Malabar coast, Kerala is the 13th largest state in India by population, with 33 million inhabitants. Malayalam is the most widely spoken and the official language of the state.
The region has always been a prominent spice exporter. In the 15th century, the spice trade attracted Portuguese traders and paved the way for the European colonisation of India. Nowadays, the production of pepper, natural rubber, coconut and tea are key to the economy. Furthermore, 1.1 million people rely on the fishery industry.
Hinduism is practiced by more than half of the population, followed by Islam and Christianity. The culture is a synthesis of Aryan and Dravidian cultures, developed over millennia, under influences from other parts of India and abroad.