Calicut is of considerable antiquity; and about the 7th century it had its population largely increased by the immigration of the Moplahs, a fanatical race of Mahommedans from Arabia, who entered enthusiastically into commercial life.
Vasco da Gama tried to establish a factory, but he met with persistent hostility from the local chief (zamorin), and a similar attempt made by Cabral two years later ended in the destruction of the factory by the Moplahs.
A detachment of European troops is generally stationed here to overawe the fanatical Moplahs.
The Moplahs, who number upwards of a million, are believed to be descended from Arab immigrants, who landed on the western coast of India in the 3rd century after the Hegira.
But the two peculiar races of the south are the Moplahs and the Labbays, both of which are seated along the coast and follow a seafaring life.