South Canara

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South Canara
Map of South Canara district in 1956. Self work..png
Coordinates: 13°00′N75°24′E / 13.00°N 75.40°E / 13.00; 75.40 Coordinates: 13°00′N75°24′E / 13.00°N 75.40°E / 13.00; 75.40
EmpireBritish Raj Red Ensign.svg  British Raj
Presidency Madras
  Total8,441 km2 (3,259 sq mi)
 (2001) [1]
  Density356.1/km2 (922/sq mi)
  Administrative English
  Spoken languages Tulu, Konkani, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Urdu,Beary, Arebashe
Time zone UTC+5:30 (IST)
ISO 3166 code ISO 3166-2:IN
Vehicle registration KA-19, KA-20, KA-21, KA-62, KL-14
Largest city Mangalore

South Canara was a district of the Madras Presidency of British India, located at 13°00′N75°24′E / 13.00°N 75.40°E / 13.00; 75.40 . [2] It comprised the towns of Kassergode and Udipi and adjacent villages, with the capital in Mangalore city. South Canara was one of the most heterogeneous areas of Madras Presidency, with Tulu, Malayalam, Kannada, Konkani, Marathi, Urdu& Beary languages being spoken side by side. It was succeeded by the Tulu-speaking areas of Dakshina Kannada district, [3] the Malayalam-speaking area of Kasaragod district [4] and the Amindivi islands sub-division of the Laccadives, [5] in the year 1956. [6] [7] [8]



Mangalore was the administrative headquarters of the district. The district covered an area of 10,410 square kilometres (4,021 sq mi).

South Canara District was bordered by North Canara to north, the princely state of Mysore to east, Coorg state to southeast, Malabar District to south, and Arabian Sea to west. South Canara was one of the two districts on the western coast (Malabar coast) of Madras Presidency along with Malabar District (otherwise known as Malayalam District). [9] [10] [11] [12]


South Canara was annexed by the British East India Company following the defeat of Tipu Sultan in the Fourth Mysore War 1799 and along with North Kanara formed the district of Kanara in the Madras Presidency. In 1859, Kanara was split into two districts, North and South. North Kanara was transferred to the Bombay Presidency, and South was retained by Madras.


Map of South Kanara district in 1861. The taluk of Coondapoor was then in North Kanara but was transferred to South Kanara district when North Kanara was transferred to Bombay Presidency in 1862 SouthCanara1861.jpg
Map of South Kanara district in 1861. The taluk of Coondapoor was then in North Kanara but was transferred to South Kanara district when North Kanara was transferred to Bombay Presidency in 1862

The district was divided into six taluks:


The district was administered by a District Collector. For purpose of convenience, the district was divided into three sub-divisions:

The district had two municipalities, those of Mangalore and Udupi.


South Canara in 1909 South Kanara.jpg
South Canara in 1909
Historical population
1871 918,362    
1881 959,514+4.5%
1891 1,056,081+10.1%
1901 1,134,713+7.4%
1941 1,522,016+34.1%
1951 1,748,991+14.9%
Sources: Imperial Gazetter of India, Volume 14, [13] and 1951 Census Handbook of South Canara [8]

Religion in South Canara (1951) [8]

   Hinduism (76.58%)
   Islam (14.31%)
   Christianity (8.85%)
  Other (0.26%)

Language in South Canara (1951) [8]

   Tulu (39.94%)
   Malayalam (24.19%)
   Kannada (17.20%)
   Konkani (13.59%)
   Other (5.08%)
Temple stambha, South Canara TempleStambha1913.jpg
Temple stambha, South Canara

South Kanara had a total population of 1,748,991 in 1951, of whom 76.58% were Hindus, 14.31% Muslim and 8.85% Christian. [8] The most widely spoken language was Tulu which was the mother tongue of 40 percent of the population, followed by Malayalam which formed the mother tongue of 24 percent of the population. Around 17 percent of the total population spoke Kannada. Around 13 percent of the population speaks Konkani as their mother tongue. In 1901, South Kanara had a density of 109 inhabitants per square kilometre (282/sq mi).

The 1908 Imperial Gazetteer of India lists South Canara, along with the Thanjavur and Ganjam districts, as the three districts of the Madras Presidency where Brahmins are most numerous. [13]

The majority of the people were Billavas and Bunts. There were more Brahmins (12% of the population) in South Kanara than any other district of the Madras Presidency making South Kanara, along with Tanjore and Ganjam as one of the three districts of the province where Brahmins were most numerous. [13]

The original indigenous people of the region are Tuluvas (Bunts, Billavas, Mogaveeras, Tulu gowda, Kulalas, Devadigas, Bearys, Jogis) and Malayalis in the Kasaragod Taluk (Nambudiris, Nairs, Thiyyas, Mappilas etc). The Brahmins who settled first belonged chiefly to the Sthanika and thus they were called as Tulu Brahmins. Others were Shivalli, Saraswat, Havyaka, Kotaha sub-sections, Mahars, the hill-tribes ( Koragas ). [14]

Native Languages of South Canara District (1951) [8]
Language Number of Speakers Percent to total population
1 Tulu 698,53239.94%
2 Malayalam 423,03724.19%
3 Kannada 300,82917.20%
4 Konkani 237,77213.59%
5 Marathi 49,9912.86%
6 Urdu 17,0430.97%
7 Hindustani 13,6720.78%
8 Tamil 2,9330.17%
9 Telugu 2,3820.14%
10 Arabic 1,0630.06%

See also

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Kasaragod</span>

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  14. Silva, Severine; Fuchs, Stephan (1965). "The Marriage Customs of the Christians in South Canara, India". Asian Folklore Studies . Nanzan University. 24 (2): 2–3.

Further reading