The term "Thrissur" is the abbreviated form of the word "Thrissivaperur" which means the town of the 'Sacred Siva'. The town is built on an elevated ground, at the apex of which is the famous 'Vadakkumnatha Temple'. A place of great antiquity, Thrissur was also known as 'Vrishabhadripuram' and 'Ten Kailasam' in ancient days.
From ancient times, Thrissur district played a significant part in the political history of South India. The early political history of the district is interlinked with that of the Cheras of the Sangam age, who ruled over vast portions of Kerala with their capital at Vanchi. The whole of the present Thrissur district was included in the early Chera Empire.
The history of Thrissur district from the 9th to the 12th centuries has been the history of Kulasekharas of Mahodayapuram and the history since 12th century has been the history of the rise and growth of Perumpadappu Swarupam. In the course of its long and chequered history, the Perumpadappu Swarupam had its capital at different places.
We learn from the literary works of the period that the Perumpadappu Swarupam had its headquarters at Mahodayapuram and that a number of Naduvazhies (chieftains) on southern and central Kerala recognised the supremacy of the Perumpadappu Moopil. The Perumpadappu Moopil is even referred to as the 'Kerala Chakravarthi' in the 'Sivavilasam' and some other works.This period is also known as Pudu Vaipu Era.
The 14th and 15th centuries constituted a period of aggressive wars in the course of which the Samorins of Kozhikode acquired a large part of the present Thrissur district and subsequently dominated by Portugese. As the Kerala Chiefs were conscious of the impending doom of the Portugese, they looked upon the Dutch as the rising power and extended a hearty welcome to them.
Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan figured very prominently during the period.
In 1790 Raja Raja Varma (1790- 1805), popularly known as Sakthan Thampuran ascended the throne of Kochi. With the ascendance of this ruler, the modern period in the history of Kochi and of the district began. Sakthan Thampuran was the most powerful Maharaja as the very name indicates. He is the architect of Thrissur town.
Sakthan Thampuran ascended the throne just before the conclusion of a treaty with the English East India Company. According to that treaty, Kochi threw off all allegiance to Tippu and became a tributary to the Company.
Even as early as 1919, a Committee of the Indian National Congress was functioning in Thrissur. In the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1921, several persons in Thrissur town and other places in the district took active part and courted arrest.
The famous Guruvayur Satyagraha is a memorable episode in the history of the national movement.
The Government of Kochi under the guidance of Sri. R.K. Shanmughom Chetti followed a policy of conciliation. In August 1938 Kochi announced a scheme for reforming the State legislature and introducing a system as per the Government of India Act of 1919 in the British Indian provinces. With the help of a few independents Ambat Sivarama Menon who was the leader of the Kochi Congress Party took up office as Minister under the scheme in June 1938. On his death in August 1938 Dr. A.R. Menon was appointed as Minister. When the State Legislature passed a vote of no-confidence against him, Dr. Menon resigned onFebruary25, 1942 and was succeeded by Sri. T.K. Nair. Sri. Nair was in office till July 11, 1945.
The introduction of dyarchy did not satisfy the political aspirations of the people of Kochi. The idea of full Responsible Government on the basis of adult franchise had caught their imagination. On January 26,1941 a new political organisation called the Kochi State Praja Mandal took shape on the initiative of a few young politicians under the leadership of V.R. Krishnan Ezhuthachan. In co operation with other parties in the State Legislative the Kochi State Praja Mandal decided to accept the offer. Consequently the first popular Cabinet of Kochi consisting of Panampilli Govinda Menon, C.R. lyyunni, K. Ayyappan and T.K. Nair assumed office.
The wave of nationalism and political consciousness swept through the country