English expedition visited Kozhikode in 1615, but not until 1664
did the British East India Company found a trading post there.
The French followed in 1698 and the Danes in 1752. Hyder
Ali, the 18th-century Indian ruler and military commander of
Mysore (now Karnataka), captured the town in 1765 and destroyed
it. In 1790 the British occupied Kozhikode, and it passed into
their hands by treaty in 1792, when the inhabitants returned and
rebuilt the city.
port is virtually closed during the monsoon season, and ships
must lie 3 miles (5 km) offshore at other seasons. Besides
coconut products, the city exports pepper, ginger, coffee, tea,
and other crops. Its industries include sawmills and
tile-making, coffee-curing, and hosiery works. Kozhikode is the
seat of Calicut University (1968), which includes colleges of
arts and sciences, medical and teacher-training colleges, and a
marine-research institute. Pop. (1991 prelim.) city, 419,531;
metropolitan area, 800,913.
fabric woven in plain,
or tabby, weave and printed with simple designs in one or more
colours. Calico originated in Calicut, India, by the 11th
century, if not earlier, and in the 17th and 18th centuries
calicoes were an important commodity traded between India and
the 12th century, Hemacandra,
an Indian writer, mentions chhimpa, or calico prints,
decorated with chhapanti, or a printed lotus design.
earliest fragments to survive (15th century) have been found not
in India but at
Fustat, in the neighbourhood of Cairo. The
examples, resist-dyed (in which parts of the fabric to be left
undyed are covered with a substance that resists the dye) and
block-printed, are of Gujarati
manufacture. In the Mughal period the chief centres of calico
printing were in Gujarat, Rajasthan, and in Burhanpur, in the
Khandesh region of Madhya Pradesh. Ahmadabad,
another centre, specialized in cheaper printed cottons.
the export trade, patterns pleasing to foreign taste were used,
but for home consumption simpler designs, consisting of small
flowers and pinecone, diaper (allover), and geometrical
patterns, were most popular. Gold tinseling was sometimes used
to enhance the sumptuousness of the material. Printed calicoes
were generally used for hangings and bedcovers, as well as for
dresses in England, but in India the material was generally used
only for garments. Saris, the most common article of the Indian
woman's dress, were almost always printed.
calico weaving, one set of warp threads is woven one-over and
one-under with one set of weft threads. Calico fabrics are
woven in the gray state--i.e., in the natural colour of
the raw cotton staple.
considerable amount of calico is bleached, dyed, and printed for
every conceivable household use and for articles
of clothing. Generally, calicoes are in two colours, one for the
and the other for the figure or design. The ground colour is
in some solid colour and the design printed on the cloth later
by means of a revolving cylinder on which the design has been
stamped or cut out. Calico fabrics include an infinite variety
of textures and qualities according to the different uses for
which they are intended, ranging from fairly fine and sheer to
those of coarser and stronger textures.
Da Gama sailed from Lisbon on July 8, 1497, with a fleet of
four vessels--two medium-sized three-masted sailing ships, each
of about 120 tons, named the "São Gabriel" and the
"São Rafael"; a 50-ton caravel, named the "Berrio";
and a 200-ton storeship.
They were accompanied to the Cape Verde
Islands by another ship commanded by Bartolomeu Dias, the Portuguese navigator who had discovered the Cape
of Good Hope a few years earlier and who was en route to the
West African castle of São Jorge da Mina on the Gold Coast (now
Ghana). With da Gama's fleet went three interpreters--two Arabic
speakers and one who spoke several Bantu dialects. The fleet
also carried padrões (stone pillars) to set up as marks
of discovery and overlordship.
Passing the Canary Islands on July 15, the fleet reached the
São Tiago in the Cape Verde Islands on the 26th, remaining
there until August 3. Then, to avoid the currents of the Gulf of
Guinea, da Gama took a circular course through the South
Atlantic to the Cape of Good Hope, reaching Santa Helena Bay (in
modern South Africa) on November 7.
The expedition departed on
November 16, but unfavourable winds delayed their rounding of
the Cape of Good Hope until November 22. Three days later da
Gama anchored in Mossel Bay, erected a padrão on an
island, and ordered the storeship to be broken up. Sailing again
on December 8, the fleet reached the coast of Natal on Christmas
Day. On Jan. 11, 1498, it anchored for five days near the mouth
of a small river between Natal and Mozambique, which they called
the Rio do Cobre (Copper River).
On January 25, in what is now
Mozambique, they reached the Quelimane River, which they called
the Rio dos Bons Sinais (the River of Good Omens), and erected
another padrão. By this time many of the crews were sick
with scurvy; the expedition rested a month while the ships were
On March 2 the fleet reached the island of
the inhabitants of which believed the Portuguese to be Muslims
like themselves. Da Gama learned that they traded with Arab
merchants and that four Arab vessels laden with gold, jewels,
silver, and spices were then in port; he was also told that
Prester John, the long-sought Christian ruler, lived in the
interior but held many coastal cities. The Sultan of Mozambique
supplied da Gama with two pilots, one of whom deserted when he
discovered that the Portuguese were Christians.
The expedition reached Mombasa (now in Kenya) on April 7 and
dropped anchor at Malindi (also now in Kenya) on April 14, where
a pilot who knew the route to Calicut, on the southwest coast of
was taken aboard. After a 23-day run across the Indian Ocean,
the Ghats Mountains of India were sighted, and Calicut
was reached on May 20. There da Gama erected a padrão to
prove he had reached India. Welcomed by the Zamorin,