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Kerala Renaissance: The Role of Missionaries

  • The first printing in Malayalam was done at Goa by a Spanish missionary Jovanas Gonsalvez.
  • The Portuguese had started printing presses at Vaipin and at Cochin.
  • The Hortus Malabaricus was prepared by the Dutch with the help of the traditional medical practitioners of Kerala.
  • The name of each plant was given in Latin, Arabic,Sanskrit and in the Malayalam script also.
  • This was published from Amsterdam during the period between 1678 and 1703 in twelve volumes.
  • Apart from Leelathilakam, the first grammar work in Malayalam language was prepared by Dr. Anjelos Francis.
  • The first complete printed book in the Malayalam language is the Samkshepavedartham. It was written by Father Clement explaining the doctrines of Christianity.
  • Father Kariyattil Ousep wrote Malayalam book Vedatharkkam in 1768 to find a solution to the internal differences in the church. This book introduced the European style of prose writing.
  • Varthamanapusthakam is the first travelogue in Malayalam written by Paramekal Thoma Kathanar published in 1780.
  • Dr.Herman Gundert and Benjamin Baiely had shown so much of interest in the printing and publishing of Malayalam books during the 19th century.
  • Bailey started the CMS press in 1821 and he published an English-Malayalam dictionary in 1846.
  • The most famous and important English-Malayalam dictionary was written and published by in 1872
  • The first newspaper in Malayalam, Rajyasamacharam and Paschimodayam were published form Thalasseri by Gundert.
  •  The Basel Mission started educational activities in Malabar from 1848 onwards.
  • The Victoria College at Palakkad in 1866  and the Zamorin’s college at Kozhikkode in 1877 began as schools
  • Ringle Tab was a Spanish missionary who gave admission to both boys and girls irrespective of their casts.
  • The first girls school was started at Kottayam in 1821 by the women of CMS.
  •  English Missionary School at Mattancheri 1818 was started by Basel Evangelical Mission.
  • The first Western education school of Malabar was started at Kannur in 1841.  
  • The Basel Mission started a primary school at Kallai and  Thalassery
  • The Basel Mission started the Brennan School at Thalassery in 1862.
  • This school was later takin over by the government and it was developed in to the present Brennan College of Thalasseri.

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