Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tamil Imperialism??? (9th-13th Centuries)

The Chola Empire at its Peak

The Chola Empire rose to power in the 9th century in the Tamil speaking districts of Southern India. Although the Chola Dynasty existed since at least 100 B.C., it was during the 9th Century that it began its rise into a major world power. Under Rajaraja Chola (Rajaraja The Great) and his son Rajendra Chola, the Cholas rose as a notable military, economic and cultural power in Asia.

The Chola Empire stretched from southern Maldives as far north as the Himalaya Mountains and West Bengal in North India. Rajaraja Chola conquered peninsular South India, and annexed parts of Sri Lanka by defeating the Pandyas. Rajendra Chola went beyond,occupying coastal Burma, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands,Lakshadweep, Sumatra, Java, Malaya in South East Asia and Pegu islands with his fleet of ships. He defeated Mahipala, the king of Bihar and Bengal, and to commemorate his victory he built a new capital called Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Tamil Chola armies exacted tribute from Thailand and Cambodia. The power of the Cholas declined
around the 13th century. The Cholas were the first Indian empire to engage in naval conquest overseas.

The Empire


~10,000 Velaikarrar royal guards
~200,000 Professional infantry and cavalry troops (30 regiments)
~60,000 war elephants
~50,000 horses
~500,000 reserve infantry (fully mobilized strength of conscripts)


~100,000 naval infantry/marines
~1,000 ships/boats


1) Colandia - The largest sailing ships, they had large cargo holds and could hold hundreds of soldiers. Used extensively in campaigns throughout the Indian Ocean, and they even sailed as far as Western Europe going back to ancient times.

2) Sangara - Medium sized fighting ships, they typically had many steel/iron shields attached to the sides for protection. They had supports for Ballistas for fighting with other ships, and had
catamaran supports for stability at high speeds. Incidentally "Catamaran" is the English pronunciation of the original Tamil name "katta maram" ("short trees", which were used
for ship building).

Visit http://www.geocities.com/rajiv20/jweb/chola.html for

Image of Areas under direct control of the Chola Empire, 1030 AD

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