History of SalemThe district headquarters of Salem district in Tamil Nadu, Salem is presumed to be the birth place of the poetess Awaiyar who has written poems in Tamil which are popular even now. It is highly regarded for its mangoes, steel and also for the Mettur Dam which serves as a conduit for irrigation and drinking. Once upon a time Salem was the biggest district in Tamil Nadu until it was forked to create Dharmapuri district. But later on it again was bifurcated to form the Namakkal district to be pulled back to the fifth slot in terms of area. Salem is surmised to be the fourth city to be urbanized in Tamil Nadu.
The culture of evidences of human civilization from the Stone Age is retrieved from Salem. Stone implements belonging to the Neolithic and Paleolithic eras and heaps of dung ashes have been discovered in and around Salem.
Now the district of Salem comprises of eight taluks:
- Yercaud and
Shalya, Sailam, Sayilam, Cheralam were all found in inscription which were referring to the country besieged by the hills, Kanjanamalai, Nagarmalai, Jeragamalai and Godumalai in the West, North, South and East side respectively beleaguering Salem. An integral region of Kongu Nadu, Salem and the adjoining hills were under the governance of ‘Kurunila Mannargal’ who was the Kongu kings. Inscriptions pertaining to the Ganga dynasty were also unearthed in Salem as it was a part of Western Ganga dynasty during 350-550 CE.
History of the Power Prevailed:Jainism and Buddhism thrived in the 3rd century BC before the emergence of the Christian era about 2000 years ago which was testified by the discovery of silver coins imputed to the Emperor of Rome, Tiberices Claudices Nero in 1987 at Koneripatti part of Salem.
The 2nd century saw the rule of Pandyan Dynasty and the 4th century saw the Pallava dynasty. In the 6th century Saivite principle was flourishing in Salem. Chola dynasty and Hoysala empire incumbency was witnessed in the 10th and 12th century respectively. In the 14th century the tenancy of Salem was shifted to Vijaynagar Empire.
Chalukyas came into power in the 15th century. Antecedents tell that Salem along with Coimbatore was under the rule of Madurai Nayaks in the 16th century who were Telugu speaking. But post Mysore-Madurai feud in the early 18th century, the place came under the reign of Hyder Ali. In 1766, Colonel Wood captured Salem from Hyder Ali only to be taken back by the Mysore ruler in 1772.
In 1799 under the patronage of Lord Clive, East India Company took over Salem and it became a military station until 1861 when the troops were altogether detracted. During this period, the east India Company relinquished their power and the rule of British crown prevailed. It was at this time in 1860 that Salem was made the capital of the district and 1862 saw the erection of Salem jail in the district.
Salem again found itself amidst the conquest as a battle sparked between the Kongu and the British Forces. The Chieftain, Theeran Chinnamalai from Kongu in the Sangakiri fort on the Adi Perukku Day. The fort was then later transformed into the British headquarters.
The second half of the 19th century was immersed in calamities in the form of famines and Cholera epidemic that took a heavy toll. But Salem was resilient enough to regurgitate from all such mishaps to reinvent itself towards the 20th century after the independence of India.