The State of Travancore

The principles were put into practice in the southern Kerala state of Venad (Travancore) by Martanda Varma (ruled 1729-58). The king initiated a few measures to strengthen his authority.

These were:

  1. he built a substantial standing army of about 50,000
  2. reduced the power of the Nayar aristocracy on which rulers of the area had earlier been dependent militarily
  3. fortified the northern limits of his kingdom at the so-called "Travancore line."

It was also the policy of this ruler to extend patronage to the Syrian Christians, a large trading community within his domains, as a means of limiting European involvement in trade. The key commodity was pepper, but other goods also came to be defined as royal monopoly items, requiringlicense for trade.

These policies were continued in large measure by Martanda’s successor, Rama Varma (ruled 1758-98), who was able to defend his kingdom successfully against a dangerous new rival power - Mysore.