The modern history of Kerala incorporates the prelude to India's independence, the path to Communism and the development of the modern state of Kerala in India. The state of Kerala was constituted by three political units; the kingdom of Travancore, which was formed in the eighteenth century, the princely state of Cochin, which is linked with the middle ages and the district of Malabar, which served as the former Kingdom of the Zamorin of Kolikod (Calicut). Among the modern line of traders - the Dutch, French, Portuguese and the English - it was the English traders which presided over the fate of Kerala from the year 1791, and it continued till the end of the rule of the British in India in the year 1947. In the first eighty years of the rule of the British, things changed very little. The matrilineal joint family structure and the orthodox caste system went on in the three units which were to become the state of Kerala. Towards the last parts of the eighteenth century, coffee and tea plantations developed. There was an industrial revolution which began in the 1850s. Modern education system was founded. The inflow of missionaries bestowed western education in the state. Several democratic institutions were founded in the year 1888.
The last decades of the 19th century saw the emergence of nationalism in India. The Indian National Congress was established in 1885 and it soon became the spearhead of the Indian Nationalist Movement. These developments did not go unnoticed in Kerala. A conference was held at Kozhikode in 1904 under the auspices of the Congress and in 1908, a district congress committee was formed in Malabar. Beyond this, there was no political activity worth the name in Malabar. Several political activities escalated in the 1920s when the Indian National Congress led to the national independence movement. The period marked the gathering of momentum of the communist movement especially in Malabar. In the wake of the Civil Disobedience Movement, a parallel movement for responsible Government had begun in Travancore and Kochi. The second phase of civil disobedience movement, started by Mahatma Gandhi with his famous Salt March in March 1930, found enthusiastic response from all parts of Kerala. In several places, particularly at Payyannur and Kozhikode, salt laws were broken and hundreds of agitators courted arrest.
The end of the Quit India Movement saw Malabar returning to elections and a constitutional government. Administratively Malabar was a district of Madras Province at the time of independence. The movement for a united Kerala gathered momentum with the attainment of independence. The first concrete step in this direction was taken on 1st of July, 1949. Following the national policy of integration, the state of Kochi and Travancore were merged into Travancore-Kochi State under a Rajpramukh. The next step came with the reorganisation of States on a linguistic basis in the light of the report of the States Reorganization Commission. Kerala was formed on 1st of November, 1956 when the district of Malabar of Madras Presidency, Kasargod taluk of the district of South Kanara and Tranvancore-Cochin were united to constitute the new state of Kerala and Kanyakumari from Travancore was merged with the state of Tamil Nadu as per the recommendations of the State Reorganisation Commission which was established by the Government of India.