Kannur district is a district of Kerala state with its administrative headquarters located at Kannur town. There are many stories associated with the name of the district. According to the first theory the name of the district is derived from two Malayalam terms i.e. ‘Kannan’ meaning Krishna, a Hindu deity and ‘Ur’ meaning place, making it the place of Lord Krishna. The another theory regarding the name of the district supports that the deity of the Kadalayi Srikrishna Temple was originally installed in a shrine at Kadalayi Kotta, located in the south eastern part of the today’s Kannur town. During the period of British Raj, the place was popularly known as Cannanore whereas the Portuguese used to call it by its ancient name, 'Kannanore'. The rock cut caves and megalithic burial sites are some earliest evidence of human habitation in the district at the age of Neolithic. For several centuries the place, Kannur was a significant part of the Chera kingdom. After sometime the Kolattiri Rajas, who had maintained a good trading relation with Arabia and Persia in the 12th century and 13th centuries made Kannur as their capital. Kannur district faced a tragic phase, full of bloodshed during the British rule in India. The district came into existence on 1st January, 1957.
Sukumar Azhikode, a distinguished Indian writer, critic and orator recognized for his remarkable contributions to Malayalam language and Indian philosophy was born on 26th May, 1926 at Azhikode in the Kannur district. Many prestigious awards were conferred to him likewise, Sahitya Akademi Award in the year 1985 for Tatvamasi, Kerala Sahithya Akademi Award in the year 1985 for Tatvamasi and many more.
Geographically, the district lies at 11°87'N latitude, 75°36'E longitude and 1145 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 56.36% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 2,961 sq km. and it is bounded by Kasaragod district on the North, Kozhikode district on the South, Wayanad district on the Southeast, Western Ghats on the East and Arabian Sea on the West. The climate of the district is characterised as humid climate with extremely hot summers. The actual rainfall in the district was 3564.3 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 4 taluks namely Kannur, Taliparamba, Thalassery and Iritty. Moreover, it comprises 3 sub-districts, 67 towns and 56 villages. The administrative language in the district is Malayalam.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 25,23,003 out of which 11,81,446 are males and 13,41,557 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 1136 (females for every 1000 males). In the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 4.73% including 2.48% were males and 6.80% were females. As per 2011 census the major religions in the district are Hindu and Muslim with 59.83% and 29.43% of the total population. The population density in the district is 852 persons per sq. km. According to 2011 census the principal languages in the district is Malayalam with 98.88%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 39,413 out of which 20,087 were males and 19,324 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 19,489 out of which 10,761 were males and 8,725 were females.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the district. Most of the lands in the district are use for agricultural purposes. More than half of its population are engaged in agriculture in order o earn their livelihood. Since from the British Raj, the district is very advanced in the field of agriculture. Asia's largest cinnamon estate producing cinnamon spice established by the Lord Brown of British East India Company in the year CE 1767 is located at Anjarakandy in the Kannur district. The chief agricultural products in the district are paddy, coconut, pepper, cashew, tapioca, areca nut, plantation crops like rubber, etc. Industrially, also the district is quite well developed from a very early period. Most of the medium scale industries in the district are either cotton textile or plywood manufacturing. On the other hand handloom textiles, beedi and coir are some foremost traditional industries in the district. In the year 2020-21 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 46,66,829 lakhs at current price and Rs. 30,88,530 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 41,51,416 lakh at current price and Rs. 27,99,027 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 1,57,469 at current price and Rs. 1,06,171 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
Kannur University, in the district was founded by the Act 22 of 1996 of Kerala Legislative Assembly. But the University had come into existence even earlier on 9th November, 1995 by the name “Malabar University” by the promulgation of an Ordinance by the Governor of Kerala. Some other prominent educational institutions in the district are Govt. Brennen College, S.N College, Payyannur College, Sir Syed College, Nirmalagiri College, Government College of Engineering, Malabar Institute of Technology, Jyothi Engineering College, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 95.1% including 97.19% are males and 93.29% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 21,38,434 including 10,12,956 are males and 11,25,478 are females.
Ayillyath Kuttiari Gopalan, an eminent Indian communist leader and the first veteran leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha of India was born on 1st October, 1904 at Kannur town. He was also popularly known as A. K. Gopalan.
During the year June 2021, there were 1,40,188 domestic tourists and 38 foreign tourists. The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. St. Angelos Fort, located in the western side of the Kannur town was constructed by Don Francisco De Almeida, the first Portuguese Viceroy in the year 1505. When the British came to this place, they rebuilt it and started to use it as their most important station in Malabar. Muzhappilangad Beach, situated at a distance of 15.km. from the Kannur has some black rocks to protect it from the currents of the deep which makes it shallows waters a swimmer's paradise. Moppila Bay, lying near to the St. Angelos fort is a natural fishing harbour. During the Kolathiris' rule, it was a well known commercial harbour that linked Kolathunadu with Lakshadweep and many foreign countries. Some other notable places of interest in the district are Thalassery Fort, Ezhimala, Malayalakalagramam, Pazhassi Dam, Pythal Mala, etc.