Kanyakumari district is the southernmost district in Tamil Nadu. It is the second largest district in the state in terms of population density and the second most urbanized, next only to Chennai district. The district derives its name from the devi Kaṉṉiyā Kumari Amman, who is enshrined in the temple located at the southernmost tip of Mainland India, Kanyakumari. The district stand first in terms of literacy rate in the state.
Kanyakumari district has a varied topography with sea on three sides and the mountains of the Western Ghats bordering the northern side. Geologically, the landmass of the district is much younger when compared to the rest of state - faulted as late as 2.5 millon years during the Miocene, after which numerous transgression as well as regression of sea had shaped the western coast of the district.
Historically, Nanjinad and Eda Nadu, which comprises the present Kanyakumari district, were ruled by various Tamil dynasties: the Pandyans, the Cheras, the Cholas, the Ays and the Nayaks. Few artifacts unearthed by archeological excavations in the district dates as far back as the Neolithic.
Despite being an area of a historically Tamil majority populace, it was part of the princely state of Travancore during the colonial times prior to the nation's independence; Four of the eight tehsils of Thiruvananthapuram district were separated to form the new district of Kanyakumari during the formation of the new state of Kerala, and they were made a part of the Madras Presidency under recommendations from the States Reorganisation Commission in 1956. The Presidency was later renamed Tamil Nadu and Kanyakumari is one among the 32 districts of the state of Tamil Nadu.
Almost one-third of the fishermen in Tamil Nadu belong to the district. Many historical assumptions persists which associates sages such as Vyasa, Agastya, Tolkappiyar, Avvaiyar and Thiruvalluvar to the district. The district is also the birthplace of Ayyavazhi.
The Travancore region was in anarchy before Marthanda Verma ascended the throne in 1729 AD. Before his reign the Samanthan Nairs ruled the province. Under their rule anarchy was dominant in Kanyakumari region. However, Marthanda Verma brought a sense of disorder under control by annexing the nearby territories. He had also bought some portions of Kanyakumari from the then viceroy making it the southern boundary. Under his rule the district improved in a social context as well as economically. In the year 1949, the area became a part of the reestablished Travancore Cochin state. The people of Agasteeswarem, Thovalai, Kalkulam and Vilavancode taluks, which formed the southern divisions of the former district of Trivandrum, were predominantly Tamil speaking people. However, under the rule of Marshal Nesamony, an extreme agitation by Tamil speaking residents took place for including Kanyakumari within Tamil Nadu. Eventually the merger happened in 1956 based on language reorganization of states.