Tamil Nadu also means ‘The Land of Tamils' or 'Tamil Country'.
Archaeological evidence points to this area being one of the longest continuous habitations in the Indian peninsula.A Neolithic stone celt (a hand-held axe) with the Indus script on it was discovered at Sembian-Kandiyur near Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu.The early history of the people and rulers of Tamil Nadu is a topic in Tamil literary sources known as Sangam literature.Three dynasties, namely the Chera, Chola and Pandya, ruled the area of present-day Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The Chera ruled the whole of present-day Kerala and parts of western Tamil Nadu comprising Coimbatore, Dharmapuri, Karur, Salem and Erode districts from the capital of Vanchi Muthur (thought to be modern day Karur). The Chola dynasty ruled the northern and central parts of Tamil Nadu from their capital, Uraiyur; and the Pandya dynasty ruled southern Tamil Nadu, from capitals at Korkai and Madurai.During the 4th to 8th centuries, Tamil Nadu saw the rise of the Pallava dynasty under Mahendravarman I and his son Mamalla Narasimhavarman I.Much later, the Pallavas were replaced by the Chola dynasty as the dominant kingdom in the 9th century and they in turn were replaced by the Pandyan Dynasty in the 13th century.During the 9th century, the Chola dynasty was once again revived by Vijayalaya Chola, who established Thanjavur as Chola's new capital by conquering central Tamil Nadu from Mutharaiyar and the Pandya king Varagunavarman II.The Muslim invasions of southern India triggered the establishment of the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire with Vijayanagara in modern Karnataka as its capital.Europeans started to establish trade centres during the 17th century in the eastern coastal regions.The Vellore mutiny on 10 July 1806 was the first instance of a large-scale and violent mutiny by Indian sepoys against the British East India Company, predating the Indian Rebellion of 1857 by half a century.When India became independent in 1947, Madras presidency became Madras state, comprising present-day Tamil Nadu, coastal Andhra Pradesh up to Ganjam district in Odisha, South Canara district Karnataka, and parts of Kerala. The state was subsequently split up along linguistic lines. In 1969, Madras State was renamed Tamil Nadu, meaning "Tamil country".