Kozhikode developed as an independent kingdom during the 14th century and the ruler of this area was called as the Zamorin. Admiral Zheng He of the Ming dynasty of China along with his men visited Kozhikode and their visit was documented by the Arab language translators Ma Huan, Fei Xin and Gong Zheng. They have published books about their visit to various places including Kozhikode.
Kozhikode had trade relations with the Asian, African and Middle East countries. It was in Kappad at Kozhikode that the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed in 1498. The arrival of Vasco da Gama was the beginning of the Portuguese domination in India. Even though these Portuguese traders were received by the Zamorins of this area, they did not agree for the permanent establishment of the Portuguese in Kozhikode. A fort was built by them and they attacked the Zamorins. The Zamorins then joined hands with the Dutch to defeat the Portuguese. By the middle of the 17th century, The Dutch conquered the Malabar from the control of the Portuguese. In the year 1766, the Mysore ruler Hyder Ali, conquered the Malabar Coast including Kozhikode. They then later came into conflict with the British.
Kozhikode district was part of the regions that was surrendered to the British by the ruler Tipu Sulthan in the year 1792. It was surrendered after the end of the Third Anglo-Mysore War. It was during this time from Kozhikode that the Pazhassi revolt against the British was led by the ruler Pazhassi raja. The regions that were acquired by the British became the Malabar districts which include Kannur, Kasaragod, Wayanad, Malappuram and Palakkad districts of today. This Malabar district was a part of the Madras presidency.
When India became independent, Malabar district was combined with the Travancore-Cochin state and Kasaragod district and thus the Kerala state were formed. The Malabar district was very large to hold an effective administration. So, it was further divided into Kannur, Palakkad and Kasaragod district in 1957.