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The Tamil culture make up the majority of the population of the state of Tamil Nadu and also inhabit parts of the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, all located in the southernmost third of India.
The Tamils have a long history of conquest; sea travel, city life, and trade seem to have developed early among them. Tamil trade with the ancient Greeks and Romans is verified by literary, linguistic, and archaeological evidence.
The Tamils have the oldest cultivated Dravidian language, and their rich literary tradition dates back to the early Christian era. The Chera, Chola, Pandya, and Pallava dynasties dominated the Tamil area before the Vijayanagar empire extended its hegemony in the 14th century, and those earlier dynasties produced many great kingdoms.
Tamil state now
Only between the 9th and 11th centuries, under the Chola dynasty, were the Tamils unified into one state. The most important national institutions for Tamils have been the governments of the countries where they live, particularly the government of Tamil Nadu and the government of Sri Lanka, which have collaborated in developing technical and scientific terminology in Tamil and promoting its use since the 1950s. .
Politics in Tamil Nadu is dominated by the Self-Love Movement (also called the Dravidian Movement), founded by E. V. Ramasami, popularly known as Periyar, to promote self-esteem and rationalism, and to fight against the caste system and against the oppression of the lower castes. Every major political party in Tamil Nadu bases its ideology on the Self Love Movement, with Indian political parties playing a very small role in Tamil politics.
In Sri Lanka, Tamil politics was dominated by the federalist movements, led by the Federal Party (later the United Tamil Liberation Front), until the early 1980s. In the 1980s, the political movement was largely replaced by armed actions led by various militant groups. The Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) emerged as the most important force among these groups in the 1990s. Considered a terrorist group by the European Union, it was defeated by government forces in May 2009.