Travancore (trăvənkôrˈ) [key], former princely state, 7,622 sq mi (19,741 sq km), SW India, on the Arabian Sea. It is now in Kerala state. The region of Travancore has coastal lowlands (protected by lagoons) and a hilly interior, including the Cardamom Hills. Rainfall is heavy, and rice, sugarcane, coconuts, and cotton are important lowland crops. The hill region provides half of India's cardamom. There is a large Christian minority. The region was brought under the control of a local prince, Martanda Varma, in the 18th cent. The prince accepted British guarantees against Haidar Ali and Tippoo Sahib in 1788. Revolts against British overlordship in the early 19th cent. were quickly suppressed. Travancore became noted for its efficient government and its high rate of literacy (about 50%). After Indian independence from England, the region was merged with Cochin and areas of the former Madras state to form a new state, which in 1956 was given the name Kerala.