How did the Matrilineal system of Kerala work? | Thiruvananthapuram - Storytrails
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How did the Matrilineal system of Kerala work? | Thiruvananthapuram

In the 1800s, the Kingdom of Travancore followed the matrilineal system. This meant that the king’s heir was his nephew, not his son. His sister was the queen, not his wife. This inheritance system was followed not only by the royals but also by most Hindu communities in Kerala. This system had its advantages and disadvantages. This is the story of the matrilineal system of Kerala.

In the 1800s, in the Kingdom of Travancore in Kerala, a king’s son could never hope to be king. Instead the crown passed from the king to his nephew. That’s how the matrilineal system worked. The king’s wife was called an Ammachi and she was not even considered a royal. She lived outside the palace, in a house called the ammaveedu. Who was the queen then? This is the story of the matrilineal system of Kerala.

Thanjavur ammaveedu

Sketch of ‘A Nair’. By Daniel Thomas (1749-1840) – Public domain

A Garo woman 1912 : Source: Public domain

Young Garo girls in 2016 – Picture by Vishma thapa via wikipedia . CC by 4.0.

Lakshmi Bayi of Travancore Public Domain


Swathi thirunal – – By Stephen Crening, Public Domain, 

Sethu Lakshmi Bayi (Queen that signed the Nair regulation)

Travancore in the Madras Presidency in 1859 By Unknown author, Public Domain,

Nair women 1914 By Clain and Perl studio, Madras. Copyright by Basel Mission – USC Digital library. Public domain

Khasi Girls By Bogman – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, 

Kodial Guthu family (circa 1900) By Anonymous –, Public Domain, 

:Ammachee_wife_of_His_Highness_the_Maharaja_of_Travancore – By Nicholas Brothers : Madras & Ootacamund (photographer) – Royal Collection RCIN 2701537, Public Domain,

Bharani_Thirunal_Lakshmi_Bayi By Creator: Unknown Person (photographer) – Royal Collection RCIN 2907286, Public Domain, 

Rani_Bharani_Thirunal_Lakshmi_Bayi By Raja Ravi Varma –, Public Domain, 

Flag of Travancore By Washiucho – File:Travancore State Flag.png, CC BY-SA 4.0, 



Attingal Palace – 

Kerala backwaters – Wikipedia




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