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city, northern Kerala state, southwestern India. It is situated on the Malabar Coast, 414 miles (666 km) west-southwest of Madras by rail. A once-famous cotton-weaving centre, it is remembered as the place of origin of calico, to which it gave its name (i.e., Calicut). The place was an early focus for Arab traders, who first settled there in the 7th century. Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese discoverer of the sea route to India, reached Kozhikode in 1498. The Portuguese built a fortified trading post there in 1511, but it was abandoned in 1525.