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Calicut was the capital of Malabar in the north of Kerala when Zamorins ruled. It was the Spice Capital and very prosperous. This attracted foreigners who found the rulers friendly and tolerant. The Arabs were the first to arrive. They were followed by Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and finally the British. The rivalry between them resulted in battles during the medieval period. The Arab influence caused many locals to become Muslims; as a result the city is dotted with mosques. It is said that the name Calicut came from the hand woven cloth calico which was made here. In local language the city is called Kozhikode.