The land of Kerala is believed to be a gift of the Arabian Sea. Owing to its favourable location this land fostered trade and established contacts with Egypt, Assyria, Greeks, Romans and the Chinese. The Malayalam era 'Kollavarsha' is believed to have started in the 9th century A.D. During this period of internal strife in Kerala, Cheraman Perumal founded the Chera dynasty (9th century AD). In about 1498 the Portuguese came to Calicut and in 1502 to Kochi. Kerala was then divided into the Kingdoms of Malabar, Kochi and Travancore.