The following is a list of sovereign states and territories where Tamil is an official language or language of government.
Historical map of Chola Kingdom where Tamil was the language of administration.
Distribution of Tamil speakers in Indian Subcontinent.
Tamil is the 15th most spoken language in the world. Tamil language speakers make approximately 1.06% of the world population. Tamil was one of the prominent languages of trade in the region during the pre-colonial era. Tamil mercantile guilds like Ainnurruvar were active in Southeast Asia, and there are Tamil inscriptions and coins found in parts of Asia and Africa such as in China, Cambodia, Egypt and Indonesia. During the 18th century, the British and French colonial rulers brought Tamils to many parts of Asia and Africa where many countries have sizeable number of Tamil speakers with significant cultural impact. There are more than 2,000,000 speakers of Tamil language in Malaysia itself. Tamil is the classical language of India and one of the oldest surviving language in the world.
1 Sovereign states 2 Dependent entities 3 Recognized as minority language 4 Partially recognized and unrecognized territories 5 Former territories resp. dependent entities where Tamil was an official language 6 See also 7 Notes 8 References
The skyline of Singapore in 2015
Countries where Tamil is an official language (de jure)
Country Region Population1 Status
Singapore Asia 188,591 Sovereign State
Sri Lanka Asia 5,007,003 Sovereign State
Entity Country Population Status
Auroville India 7003260000000000000♠2,600 Autonomous City of India
Puducherry India 7006124446400000000♠1,244,464 Union Territory of India
Tamil Nadu India 7007721389580000000♠72,138,958 State of India
Recognized as minority language
Country Population Notes
South Africa 7005250000000000000♠250,000 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 - Chapter 1: Founding Provisions states "A Pan South African Language Board established by national legislation must promote and ensure respect for Tamil" along with other minority languages.
Malaysia 7006180000000000000♠1,800,000 Malaysian government recognize Tamil as a minority language along with Chinese. The "national-type" school's medium of instruction is either in Tamil or Chinese.
Mauritius 7004720890000000000♠72,089 Tamils are the first immigrants to Mauritius who were brought by French. Later British brought Tamils to fight with French and as a recognition, Tamil is being used on the currency of Mauritius.
Partially recognized and unrecognized territories
Tamil Eelam (Eelam) Claiming sovereignty over the North and Eastern Sri Lanka and Puttalam district as
Karaikal Claiming for a separate union territory in India.
Former territories resp. dependent entities where Tamil was an official language
Entity Continent Population Status Notes
Haryana Asia 10,572 State of India Tamil was once given nominal official status in Haryana but it was later replaced with Punjabi, in 2010.
Tamil population by cities Tamil population per nation Tamil Loanwords in other languages Tamil language Tamil people List of languages by first written accounts Tamil keyboard
^ "Tamil Inscriptions". Archaeology India. Tamil Inscriptions of Egypt and Thailand ^ Stein, Burton (1977-01-01). "Circulation and the Historical Geography of Tamil Country". The Journal of Asian Studies. 37 (1): 7–26. doi:10.2307/2053325. ^ Wong, Aline (2000-11-24). "Education in a Multicultural Setting - The Singapore Experience". Ministry of Education, Government of Singapore. Archived from the original on 2008-05-04. Retrieved 2009-01-18. There are four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. ^ "Department of Statistics, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Republic of Singapore" (PDF). Census of population 2010. Department of statistics Singapore. ^ "Language Dept Sri Lanka". Tamil and Sinhala official language of Sri Lanka ^ "Census of Population and Housing of Sri Lanka, 2012" (PDF). Census of Population and Housing of Sri Lanka, 2012. Department of Census and Statistics-Sri Lanka. ^ Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 - Chapter 1: Founding Provisions - South African Government ^ National Identity and Minority Languages ^ A Brief History of the Tamils of Mauritius ^ http://www.tibetsun.com/news/2013/07/31/india-creates-new-state-demand-for-smaller-states-rise ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-may-have-50-states-if-all-demands-for-new-states-are-met/articleshow/21599282.cms ^ http://www.hindu.com/2005/09/14/stories/2005091404810300.htm
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