The Nayak Rule in Madurai (1529AD. To 1739 AD.)
The Nayak rule in Tamilnadu was established by the Vijayanagar emperors. Krishna devaraya popularized the Nayak system. King Achyutharaya had 200 Nayaks under his control. Among them, the Nayaks of Madurai, Tanjore, Ginjee and Vellore were important. After the battle of Talikotta and after the downfall of Vijayanagar Empire the Nayaks emerged as independent rulers. The Nayak rule lasted for a century.
We have lot of epigraphic and literary sources for the study of the Nayaks. Inscriptions give details about the donations made by the Nayak rulers to Brahmins and temples. The monuments reveal the culture of the Nayaks. The letters of Fernao Nuniz, Domingo Poes and Jesuits are very important sources. Factory records of Portuguese, the Dutch and the English are useful to know the Nayak rule.
Krishnadevaraya extended this system to Tamil country. According to this system, king was considered as owner of all land. Those who received lands from the king were also called Nayaks. In return the Nayaks had to pay a fixed amount and send an army whenever the king needed. The Nayaks carried on the administration in the name of the King. They presented gifts and money to the King on his birthday. This system is known as Nayankara system.