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Karnataka, the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act. Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1973.
Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the southeast, and Kerala to the southwest. The state covers an area of 191,976 square kilometres (74,122 sq mi), or 5.83% of the total geographical area of India. It is the eighth largest Indian state by area, the ninth largest by population and comprises 30 districts. Kannada is the official and most widely spoken language.
The two main river systems of the state are Krishna and its tributaries (Bhima, Ghataprabha, Vedavati, Malaprabha, and Tungabhadra) in the north, and the Cauvery and its tributaries (Hemavati, Shimsha, Arkavathi, Lakshmana Thirtha and Kabini) in the south. Both these rivers flow eastward and fall into the Bay of Bengal.
Though several etymologies have been suggested for the name Karnataka, the generally accepted one is that Karnataka is derived from the Kannada words karu and nadu, meaning elevated land. Karu nadu may also be read as Karu (black) and nadu (region), as a reference to the black cotton soil found in the Bayaluseeme region of Karnataka. The British used the word Carnatic (sometimes Karnatak) to describe both sides of peninsular India, south of the Krishna River.
With an antiquity that dates to the paleolithic, Karnataka has also been home to some of the most powerful empires of ancient and medieval India. The philosophers and musical bards patronised by these empires launched socio-religious and literary movements which have endured to the present day. Karnataka has contributed significantly to both forms of Indian classical music, the Carnatic (Karnataka Music) and Hindustani traditions. Writers in the Kannada language have received the most number of Jnanpith awards in India. Bangalore is the capital city of the state and is at the forefront of the rapid economic and technological development that India is experiencing.
The above information is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry.