Tamil is the first language of the majority in Tamil Nadu, India and Northern Province, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. The language is spoken by small groups of minorities in other parts of these two countries including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and others in case of India and Colombo, the hill country, in case of Sri Lanka. Previously Tamil had a wider distribution in India than what it is currently. Tamil or dialects of it were used widely in the state of Kerala as the language of administration, literature and common usage until the 12th century CE. Tamil was also used widely in inscriptions found in southern Andhra Pradesh districts of Chittoor and Nellore until the 12th centure CE.
There are currently sizable Tamil-speaking populations descended from colonial-era migrants in Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Indonesia, Thailand,Burma, and Vietnam. Many in Reunion, Guyana, Fiji, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago have Tamil origins, but only a small number speak the language. In Reunion where Tamil language was forbidden to be learnt and used in public space is now being relearnt by students and adults. It is also used by groups of migrants from Sri Lanka and India in Canada (especially Toronto), USA(especially New Jersey), Australia, many Middle Eastern countries, and most of the western European countries.