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Encyclopedia > British Ceylon
The Arms of the Ceylon Government(1875-1948)

The British started their rule in 1798. Many eductional institutions were established during this period. English language was taught to the locals. At this time American missionaries and Anglican missionaries were in close competition with Catholic missionaries and establishing churches and schools in every nook and corner. Several high schools and western education became the hallmark of Jaffna. Jaffna Tamils became the willing subjects of the ever-expanding British Imperialism and took the middle-level positions in public service throughout South East Asian countries of the British Raj (Burma, Malaya, and Singapore). The present Civil War has the seeds in the favoritism shown by the English to the Tamils. The Sinhalese hated the dominant positions and rule by the English speaking Tamils and introduced the 'Sinhalese Only law' to replace the English. That started all the volcanic eruption in the Tamil regions. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The flag of British India British India, circa 1860 The British Raj (Raj in Hindi meaning Rule; from Sanskrit Rajya) was the British rule between 1858 and 1947 of the Indian Subcontinent, which included the present-day India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Burma (Myanmar), whereby these lands were under the colonial...

The British Ceylon Government's Ensign.(1875-1948)

Contents

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From the Dutch to the British

Main article: Dutch Ceylon

The Batavian government was more popular among the Dutch population than was the prince of Orange. This was apparent during the British-Russian invasion of 1799. The Tamils and the Kandyan Kingdom collaborated and conspired with the Dutch rulers of Batavia (todays Jakarta in Indonesia). ... Prince of Orange is a title of nobility, originally associated with the principality of Orange in southern France. ...


As a French vassal state, the Batavian Republic was an ally of France in its wars against Great Britain. This led to the loss of most of the Dutch colonial empire and a defeat of the Dutch fleet in the Battle of Camperdown (Camperduin) in 1797. The collapse of Dutch trade caused a series of economic crises. Only in the second half of the 19th century would Dutch wealth be restored to its previous level. From 1795 to 1806, the Batavian Republic (Bataafse Republiek in Dutch) designated the Netherlands as a republic modeled after the French Republic, to which it was a vassal state. ... The Battle of Camperdown, 11 October 1797 by Thomas Whitcombe, painted 1798, showing the British flagship Venerable engaged with the Dutch flagship Vrijheid The naval Battle of Camperdown took place on 11 October 1797 during the French Revolutionary Wars, and was a victory for a British fleet under Admiral Adam...


Soon after Napoleon captured the Netherlands the Prince of Orange became a refugee in London and he wrote off some colonies to the safe custody of Britain. In fact, the French Revolution had lot of admirers in the rest of the Europe and the Dutch were no exception. The Dutch in Ceylon wanted a republic and they did not want the English rule over any of their colonies. The British forced their way into Ceylon without much resistance. The French Revolution (1789–1815) was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on...

The Prince of Orange had issued instructions from Kew to the Dutch Colonies to permit the entrance of British troops and ships of war for the purpose of preventing them falling into the hands of the French republicans, and orders were given to the military to use force should they be refused admittance. Accordingly in July 1795 Lord Hobart, Governor of Fort St. George, invited Governor van Angelbeek to place his colony in the possession of the British, to be restored to the Dutch at the general peace, at the same time threatening force in case of resistance. The local Dutch Government, understanding that the subversion of the old constitution of the Netherlands had been the sole work of the French, decided to adhere to the Stadtholder, but to defend themselves at Colombo, Galle, and Trincomalee if the British attempted hostilities. To Lord Hobart the Council acknowledged the British as their `close and intimate allies,' and were prepared to receive 800 European troops, for which, however, they were not then in a position to pay, but were not ready to put the Dutch settlements under the protection of His Britannic Majesty, such a course not being required by the letter of the Prince of Orange. The proposals of the Council were accepted by Lord Hobart, and the British forces arrived at Trincomalee. But difficulties were made by the local commandant, and the British officers reverted to their instructions and required the delivery of the forts. This was On August 2; the demand was refused, and the British landed unopposed but took no further steps for the moment. In the meanwhile the Dutch at Colombo had learnt that the revolution at home had been effected not by the French alone but by the majority of the nation, and in consequence decided to acknowledge the Batavian Republic, to break off all engagements with the British, and to defend the fortress to the last. This decision was communicated by letter dated August 15, 1795, to the British, who now proceeded to action at Trincomalee. The forts at this place capitulated to Colonel Steuart after a bombardment on August 28 and 31, Batticaloa fell on September 18, and Jaffna without resistance ten days later. From Trincomalee Robert Andrews, a civilian in the Madras service, was sent as ambassador to Kandy. He returned to India with a Kandyan embassy under Migastenne Disawa, and in February 1796 a treaty was signed at Madras, by which the Court was to possess a situation on the coast of Lanka for the sole purpose of securing salt and fish and, further, to have ten vessels free from all inspection and duty. Andrews returned to Kandy to obtain the royal signature, but the terms, which gave to the Court what it had in vain attempted to get from the Dutch, were rejected. The opportunity, once lost, did not recur. The Count de Meuron by a provisional agreement signed at Neuchatel on March 30, 1795, had arranged for the transfer of his proprietary regiment, of which five companies were in Colombo, to the British service; the discharge from the Dutch employ actually was effected on October 13. The Madras Government, after the fall of Jaffna, had offered once more their original conditions, but these were refused by the Dutch, who concentrated their soldiers in Colombo and prepared to defend the capital to the last. The British troops coasted along the west of Lanka as far as Negombo, whence they advanced by land, reaching the Kelani River on February 8 and 9 without any opposition. The Dutch made no attempt to withstand the invaders between Negombo and the Kelani owing, it is said, to the advance of the Kandyans; they intended to resist at the river, but again withdrew to Grand Pass, and the British crossed on February 11. They were attacked by the French Lieutenant-Colonel Raymond, late of the Luxemburg Regiment, next day, but occupied the Pettah. The failure of the Dutch to make a stand at the river is explained partly by the fact that the British held the sea and could have landed troops in their rear. The Dutch Government, which in October had resolved to resist to the last, had at its disposal 1617 men, composed of 845 Europeans and 772 Malays. The British not only possessed troops to the number of 5500, of whom 2700 were Europeans, but also had command of the sea. The Dutch had been in expectation of help from the Netherlands and Batavia and of the arrival of a French fleet, and had also hoped that Tipu Sultan of Mysore would have made a diversion in their favour. They.must have realised at an early stage that resistance was hopeless; all the staff officers, with the exception of one, and the whole of the Council were in favour of capitulation, by which private property as well as pensions to public servants would be preserved. Accordingly negotiations were commenced on the British summoning the fortress, and Colombo was surrendered on February 15, 1796; the terms cast no obligation on the British to restore Lanka to the Dutch at the peace, though at the time it was anticipated that this would be done. The Dutch Governor Van Angelbeek has been charged with treason, and. the failure to make any resistance, which contrasts so unfavourably with the desperate fight of the Portuguese against overwhelming numbers in 1656, lent colour to the accusation. But the documents themselves show that defence was contemplated until the position was seen to be untenable. Jacobinism is said to have been rife among the garrison, but has not been shown to have been the cause of the surrender. [1] Prince of Orange is a title of nobility, originally associated with the principality of Orange in southern France. ... An old 18 century sketch of the fort. ... From 1795 to 1806, the Batavian Republic (Bataafse Republiek in Dutch) designated the Netherlands as a republic modeled after the French Republic, to which it was a vassal state. ... Kelaniya is a small town very close to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. ... In the context of the French Revolution, a Jacobin originally meant a member of the Jacobin Club (1789-1794). ...

Kandyan Wars

Main article: Kandian Wars

As soon as Britain captured Ceylon from the Dutch they wanted to expand it by making Kandyan Kingdom a protectorate, an offer refused by the King of Kandy. Being a Nayakkar he already had bad experience with ever expanding British Empire. A small country like Holland or Portugal was never a threat to Kandy. But a great power like Britain had enough resources to overwhelm them. The Kandyan aristocracy was not happy with Sri Vikrama, the King of Kandy, and were plotting with the English. Kandian Wars refers to the campaigns of the British expeditionary forces against the Kingdom of Kandy in Ceylon 1803 and 1815. ... Naiker also Nayakar, Nayakkar, Naicker is title used by many Andhra Pradesh, Tamil nadu and Karnataka derived people in India and abroad in the Tamil diaspora. ...


Kandyan Convention

Main article: Kandyan Convention

After a lost war and several other attempts the English were victorious over Kandy and captured the King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha. The Sinhala Chieftains were happy to get rid of the Tamil king and his tyranny. Ehelepola, the Prime Minister, thought that the English will hand over the power to him.
But the English annexed Ceylon with Madras Presidency for economical and strategical reasons. The Kandyan treaty which was signed after the annexation of Kandy was called Kandyan Convention and consists of the terms under which the Kandyans will live under British rule.
Buddhist religion was given protection by the Crown and Christianity would not be imposed on the unwilling masses as it happened during Portuguese and Dutch rule. It spelt the end of a most cruel tyrant who tortured Sinhala aristocracy at will in one of the most cruel ways. Kandyan Convention is an important document as some of the chieftains have signed in Tamil showing their Tamil ancestry.
Soon the Kandyans rebelled against the English and waged a guerilla war. It was called the Uva Rebellion and the British carried out the massacre of the 19th Century by wiping out the all able bodied Sinhalese men from the Hill country. Main causes of the rebellion seems to be the loss of power of the Kandyan chieftains and the tyranny by the Muslim army which supported the British rule. Badulla was ruled by a Hadji and his Muslim army who burnt down villages, pillaged, looted, robbed, harassed, raped and massacred the natives at will. The native population of able bodied men were wiped out to the extent of 80%. After a lost war and several other attempts the English were victorious over Kandy and captured the King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha. ... After a lost war and several other attempts the English were victorious over Kandy and captured the King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha. ... Sri Vikrama Rajasinha (1780-January 30, 1832) was the last monarch of the kingdom of Kandy in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka. ... After a lost war and several other attempts the English were victorious over Kandy and captured the King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha. ... The Uva Rebellion, also known as the Great Rebellion of 1817-1818 (or the 3rd Kandyan War by the British) took place in Sri Lanka against the British under Governor Robert Brownrigg. ...


The Muslim Oppression

Main article: Uva Rebellion

Cause of Rebellion
The 1817 rebellion described as the Uva rebellion by historians is the culmination of the peoples anger and dissatisfaction over the British rule which promised to uphold and foster the Buddhist religion and observe the traditions and norms that hitherto prevailed in the Kandyan Kingdom up to the signing of the convention of 2nd March 1815. Mr. Wiliam Tolfry, the Chief Translator of the British Government; appraised the Commissioner in-charge of Kandyan affairs Mr. Sutherland of the volatile situation that prevailed in the country at the beginning of December 1816 and January 1817, and warned him of an impending revolt against the British administration.
Reports reached the authorities that one Duraisamy,a relative of the deposed king and claiming his rights to the throne is mustering the support of the people in Uva for a rebellion and that some Sinhalese leaders too joined him.
Duraisamy was the son of Kalu Nayakkar, a relation of the former king. He was a native of Sath Korale, a Buddhist priest for sometime and now appeared in public as Wilbawe. These facts were later confirmed by the evidence of Udugama Unnanse at the trial.
The appointment of a Malay Muhandiram Hadji by Major Wilson - Resident in Badulla was another action of the British which earned the displeasure of the Sinhalese to the British administration. The areas of Uva Wellassa, Nuwarakalaviya were neglected jungle areas which had a predominant population of Muslims who disrupted time and again the smooth supply of salt and dry fish to the people in the Kandyan Kingdom. [2] The Uva Rebellion, also known as the Great Rebellion of 1817-1818 (or the 3rd Kandyan War by the British) took place in Sri Lanka against the British under Governor Robert Brownrigg. ...

The flag of the Governer Ceylon

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The British Raj and the support from the Natives

Main article: Burgher People

The mixed breed population of Ceylon was quite high enough to support the European colonists and the Portuguese and the Dutch offspring of the past 300 years of colonial history was enough to run a stable government. Unlike the previous rulers English embarked on a plantation programme which brought coffee plantation which was later wiped out by coffee rust. Coffee plants were replaced by tea and rubber plantations. This made Ceylon one of the richest countries in Asia. The Burghers are a Eurasian ethnic group, historically from Sri Lanka, consisting for the most part of male-line descendants of European colonists from the 16th to 20th centuries (mostly Portuguese, Dutch and British) with local Sinhalese ancestry. ...


The English also brought a million Tamils from Tamil Nadu and made them indentured laborers in the Hill country. This was in addition to the million Tamils already living in the Maritime provinces and another million Mappilla Muslims whose mother tongue is Tamil. Thus the seed of ethnic discord was sown in the British Era. The bilingual bipolar island needed a link language and English became universal in Ceylon. Tamil Nadu (தமிழ் நாடு, Land of the Tamils) is a state at the southern tip of India. ...

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
an account of economic developments in rural Ceylon under British rule

The laying of the railway, the opening of coffee and tea plantations, road development schemes, establishment of hospitals and maternity homes throughout the island, were some of the major works undertaken by the British who ruled Sri Lanka. Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ...


References

Main article: Jaffna Kingdom
Main article: Jaffna Nagas
Main article: Chandrabhanu
Main article: Arya Chakravarti
Main article: Portuguese Ceylon


Jaffna Kingdom was a historically important regional power in medieval Sri Lanka. ... The Northern part of the Indian Oceans Island(todays Sri Lanka)throve during the Naga Kingdom from 6th century BC to the middle of the 3rd century AD. Naga people were of Tibeto-Burman origin, a Mongoloid race and migrated to India in 4000 BC, driven by some... During the thirteenth century, the declining Sinhalese kingdom faced threats of invasion from India and the expanding Tamil kingdom of northern Sri Lanka. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The first Portuguese visiting Ceylon was Dom Lourenço de Almeida in 1505 or 1506. ...

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