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Colonization In Sri Lanka

When and why did the Dutch, Portuguese, and for the longest period of time, British colonize Sri Lanka, and what effects does it have on the nation now?
by

Bhanu Abeysekera

on 19 May 2010

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Transcript of Colonization In Sri Lanka

Colonization Of Sri Lanka Portuguese 1505-1658 Dutch 1658-1796 British 1796-1948 Independence Arrived in 1505 Ad

Originally came for spice and cinnamon trade

This relationship turned into a take over after Portuguese had been helping coastal kindoms fight against other kindoms on the island

By 1505 Portuguese had gained control of many coastal areas, but not the central highlands, a place called Kandy

Portuguese pushed Catholicism on natives, offereing better living conditions and education for thoese who converted

Dutch originally came to Sri Lanka to help the king of Kandy fight off the Portuguese.
Instead of helping free the kingdoms from colonization, the Dutch replaced the Portuguese in 1658
Dutch took control over the coastal areas of the island but the central highlands remained free.
The Dutch were more interested in the prospects of trade the island had and turned it into a port in their trade routes to China,India, Japan, and the far east. The British arrive on the island in 1796, forcing the Dutch to leave.
British were the first to have control over the whole island, including the central highlands of Kandy
British ruled for the longest period of time, 152 years
British were in Sri Lanka to create, run, and profit off of tea, coffee, and rubber plantations
With the growth of the plantation indusrty Bristish imported Tamil people from south india who would work for lower wages then the native Sinhalese people.
Due to Tamil migration, the native Sinhalese people lost their land in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, which is the root cause of civil conflicts in Sri Lanka that still exist today. Sri Lanka gained independence from the British in 1948.
When the British left, they left Sri Lankans with a system of government that gave more power to the majority, who were the Sinhalese.
Tamils were not provided with equal rights, or fair representation in the new government set up after independence, this would lead to many problems in Sri Lanka's future.




Effects on Sri Lanka Due to early colonization, especially the divide and conquor methods used by the British, Sri Lanka has many internal issues after gaining independence, even in the present.
Tamils began to fight for equal representation in the government, and equal access to higher education, but were ignored for many years.
After years of being shut down using legal methods to ask and gain equal rights some Tamils in the north became fed up. In 1976 Tamil terrorist groups such as the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and the more powerfull Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) were formed.
In the years folloing the the LTTE's formation there were many very violent racial riots against the Tamil people in 1983. Mobs of angry Sinhalese people burned down Tamil villages killing an estmated 1500-2000 Tamils.
Soon after the racial riots a heavily militarized war between the LTTE and the Sinhalese government went on from '83 up until 2009 when the leaders of the LTTE were killed.

Even though the war is now considered over, issues of equal rights between Tamils and Sinhalese people still are at hand, and there is much work that is needed to be done before the people of the island as a whole are content
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