HIS 2137 History of Colonialism in Sri Lanka I

Course Description:
This course provides an in-depth understanding of the early colonial encounter between Portuguese and Dutch European powers and Sri Lankan society. The course will discuss diverse aspects of this encounter, such as economic, political, social and cultural aspects. It will especially try to identify the impact of the early colonial encounters on Sri Lankan social formations. While locating the early colonial encounter within a broader context of the world of the Indian Ocean, the course will bring together contemporary readings based on recent research.

Learning Objectives:
This course aims at giving the student a general idea of the major historical forces at work during the period from the arrival of the Portuguese to the consolidation of British power throughout the island. It will locate the unfolding of main historical events in the island in the larger context of the historical vicissitudes of the Indian Ocean world. It will enable the student to acquire basic knowledge on the integration of Sri Lanka into the global system that evolved since the European expansion that commenced by the end of the 15th century.

Learning Outcomes:
At the end of this course, the student should be able to:
• Locate the activities of early European colonial powers in a broader historical context
• Review critically the impact of the Portuguese and Dutch on Sri Lankan society
• Understand the various forms of indigenous responses to early European activities

Course Content:
1. Political-Economy of Indian Ocean and the place of Sri Lanka in the beginning of 16th century.
2. Western Powers and Sri Lanka. Portuguese in Sri Lanka: military confrontations with local rulers in Kotte, Jaffna and Kandy from 1505-1597.
3. Native Political formations amidst the consolidation of western powers- Kandy and Vanniyars. Kandyan kings in the era of European expansion
4. Social and economic impacts of Western intervention. Changes in the revenue collection and land tenure, Rajakariya caste relations and European powers, Growth of cash crops: cinnamon, coconut and others

5. Religious and cultural trends. Religious life at the beginning of 16th century, growth of Christianity, revival of Buddhism, decline of Kotte literature and literary activities of Sitavaka, Kandy and Matara)


Attendance 10%
Midterm Test or Assignment 30%
Final Exam 60%

Recommended Readings:

වාචිස්සර කොටගම (2009) සරණංකර සංඝරාජ සමය බොරලැස්ගමුව: විසිදුනු ප්‍රකාශකයෝ
සන්නස්ගල පී. බී. (2009) සිංහල සාහිත්‍ය වංශය කොළඹ : ගොඩගේ ප්‍රකාශකයෝ
හේවාවසම් ප. බ. ජි (1996) මාතර යුගයේ සාහිත්‍යධරයන් හා සාහිත්‍ය නිබන්ධන කොළඹ: සංස්කෘතික කටයුතු දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව
Abeyasinghe, T. B. H. (1996) Portuguese rule in Ceylon, 1594-1612, Colombo: Lake House Investment LTD.

Arasaratnam, S. (1958) Dutch Power in Ceylon, 1658-1687, Amsterdam: Netherlands Institute for International Cultural Relations.

Arasaratnam, S. (1996) Ceylon and the Dutch, 1600-1800, (Collected Studies Series), UK: Variorum.

Chaudhuri, K. N. (1985) Trade and Civilization in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History from Rise of Islam to 1750, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
De Silva, C. R. (1972) The Portuguese in Ceylon – 1617-1738, Colombo: H.W. Cave & Company.
De Silva, K.M. (ed.) (1973) University of Ceylon History of Ceylon Vol. III Peradeniya: Peradeniya University Press.

De Silva, K.M.(ed.) (1995) University of Peradeniya History of Sri Lanka Vol. II (c.1500-c.1800), Peradeniya: Peradeniya University Press.

De Silva, M.U. (1994) ‘Land tenure, Caste system and the Rajakariya, under foreign rule: a review of change in Sri Lanka under Western powers, 1597-1832’, in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, New Series, Volume XXXVII, Colombo.
Dewaraja, L.S. (1972) Kandyan Kingdom Ceylon 1707-1782, Colombo: Lake House Publishers.

Dewasiri, N. R. (2008) Adaptable Peasant: Agrarian Society in Western Sri Lanka under the Dutch Rule, 1740-1800, Leiden: Brill.
Gunawardane, K. W. (1958) Foundation of the Dutch Power in Ceylon, Amsterdam: Netherlands Institute for International Cultural Relations.

Kanapathypillai, (1969) Dutch Rule in Maritime Ceylon, unpublished PhD thesis, University of London.

Kotelawele, D.A. (1968) The Dutch in Ceylon, 1743-1766, unpublished PhD thesis, University of London.

Peris, Ralph. (1956) Sinhalese Social Organisation, Colombo: The Ceylon University Press Board.

Roberts, Michael (1982) Caste conflict and elite formation: The Rise of a Karava Elite in Sri Lanka 1500-1931, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.