Ceylon tea

Things You May Not Have Known About Ceylon

Ceylon is one of the popular holiday destinations in Southern Asia. This tiny island is known to the world since the pre-Christian era.

Things You May Not Have Known About Ceylon

Ceylon or Sri Lanka is one of the popular holiday destinations in Asia. This tiny island is known to the world since the pre-Christian era. Yet, there are many people, who have not even heard of this beautiful tropical island. After ending the thirty years of civil war in the northern territory of the country, it has become one of the safest places for tourists in the region. Today the island is experiencing a so-called tourist boom and has been given an important place in the tourist’s radar. In this post, I have formulated a list of several tips under the title of “8 Things You May Not Have Known About Ceylon”.

1) Ceylon or Sri Lanka

Ceylon is the most recent ancient name of the island of Sri Lanka, which is located in southern Asia. This tiny island was known by many names in the past. Lanka, Ceylan, Ceilao, Ratnadeepa, Serendib, Serendipity, Pearl of the Orient are several names of the island in the past. Ceylon was the official name of the country during the British occupation. The present name Sri Lanka was adopted in 1972 under the independent government of the island.

2) Ceylon Tea

World-renowned Tea is coming from the island of Sri Lanka (former Ceylon). Even today Sri Lanka is a leading tea-producing nation in the world. Tea is the 2nd most important industry on the island.

3) Is Sri Lanka Safe?

YES indeed, Sri Lanka is ranked among the safest countries around the world. There had been travel advisories in many countries, warning tourists to keep away from the island in the past. But since the end of the Civil war in 2009, Sri Lanka has become one of the safest holiday destinations in the world. Now it is time to explore this fascination tropical island.

4) Colonized by Europeans

Sri Lanka is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic country and western influence is clearly visible in the Sri Lankan culture and tradition. Sri Lanka was a colony of Portuguese, Dutch and British. Each colonial ruler controlled the island roughly about 150 years. The remnants of colonial rulers can be seen in many parts of the island. The colonial influence has been penetrated the life of people and it is visible in the governing pattern, legal system, language, custom and tradition of the country.

5) Colombo is actually not the capital of Ceylon or Sri Lanka

Colombo is the most populated city in the country. Colombo is about 35 km from the international airport of Sri Lanka and located on the west coast of the island. The population of the city estimated to be around 2 million. Colombo is not the capital of the island as most foreigners think. Colombo is the commercial centre of the island while Sri Jayawardena Pura is the capital of Sri Lanka.

6) Sri Lanka has had over the 30-year civil war

There had been 30 years civil war in the island of Sri Lanka and it was completely ended in 2009. An attempt by an armed group to separate the north and eastern parts of the island was the main reason for the civil war. The war engulfed Northern and eastern parts of the island making some devastating effects on the island. A large number of people has perished and several thousands of people were crippled in the war.

8) Sri Lanka suitable for a holiday’s throughout the year

Sri Lanka is a warm tropical country, which is suitable for holidays at any given time of the year. Sri Lanka is under the influence of monsoon and experiences heavy rainfall during the monsoon. South-West and North-East monsoon are the main contributors of the rainfall. Depending on the seasonality most suitable Holidays destination would be either eastern Sri Lanka or western Sri Lanka.

9) Survival of Dutch rule in Ceylon

The survivals of the Dutch occupation such as Dutch forts, churches, buildings, the Dutch system of law, and the favourable position of Dutch descendants, are due to the English rather than to the Dutch. For when the Dutch became masters, they destroyed ass vestiges of the Portuguese domination; they degraded the unfortunate Portuguese descendants by most cruel disabilities; they seized and destroyed Portuguese, “reformed” the Portuguese churches; burnt the Portuguese tombos, proscribed the Portuguese language and persecuted religion of the Portuguese. The English, on the contrary, preserved all they could. They employed the Dutch in the English service, retained their clergy and churches, kept most of the Dutch buildings intact and retained the Dutch legal system.


It is noteworthy that though the Dutch endeavoured to root out the Portuguese language, it survived to become the home language of the Dutch descendants and the only language of communication between the Dutch and the people of the country; and a century and a half after the expulsion of the Portuguese, a debased   form of Portuguese was the means of communication between the Dutch and English officials and between the early British officials and the people. Likewise in spite of all regulations in favour of the Dutch Reformed Church and the host of forced conversions, the Catholics were by far the largest Christian community in Ceylon at the beginning of British rule, as they are today.

Dutch words in Sinhalese

Many Dutch words have been naturalized in Ceylon. As in the case of Portuguese words, it is naturally the things that the Dutch introduced that still go by Dutch name. Such are for instance: kokis, cakes, (koekjes); aratepel ; bonchi,beans, (boontjes); hak, hook (haak); istoppuwa,verandah, (stoep); soldare, upstairs, (zolder); tarappuwa, staircase (trap); panama, penknife, (pennemes); lachchuwa, drawer, (laatje); kalukuns, turkeycock, (kalkoen); legal terms like budale, estate, (boedel); polmakkaraya, administrator of an estate (volmacht), kuitansiya, receipt (kwitantie); vendesiya, auction (vendietie); kakussiya, closet (kak-huis), karakoppava, churchyard, (kerkhof);  takseru, valuate, (taxeren); baas, (superintendent); notaries, (notaris); secretaries, (secretary); talka, (interpreter).

Incomplete account

Such is the brief though the incomplete account of the Dutch rule in Ceylon. Many facts relating to the Dutch government and the activities of the Company in this island have still to be brought to light, for, though practically every scrap of paper relating to the Dutch occupation still survives, little has so far been studied. The reason is chiefly that these papers are all written in Dutch, which is generally an unknown tongue in Ceylon and that the Dutch records were not freely accessible to the public. Moreover, these papers were first kept in the various kachcheris and were brought together only in the early 1990s.

Dutch records

These Dutch records consist chiefly of public papers of the government, such as tombos, proceedings of the council and the landraads, memoirs and diaries of governors and other documents relating to agriculture, irrigation, education, and transactions with the court of Kandy. It is altogether a unique collection of valuable manuscripts of which a few have been translated into English.