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Title: Dutch power in Ceylon, 1658-1687
Author: Arasaratnam, Sinnappah
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1956
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This thesis is a study of Dutch policy in Ceylon in the first thirty years after its establishment in all its aspects. In its political aspect, the main interest of our period centres round Dutch relations with Raja Sinha of Kandy and occupies the first five Chapters of this work. In the last five Chapters attention is centred on the administrative, economic, and social aspects of Dutch rule in Ceylon. When the Portuguese were expelled from the island in 1658, the new situation called for new policies. The alliance between the Dutch and the Kandyans and the cooperation of the previous period changed to mutual distrust and even antagonism. Various factors operated in the direction of the territorial expansion of the Dutch, while others tended to restrain this urge. The rebellion of 1664 in Kandy, however, released forces of expansion and ushered in a five-year period annexation of territory by the Dutch by diverse means. From 1670 onwards, the Kandyan power, realising the threat to its independence, bestirred itself and began to take countermeasures. There followed a period of Dutch-Kandyan conflict that continued indecisively for over seven years. The conflict was ruinous to both parties and towards the end of Raja Sinha's reign it crystallised into a position of stalemate. The period is noted more for political than for economic activity. Yet the impact of Dutch policy on society is clearly discernible. Their land policy and their efforts to increase production introduced some element of change in the social structure. The Dutch realised Ceylon's position in the pattern of trade in South Asia and fitted themselves into this pattern. Their subsequent attempt to monopolise the island's trade affected the country's economy adversely. The introduction of such new elements as the colony of 'free burghers' and the Protestant faith were to influence the country more and more as the period advanced.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral