SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Wickremeratne, Upali Chandrabhaya (1964) The British Administration of the Maritime Provinces of Ceylon 1796-1802. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

PDF - Submitted Version
Download (80MB) | Preview


The Maritime Provinces of Ceylon consisted of all the land around its coast which was acknowledged as not belonging to the Kingdom of Kandy. Between 1796-1802 they were governed by the English East India Company. The Government was faced with many difficulties. They were ignorant of the languages of the country and of its real condition. The Mudaliyars, the former employees of the Dutch Company and the Muslim renters and traders wielded considerable influence. The real importance of the period is the many relationships which the Government reached with these groups without whose support their rule would have been imperilled. These relations took the form of the maintenance of the caste--system, the restoration of the headmen to their administrative positions, the employment of the Dutch as European officials and the use of the renting system for the collection of taxes. The shadow of their power also fell over other policies. The ingenuity of the Mudaliyars allied to British ignorance prevented the land-tenure system from being worked. The same reasons reduced the success of North's agricultural policy. The Madras administration tried to correct the balance of trade in Ceylon's favour by waiving all export duties. In this they failed. North for his part steered clear of general trade policies. Both the Madras administration and North refrained from interfering with the private traders. As far as commercial crops were concerned the Madras administration wanted to have them reproduced in India Although North opposed such a policy Ceylon's commercial products with a few exceptions continued to be neglected in his period. North was more active than his predecessors in spreading Christianity, distributing charity and fighting small-pox. Although North did enjoy a measure of success in his battle against small-pox, the benefit of his charity accrued mainly to one racial group - the burghers.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:32

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item