1815-1880 History of Ceylon Ceylon 1918-1931

Ceylon 1880-1918

Administration . The Legislative Council of 1909 for the first time included a number of a few elected representatives; elections were held based on literacy (in English) and property qualifications.

The Economy . The Ceylonese railroad network was extended from a total length of 224 km in 1880 to 1,146 km in 1918.; improved transportation permitted an expansion of the plantation economy.
The island produced tobacco, rubber, coffee, coconuts for export, but had to import rice from India. Other industries of importance included pearl fishing and mining (graphite, precious stones). In the 1880es, tea was introduced as a plantation plant, and Ceylon experienced a tea boom. Production of tea rose from 6,300 metric tons in 1887 to 98,000 metric tons in 1915, while that of coffee dropped from 9,000 metric tons in 1887 to 1,600 metric tons in 1894, and by 1909 had become insignificant.
B.R. Mitchell has established a table showeing the total values of exports and imports in aggregate current values. Imports exceeded exports throughout the period from 1880 to 1907, but from then on exports exceeded imports; total annual export figures dropped from 51 million Rupees in 1880 to 34 to 40 million Rupees in 1881-1888, then rose to 69 to 78 million Rupees in 1893-1897, on to 90 to 112 million Rupees in 1899-1906, then to sharply rise to 174 to 182 million Rupees in 1909-1911, and further to peak at 304 million Rupees in 1917, then to sharply drop to 184 million Rupees in 1918. (IHS pp.539, 543).
In 1896 the Colombo Brokers Association (predecessor of the Colombo Stock Exchange, of 1985) was established.

Social History . To work the plantations, further Tamils from southeastern India were brought into the country. In 1901, Ceylon had a population of 3,578,333; capital Colombo had 158,228 inhabitants. Of the island population, 1,458,320 were listed as lowland Sinhalese, 872,487 as Kandyan Sinhalese, 953,535 as Tamils, 228,706 as Moors and 23,539 as Burghers. The large majority (2,790,235) were illiterate.

Article Ceylon, from EB 1911
Article Ceylon, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908 edition
History of Sri Lanka, from Sri Lanka Web Window; from Wikipedia
Brief History of Sri Lanka Railways; The Railways of S.L., from Info Lanka
A Global History of Currencies : Sri Lanka, by B. Taylor
History of the Colombo Stock Exchange, from Wikipedia
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Sri Lanka, by Ben Cahoon, includes lists of governors of Ceylon and of Kings of Kandy
Historical Population Statistics : Sri Lanka, from Population Statistics
Personal Diary of Anagarika Dhammapala (1896-1897, Buddhist missionary who travelled from Ceylon to U.S.), posted on Anagarika Dhammapala Web Site
REFERENCE Patrick Peebles, The History of Sri Lanka, Westport CT : Greenwood 2006, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 954.93 P373h
Article : Ceylon, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1913 pp.623-625 (on events of 1912) [G]
Article : Ceylon, in : Statesman's Year Book 1895 pp.103-109, 1898 pp.103-109, 1901 pp.112-118, 1905 pp.116-122, 1910 pp.103-108, 1918 pp.99-104 [G]
Article : Ceylon, in : International Year Book 1898 pp.172-173, 1899 pp.172-173, 1900 pp.184-185 [G]
Article : Ceylon, in : New International Year Book 1907 pp.149-150, 1908 pp.136-137, 1909 pp.144-145, 1913 p.145, 1914 pp.145-146, 1916 p.125, 1918 p.118 [G]
IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on May 27th 2002, last revised on September 15th 2008

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