A History of Sri Lanka

A History of Sri Lanka

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Book Specification

Item Code: IDF024
Author: K.M. de Silva
Publisher: Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 0144000156
Pages: 800 (Maps: 8, B & W Illus: 27)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5" X 5.5"
Weight 870 gm

Book Description

From the Jacket :

Sri Lanka is an ancient civilization, shaped and thrust into the modern globalizing world by its colonial experience. With its own unique problems, many of them historical legacies, it is a nation trying to maintain a democratic, pluralistic state structure, while struggling to come to terms with separatist aspirations. This is a complex story and there is perhaps no better person to present it in reasoned, scholarly terms than K.M. de Silva, Sri Lanka's most distinguished and prolific historian.

A History of Sri Lanka, first published in 1981, has established itself as the standard work on the subject. This full revised edition, in light of the most recent research, brings the story right up tot he early years of the twenty-first century. The book provides comprehensive coverage of all aspects of Sri Lanka's development - from a classical Buddhist society and irrigation economy, to its emergence as a tropical colony producing some of the world's most important cash crops, such as cinnamon, tea, rubber and coconut, and finally as an Asian democracy. It is a study of the political vicissitudes of Sri Lanka's ancient civilization and the successive phases of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial rule. The unfortunate consequences of becoming a centre of ethnic tension and Sri Lanka's long-standing relationship with India are also discussed.

Exhaustively researched and analytical, this book is an invaluable reference sources for students of ancient, colonial and post-colonial societies, ethnic conflict and democratic transitions, as well as for all those who simply want to get a feel of the rich and varied texture of Sri Lanka's long history.

About the Author:

K.M. de Silva is Executive Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), Kandy/Colombo, Sri Lanka, a post he has held since the establishment of the ICES in 1982.

Apart from his long association with the University of Ceylon (now the University of Peradeniya), Professor de Silva has held several distinguished positions including Smuts Visiting Fellow in Commonwealth Studies and Visiting Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, President, International Association of Historians of Asia and Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington.

Professor de Silva's publications include Social Policy and Missionary Organisations in Ceylon, 1840-55 (1965),Managing Ethnic Tensions in Multiethnic Societies: Sri Lanka, 18880-1985 (1986), Regional Powers and Small State Security: India and Sri Lanka, 1977-1990 and reaping the Whirlwind: Ethnic Conflict and Ethnic Politics in Sri Lanka (1998). He has been editor of Ethnic Studies Report, one of the editors of the International Journal of Group Rights and has been on the advisory board of The Round Table.

K.M. de Silva was selected as the Academic Prize Laureate (2002) of the 13th Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes. The Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes were established in 1990 by Fukuoka City, Japan, to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Asian scholarship and culture. Professor de Silva is the first Sri Lankan Fukuoka Laureate.


Abbreviations ix
Glossary xi
Preface and Acknowledgements xvi
1. Colonizers and Settlers 1
2. The Anuradhapura Kingdom I: Aspects of Political History from Saddhatissa to the Cola Conquest 18
3. The Anuradhapura Kingdom II: An Irrigation Civilization 32
4. The Anuradhapura Kingdom III: The Political Economy 43
5. The Anuradhapura Kingdom IV: A Buddhist Civilization 60
6. The Polonnaruva Kingdom: Indian Summer of Sinhaleses Power 81
7. The Fragmentation of the Sri Lankan Polity: From c. 1250 to the End of the Fifteenth Century 109
8. The Periphery Stakes A Claim 127
9. The Crisis of the Sixteenth Century 142
10. Portuguese Rule in the Maritime Regions, c. 1600-58 163
11. The Kandyan Kingdom at Bay, 1658-87 184
12. The Struggle for Mastery over Sri Lanka, c. 1680-1766 196
13. Trade and Agriculture Under the VOC 217
14. The VOC in Sri Lanka: The Last Phase, 1767-96 237
15. The Impact of Dutch Rule 249
16. Religion, Literature and the Arts in the Kandyan Kingdom 265
17. The English East India Company in Sri Lanka, 1796-1802 275
18. The Fall of the Kandyan Kingdom 287
19. Economic and Social Change in the Early Nineteenth Century, 1802-32 307
20. Crown Colony Government, 1802-32 325
21. An ERA of Reform and Reconstruction, 1833-50 338
22. A Plantation Economy, 1850-1910 360
23. Peasant Agriculture, 1850-1910 378
24. The Consolidation of British Rule: The Triumph of Conservatism 399
25. Education and Social Change in the Late Nineteenth Century 413
26. Religion and the Rise of Nationalism, c. 1870-1900 427
27. Politics and Constitutional Reform in the Late Nineteenth Century 447
28. Political Change in the Early Twentieth Century 464
29. Elite Conflict and the Ceylon National Congress, 1921-28 483
30. Social and Economic Change in the Early Twentieth Century, 1910-28 498
31. The Donoughmore Commission and its Recommendations, 1927-31 516
32. The Politics of the Transfer of Power, The First Phase, 1931-42 531
33. D.S. Senanayake and the Passage to Dominion Status, 1942-47 554
34. Social and Economic Change in the Donoughmore ERA, 1931-47 570
35. Literature and the Arts: The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries 590
36. Sri Lanka Since Independence: The Dominance of the UNP, 1947-56 600
37. Linguistic Nationalism and A Socialist Experiment, 1956-77 626
38. A Change of Regime: 1977-94 681
Epilogue: 1994 and after 703
Notes 709
Sri Lanka's Rulers: A Chronological List 738
Bibliography 746
Further Reading 759
Index 763

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