Category Archives: Portuguese in Indian Ocean

Sri Lankan Baila: Its Roots and Variations

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya, courtesy of THE CEYLANKAN, Vol XXI, No 3, August 2018 … with highlighting emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi

The extraordinary love of the Portuguese for music is epitomised at El Ksar el Kabir in Morocco, in 1578, where 10 000 guitars lay on the battlefield, near the dead Portuguese soldiers. The Portuguese took guns and guitars to battlefields! Is it surprising that the Portuguese presence is vibrant through Sri Lankan popular music – Baila?

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Hardy Women: Yesterday’s Africans in Today’s Lanka

African sisters in Sri Lanka

On the road to Sirambiyadi

On the road to Sirambiyadi

In every culture family is an important element of human life. For centuries Ceylon had been a maritime domain for foreign traders, defiant conquerors and zealous missionaries. All these foreigners left behind their ancestors, who with time, integrated into our society. There were many nationalities who lived here in those ancient times – Arabs, Europeans, Indians and Africans. Much focus has been given to the various ethnic clans, but, people of African origin domiciled here were marginalised. Once in a while, these African-Sri Lankans would capture our attention via a youtube song video. One of the last such families of direct African origin live in Puttalam. The name Puttalam, is believed to be derived from the Tamil word “upputhalam” – uppu meaning salt and thalam meaning area of production, thus Puttalam is still famous for salt.

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Fr. S G Perera: A Pioneer Historian in Modern Times

Chryshane Mendis, in the 20th Century Historian Series …… https://www.archaeology.lk/6055

The student of the colonial history of Sri Lanka has undoubtedly come upon the name of S. G. Perera in their studies. Fr. S. G. Perera, a Catholic Priest of the Society of Jesus was an exemplary scholar of the last century and whose parallels are unheard of. Publishing over a dozen books and over 300 articles in journals, his contributions to the history of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka and the history of the Portuguese, Dutch and British periods of the island have aided the development of historical knowledge to a great extent in Sri Lanka; what could be called his magnum opus, the translation of the ‘Conquista’ of the 17th century Portuguese historian Fr. Queyroz, is the single most important Portuguese literary work which is the basis for any historical study on the Portuguese period. His proficiency of the Portuguese language gave him access to numerous original sources which he has translated and made available to the public is part of the wonderful legacy of this great historian of Lanka.

 Fr. S. G. Perera (image from The Aloysian 1946-1950, Volume 06, No. 03)

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Understanding Military Organisation via the Sinhala War Poems – the Hatana Kaavya

Cenan Pirani: Widening the study of military organization in the early modern South Asian context: an examination of the Sinhala Hatana Kavya”, in South Asian History & Culture, Vol9/2, April 2018, pp. 207-24.

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Hai Hoyi … Baila Natamu! Sri Lankan Baila

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya, in The Island, 2 May 2014

The extraordinary love of the Portuguese for music is epitomised at El Ksar el Kabir in Morocco, 1578, where 10,000 guitars lay on the battlefield, near the dead Portuguese soldiers. The Portuguese took guns and guitars to battlefields! Is it surprising that the Portuguese presence is vibrant through Sri Lankan popular music – Baila?

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Baththalangunduwa: An Isle Intriguing

Maneshka Borham, in Sunday Island, 28 January 2018

Around 38 kilometers or 20 nautical miles from the town of Kalpitiya off the Dutch Bay lies the island of Baththalangunduwa. A thin strip of an island about a mere five square kilometers in size, it is one of the few inhabited ones off the coast of Kalpitiya. However, despite  being a thriving fishing village, the island in its recent times has also become a popular destination for travellers looking for adventure off the beaten track.

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The Beira Lake in Colonial Times

Shannine Daniel, courtesy of The Roar, 14 December 2017  where the title runs “The Beira Lake and its colonial history”

The man-made lakes—or tanks—constructed in Sri Lanka were built with one purpose in mind: to hold the rainwater which would help with agricultural activities throughout the year. There are several stories related to the history of such tanks, many of which were made by the kings. The Beira Lake, however, located in the city of Colombo, was built for a completely different reason—and not by one of our ancient kings either.

Thr Lake today

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