Archeological remains in Batticaloa: The Dutch and the Portuguese in East.

Written by Marco Ramerini


*Batticaloa:        

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This fort was built by the Portuguese in 1628 and was the first to be captured by the Dutch (18 May 1638).

It’s the most picturesque of the small Dutch fort of Sri Lanka, it’s situated in an island, still in good condition.

Near Batticaloa the Portuguese had a tiny fort at Tanavare (there is a map of it). No remains.


The Portuguese language heritage in the East: Written by Marco Ramerini

Portuguese Burghers in Batticaloa and other places.(Koolavaddy, Mamangam, Uppodai, Dutch Bar, Akkaraipattu); Trincomalee (Palayuttu); Kaffir communities of Mannar and Puttalam.

It's now used at home only. It was spoken by 250 families in Batticaloa as late as 1984.

There are still 100 families in Batticaloa and Trincomalee and about 80 Afro-Sinhalese (Kaffir) families in Puttalam.

In Batticaloa there is the Burgher Recreio Clube "Shamrock" or "Batticaloa Catholic Burgher Union".

There is a little community of Portuguese descendants in the village of   WahaKotte (Central Sri Lanka, six kilometers from Galewala on the road between Galewala and Matale), they are Roman Catholic, but it's about two generations that Portuguese Creole it's not more spoke.


The Portuguese initially came to this island in 1501 as traders, but they stayed in occupation of the Maritime Provinces by force of arms until they were expelled by the Dutch in 1638.

Under the command of Admiral Joris Van Spilbergen, on the 31 May 1602, the first Dutch ships that visited Ceylon anchored off the port of Batticaloa.

In 1602, Admiral Joris Van Spilbergen, a high official of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), a joint stock company founded in that year, set foot on the shores of eastern Sri Lanka, South of Batticaloa and was received by King Wimaladharmasuriya, in Kandy. The Dutch too came to trade but they stayed in control of the maritime areas by force of arms, having systematically ousted the Portuguese from these areas of the island, until they too were ousted in 1796, this time by the British, who like the others, having come to trade, gained possession of the whole island by force of arms and remained in occupation of it until 1948. This, in a few words, is the sad saga of a hospitable nation that lost its independence for nearly 450 years.

During the British period of our history, the Dutch Burgher community played an unparalleled role in the enrichment of public life of this country. In literally every walk of life in Sri Lanka the Dutch Burghers have made an outstanding contribution. In doing so they showed that our national life could be greatly enriched, that there is a contribution to be made, by all the citizens of our diverse society, if only they look beyond the narrow constraints of ethnicity. Our public life is started with the names of eminent, legendary figures from that community. They produced great judges and lawyers, outstanding doctors, writers, historians, sociologists, archaeologists, administrators, teachers and professors, scientists, legislators.

The Dutch Reformed Church has been a great pillar of Sri Lankan life for a long time.

The Dutch Burgher community excelled not only in exalted positions in our society. They also performed with great credit, quietly, effectively, in various other areas of our national life-in the police, the armed services, in the railways, in sport. They gave to the country a Commander of the Army, a Commander of the Navy and an Inspector General of Police. Some of the pioneer sportsmen of our country came from that community. There are very few Dutch Burghers left in Sri Lanka; they began to melt away, perhaps most markedly in the decades of the 50s. Their departure has greatly impoverished our public life. Many of them migrated to Australia, others over the decades went to other countries, but in Australia there are a large number of them, and there too they are playing a notable role as good solid citizens.

Portugal lost Ceylon in 1658.


History of the Burgher

Written by Marco Ramerini