The eighteenth century feels far away. What was life like in Sri Lanka back then? Kandyan temples, paintings and poetry remind us of an age of kings, courtly rituals and priests. The forts, churches and graveyards still scattered around Sri Lanka are reminders of Dutch colonialism, a violent and exploitative period. But who lived there at the time and what did they do?
This website offers snapshots of Lankan lives in the eighteenth century. It focuses on ordinary people from in and around Colombo who became entangled in the web of Dutch colonialism, as they encountered Dutch institutions, such as the Church and the legal courts. Their lives inform us about the struggles of eighteenth century Lankans and help us understand the structural impact of colonialism on society.