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Beyond Cinnamon: Dutch Interior Policy 1780-1795

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Chapter Summary

In 1789 a large map of the whole island of Sri Lanka was drawn up for Governor Willem Jacob van de Graaff, who is a forgotten figure in Dutch and Sri Lankan historiography. If he is mentioned at all, it is in relation to the cinnamon plantations or regarding his dramatic fate after he left Ceylon for Batavia. The disintegration of the Mughal empire, the British and French agitation in South India, the rise of strong regional power holders like the Sultan of Mysore and the general declining position of the VOC in the Indian Ocean brought the crisis close to the island, and changes in Dutch policies on interior Sri Lanka should be placed in the context of these developments. This chapter discusses these changes in policy as well as the international and local impulses for change. It also discusses the continued colonial intrusion in the core areas.

Keywords: cinnamon plantations; colonial intrusion; Dutch policies; Governor Willem Jacob van de Graaff; interior Sri Lanka; Mughal empire; Sultan of Mysore



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