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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of part III of the book Dutch and British Colonial Intervention in Sri Lanka, 1780-1815: Expansion and Reform and its chapters. The chapters in part III discuss the problem of how the British dealt with the Dutch legacy and how they shaped their own government in the period between 1796 and 1815. This question is more complicated than it may seem at first. Historians have found it difficult to draw a systematic picture of this transitional period of British rule. Each had its own particular way of dealing with the Dutch legacy and with that of their British predecessors on the island. Jacob Burnand’s observation lifts a corner of the veil: as we shall see, the first government distanced itself as much as possible from the Dutch regime, whereas the last proclaimed to stay as close to the Dutch system of government as possible.

Keywords: British predecessors; British rule; Dutch legacy; Jacob Burnand; Sri Lanka

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