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Migrants And Mercenaries: Sri Lanka’s Hidden Africans

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the reason for African migration across the Indian Ocean highlighting the military contributions of Africans in Sri Lanka, who served both the European colonial powers and the Sri Lankan kings. Abyssinians were trading in Mannar, on the north-west coast of Sri Lanka. In Portugal, Africans were called negros and pretos. Sinhala and Tamil used it as Kāpiri and Kāpili. The Portuguese transported Africans from Mozambique. Kaffirs are in the Puttalama district, Kalpitiya, Mannar, Anuradhapura ,Colombo,Trincomalee and Batticaloa. The second attempt by the British to gain control of the Kandyan kingdom was prevented by the military might of an African who massacred the British Major. African migrants were brought to Sri Lanka due to commercial and military activities in the Indian Ocean. African mercenaries defended the Sinhalese kingdoms. Presently, they are concentrated in the Puttalama district of the North-Western Province.

Keywords:Africans; British; Indian Ocean; Kaffirs; Kandyan kingdom; Mercenaries; Migrants; Mozambique; Puttalama district; Sri Lanka

10.1163/ej.9789004162914.i-196.101
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004162914.i-196.101
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