Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

New Elites

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

The social stratification of the indigenous Ceylonese society in the nineteenth century has hitherto been analysed mostly along the lines of elite concepts. Patrick Peebles and Michael Roberts describe an elite as "a social formation which commands most of what others in a particular society want and maintains an influential position that enables it to provide leadership". When the British took over the former Dutch territories in 1796, their financial and administrative resources were limited. The Portuguese and the Dutch recruited their mudaliyars almost exclusively from the Sinhalese goyigama and the Tamil vellala caste. Although the mudaliyars' elite status was a product of colonial interference, they felt and behaved like true aristocrats. The increasing importance of external moneylenders, who provided entire villages with credits, marks the transition from internal village debt to external debt.

Keywords:British; Ceylonese society; elite status; Michael Roberts; moneylenders; mudaliyars; Patrick Peebles; Sinhalese goyigama; Tamil vellala caste



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    From Coffee to Tea Cultivation in Ceylon, 1880-1900 — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation