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Land Tenure And Its Changes

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Chapter Summary

This chapter attempts to understand the impact of the colonial intervention on land tenure in the western maritime region of Sri Lanka in the mid-eighteenth century. It explains the changes brought about in the traditional pre-colonial system of land tenure as a result of the ways in which the Dutch East India Company (VOC) administered its interests over lands and their tenants. Two factors brought about changes. On the one hand there were changes in the ways in which the sovereign?s share was calculated, administered and collected. On the other hand, innovative measures were taking place as to how lands and land revenue were used as a source of remuneration for servants of the state. In contrast to the importance that Kotalawele and others attribute to the dichotomy of accommodessan/paravēni, this chapter proposes an alternative dichotomy: paravēni lands/Company lands.

Keywords: colonial intervention; Dutch East India Company (VOC); land tenure; sovereign?s share; Sri Lanka



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