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Chapter Summary

In 1687 Rajasinghe II, the King of Kandy who counterbalanced the formidable threat of VOC power in Sri Lanka, passed away. This initiated a long period of peace between the Dutch administration in the coastal areas and Kandy. The redistribution of social labour, new ways of exploiting peasant labour and expanding opportunities for the acquisition of land changed the distribution of wealth in Sri Lankan society and consequently restructured class differentiations. It is clear how important the developments in the eighteenth century are for a proper understanding of the society that came out of the colonial encounter in south-western Sri Lanka. It is essential to revisit the eighteenth century from the wider perspective of ?Monsoon Asia? as most of the societies in this vast area not only faced a similar destiny in terms of the European-Asian encounter but also saw the unfolding of comparable historical forces.

Keywords: Dutch administration; peasant labour; social labour; Sri Lankan society; VOC power



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