British and Ceylon Cinnamon (1796-1948)


We have talked in previous articles about cinnamon cultivation and trade monopoly in Ceylon during the Portuguese rule, before 1600, and during the Dutch rule. Today we bring you this article about how economic and social changes in Sri Lanka during the British colonial rule: How the value of true cinnamon, a luxury commodity, gradually declined; Cinnamon cultivation has also spread to other countries. 

With the French Revolution of 1792-1801, the Dutch colonies also gradually fell to the British. By 1796, the Dutch reluctantly agreed to cede Ceylon to the British. By 1802, the Dutch, who had agreed with the British, withdrew from Ceylon, and all Dutch territories except the Kandian kingdom were under British control. Accordingly, Ceylon was controlled by the East India Company. But later events made the British realize the value of Ceylon. Around 1815, along with the Kandyan aristocracy, the whole of Ceylon became a colony in writing. 

After the Kandyan Pact of 1815, the British improved Ceylon’s commercial cultivation and infrastructure and expanded cinnamon cultivation to the southern and northwestern regions. The British started commercial cultivation of cocoa, tea, rubber, and coconut in Ceylon. A railway system was also established to transport products to the Port of Colombo, which is still in Sri Lanka today. 

Although the Portuguese and Dutch paid close attention to cinnamon cultivation, the British did not pay much attention to cultivation and encouraged other crops’ cultivation. The British also introduced Cinnamon cultivation in their other colonies. It is said that Ceylon was a British colony until 1948, during which time it developed rapidly. However, by the time the British left Ceylon in 1948, the British worked to bring down the price of cinnamon, a luxury item. But its fragrance still lingers today.

We think you already have an idea about the history of Ceylon and the colonial era. Accordingly, you already know how the evolution of cinnamon and the price change took place. Our next article will bring you the cultivation of cinnamon and the world market situation under local control to date. 

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