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Ceylon Collection

History Archive - Ceylon Collection

Ceylon (se-lon'), an island and British colony in the Indian Ocean, southeast of India. Its greatest length is 266 miles; its greatest width 140 miles; area, 25,332 square miles. The sea of sapphire-blue beating against tall rocks and the rich evergreen forests towering above, till they are lost in the clouds, make a picture that can vie with any scenery in the world.

In the north of the island ruined cities have been discovered, bringing to light rock-hewn temples, cave temples, relic shrines which almost compare with the pyramids of Egypt and gigantic water-tanks on which an immense amount of labor must have been bestowed. The Portuguese settled on the island in 1517, but were driven out by the Dutch in 1658, who were in turn conquered by the British, in 1796. The chief town is Colombo (population, 158,228). Population, chiefly Singhalese and Tamils, 3,592,397.

Surface and Drainage. Rolling plains cover the most of the island, and in the south mountains rise 8,000 feet in height. There are but one important river and two natural harbors; but the breakwater, which has been built at the capital, Colombo, has brought the bulk of commerce thither.

Plants and Animals. Most of the great tropical plants and trees are found here, noticeably tree-ferns often 25 feet high, scarlet flowering rhododendrons and tufted bamboos. The largest animal is the elephant, usually without tusks. Of the natives, the most numerous are the Singhalese, who are believed to be colonists from the valley of the Ganges.

Products and Resources. The great exports are tea, coffee and cinchona bark. The gems of Ceylon are well known. Here are found sapphires, rubies, topazes, garnets and amethysts, while the pearl-fisheries form a great British monopoly.

People and Religion. The men look very womanish, with their delicate features, their earrings, their long hair brushed back from the forehead and held by combs and their waist-cloths like petticoats. The Singhalese are Buddhists and do homage to the footstep of Buddha on the top of Adam's Peak, while his tooth is carefully kept in a rich shrine. Good work is being done in Ceylon by Christian missions and schools.


The New Student's Reference Work (1914) pp. 361-362.

Available Books


Image Name
Riacotta in the Baramahal
Sandy Bay Valley in the island of St. Helena
Title Page
Title Page
Buddhist Temples at Bolgodde
Title Page
Tank Scene at Evening
The Encounter in the Kraal
Stalking a Herd
The Rock of Mulkirrigalle
A Melee
Manner of carrying the Sacred Book preparatory to the Administration of an Oath to a Brahmin
Front Cover
The Lake of Colombo and Slave Island, from the Glacis
Adam's Peak & Slave Island, from the Galle-Face Esplanade
Vishnu and Carticeyia in the Temple of Divinuara Maha Vishnu Dewawley
Pagoda at Tanjore
The Landing at Colombo
Sketch of the Island of Ceylon
Book Display
Fort Ostenburgh and the Harbour of Trincomallee
Colpitty, from the Cinnamon-Gardens
A Talipot Tree on Batticaloe
The Charge of Sixpences
The Elk's Leap
Mulgeerelenna seen from Kahawatta
Penacaratchy, between Coumpiorde and Coutchavelly
Adam's Peak & the Lake of Colombo, from the Galle-Barrier
Ruins at Pollanarua
The Ferry-House, at Pantura
Temple of Buddha at Arandera
View near Point de Galle, Ceylon
Candian and Malabar Dresses
Pagoda of Ramisseram
Fort of Columbo
View near the Village of Asceriah in Abyssinia
A View at Lucknow
The Pass of Atbara in Abyssinia
Title Page
View of Grand Cairo
The Hanging Bridge near Idemalpany
A View near the Roode Sand Pass at the Cape of Good Hope
The Duke Charged by an Elephant
The Fort of Colombo, from the Galle-Face Esplanade
The Town of Dixan in Abyssinia
Back Cover
Cingalese Dresses
Front Cover
Ruins of the Fort at Juanpore on the River Goomtee
Adam's Peak from the Duke's Pavilion
Title Page
View of Point de Galle from the South-east
Pagoda at Ramisseram
Back Cover
Cingalese Temple at Agrabodiganni
Back Cover
Title Page
Close Quarters
Ancient Excavations at Carli
Reception-Room in Alfred House
Death in the Pool
Laurus Cinnamonum
Front Cover
Elephant Snare at Kotawy
Pagoda at Trinchicunum
The Last Plunge
Title page. The Grand Archway leading to the Temple of Buddhu at Kalany
A view within the Fort of Monghyr
The Ferry & Rest-House, at Bentotte
Banyan Tree
Governor's House at Aripo
The Pyramids at Cairo
Alfred House
Mucculla in Abyssinia
View of Part of the Palace Including the Pateripooa and Part of the Nat Dewale from the Great Square
Title Page
Hold Fast
Title Page
Mosque at Lucknow
Caught at Last
Plan of Colombo
The Mountains of Samayut
Image of Buddha reclining
The Galle-Face Esplanade, from Middleburg Counterguard
Phrenzy's Fall
The Obelisk at Axum
The Vale of Calaat
The Great Elephant Kraal at Cottawya
The Fort of Trincomallee from the Governor's Bungaloe
Flag Staff at Point de Galle
The Town of Abha in Abyssinia
The Lake of Kandy
Cingalese and Malabar Alphabets


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