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


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