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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What is the history and culture of Colombo?

Nitin Gurha DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

The historical account of a place as fascinating as Colombo never tires to entice you to further explore its untold terrains and street folds. Don’t you agree? Well, the following paragraphs will validate your agreement.

Colombo, which earlier used to be the capital city of Sri Lanka, is now the commercial and financial capital of the country after the administrative capital was moved to Sri
Jayawardenapura Kotte. Since this city of this island country is a natural harbour, it occupies a strategic position as a major trade route along many sea routes, allowing the influx of Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Chinese traders over 2000 years ago. The famed traveller and geographical explorer Ibn Batuta also visited the city in 14th century.

  • Portuguese Era

    This port-city was christened so by the Portuguese in 1505, after the famous sea adventurer Christopher Columbus, the Italian sailor who lived in Portugal for many years. The Portuguese arrived in the city in the same year led by Lourenço de Almeida. They were allowed by the King of Kotte Parakramabahu VIII (1484–1508) to build a trading port here. However, they soon began to become more ambitious. They began to expel the native Muslim inhabitants here and play the members of the royal family against each-other. Initially they were offered relentless opposition by the Sinhalese King Mayadunne and forced them to abandon the Kotte kingdom which they had acquired, and retreat to Colombo. However, Mayadunne’s kingdom fell in 1593, and subsequently the Portuguese established control over the entire coastal region making Colombo their capital.

  • Dutch Era

    As a part of a treaty with King Rajasinha II of Kandy, the Dutch fought a collective war against the Portuguese.  Beginning their quest in 1639, the Dutch managed to oust the Portuguese rulers by 1656. However, they retracted on their agreement with the erstwhile native rulers and instead established monopoly over the country’s richest cinnamon lands. Colombo served as their trading capital, functioning under Dutch East India Company till as late as 1796.

  • British Era

    The British colonizers captured Colombo in 1796. By 1815, they had established an administrative and political monotony over the port-town. The first man assigned the administration of the city was John MacDowell.

    In 1865, a
    Municipal Council, called Legislative Council of Ceylon, was established with the purpose of training the local population of self-governance. The British have instrumental in much of the planning and constructing civilian structures in and around this fort town that the Portuguese had left behind.

  • Post-Independence to Present Day

    The town attained independence peacefully in 1948. As a result, there was an attempt to uproot almost entirely the former cultural setup. In terms of region, lifestyle, laws, customs and other everyday cultural factors, the city saw drastic changes. Yet, even today, the city’s demography and its population show visible cultural influences of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British in terms of their architecture, administration, education, clothing, lifestyle and language, etc.

    The port-city harbours most of Sri Lanka’s major commercial establishments, entertainment venues, restaurants and governing councils. This vibrant city is forever pulsating modernised lifestyle and is the largest city in Sri Lanka. Against the essentially rural backdrop of Sri Lanka, this city gives an impression of a fast-developing and urbanising city.

Now, isn’t that quite an exhaustive overview of this amazing metropolitan that greets its guests with immense hospitality and respect? Well, gear up to spend your next vacations here.

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