Catalogue description Colonial Office and predecessors: Ceylon, Original Correspondence

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Details of CO 54
Reference: CO 54
Title: Colonial Office and predecessors: Ceylon, Original Correspondence

This series contains original correspondence relating to Ceylon. Included are reports and papers of the Commissioners of Eastern Inquiry between 1830 and 1835.

Date: 1798-1949

Bound volumes arranged chronologically within the following subject headings: Despatches (letters of the governors), Offices (letters of government departments and other organisations) and Individuals (arranged alphabetically). Each volume with a contents list, or précis of each letter giving name of correspondent, date of letter and subject matter. From 1926 correspondence is arranged in subject files.

Related material:

For further records of the Commissioners of Eastern Enquiry in Ceylon see CO 416

For later records relating to Ceylon see DO 35

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Colonial Office, 1854-1966

War and Colonial Department, Commissioners of Eastern Inquiry in Ceylon, 1828-1830

Physical description: 1004 files and volumes
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Unpublished finding aids:

For registers of correspondence see CO 326 before 1850, CO 337 after 1850. For indexed précis of correspondence see CO 714.

Administrative / biographical background:

Britain captured the Dutch settlements in Ceylon in 1796 and annexed the territory to Madras. In 1802 the settlements in Ceylon became a separate colony. In 1815 the Kandyan kingdom of the interior was overcome and the whole island came under British government. A governor was first appointed in 1798 and a council of government was set up in 1801. This was replaced in 1833 by an executive council and a nominated legislative council. The latter became partly elective in 1910. In 1931 a new constitution was established. Ceylon became a fully self-governing member of the Commonwealth on 4 February 1948. On 22 May 1972 Ceylon adopted a new constitution as the Republic of Sri Lanka within the Commonwealth.

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