|Established||January 1, 1877|
|Location||Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, Colombo, Sri Lanka|
|Founder||Sir William Henry Gregory (British Governor of Ceylon 1872–1877)|
National Museum of Colombo, also known as the Sri Lanka National Museum is one of two museums in Colombo. It is the largest museum in Sri Lanka. It is maintained by the Department of National Museum of the central government. The museum holds contains a collections of much importance to Sri Lanka such as the regalia of the country, including the throne and crown of the Kandyan monarchs as well as many other exhibits telling the story of ancient Sri Lanka.
The Colombo Museum, as it was called at the beginning, was established on 1 January 1877. Its founder was Sir William Henry Gregory the British Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at the time. –1910) was able to prepare the plans for new structure on Italian Architectural style. The construction was completed in 1876 and the museum commenced it functions in the following year.The Royal Asiatic Society (CB) was instrumental in bringing to the notice of Gregory on his appointment as governor in 1872 the need for a public Museum with much difficulty the approval of the legislative council was obtained within a year. The Architect of the Public Works Department, James George Smither (1833
The construction of the museum was carried out by Arasi Marikar Wapchie Marikar –1925, aka Wapchi Marikar, who was descended from the Sheiq Fareed family who arrived in Ceylon in 1060), paternal grandfather of Sir Razik Fareed. Wapchi Marikar was the builder of the General Post Office in Colombo, Colombo Customs, Old Town Hall in Pettah, Galle Face Hotel, Victoria Arcade, Finlay Moir building, the Clock Tower, Batternburg Battery and many other buildings that are still standing today (2011). The Old Town Hall in Pettah, which is now a busy market, was built on a contract for the sum of 689 Sterling Pounds.(1829
In January 1877, the completed building of the Colombo Museum was declared open by Governor Gregory, in the presence of a large crowd, amongst which there were many Muslims present. At the end of the ceremony, the governor asked Wapchi Marikar what honour he wished to have for his dedication. He asked the same question of the carpenter S.M. Perera who was responsible for the woodwork of the museum, who requested and was awarded a local rank. Marikar requested that the museum be closed on Fridays, the Muslim sabbath; this request was granted and maintained, although the museum later much opened on all days except public holidays
When the throne of the last Kandyan King was to be exhibited at the museum, the then prime minister, Mr. D.S. Senanayake, obtained the consent of Sir Razik Fareed, Wapchi Marikar’s grandson, to keep the museum open on the intervening Fridays only.
During the period between 1877 and 1999, the authorities of the museum took various steps to display the cultural and natural heritage of the country for this purpose. Several other wings were added from time to time under the direction of Dr. Arthur Willey and Dr. Joseph Pearson new structures were built during the period of Dr. P.E.P. Deraniyagala, Dr. P.H.D.H. de Silva and Sirinimal Lakdusinghe. One of the natural history museum, and yet another consists of the auditorium. These buildings would facilitate the extension of the library ethnological and Anthropological studies, etc.
The museum was given the status of a national museum during the period of P. E. P. Deraniyagala. He opened branch museums in Jaffna, Kandy, and Ratnapura and a fully-fledged department of national museum was established in 1942 under the act No. 31. Nine branch museums were ultimately opened, and a school science programme and a mobile museum service are also in operation.
The museum has a copy of the Statue of Tara, a three-quarter life size statue of Tara currently held in the British Museum.The crown jewels and the throne of the last King of Kandy, which were returned to Sri Lanka by the British Government, were added to the museum collection. Ground floor galleries are arranged in historical sequence, and upper galleries thematically.
A library was also established on 1 January 1877. The government Oriental library (1870) was incorporated into Colombo National Museum library, and served as the nucleus of the library collection by collecting the local publications of the past 129 years; the library has been functioning as an unofficial national library in Sri Lanka, and became the first legal deposit library in the island. From its inception, special attention was given to building up of a collection related to Sri Lanka, Orientation and Natural Science.
In 1982 Dr. Thelma Gunawardena became the first woman director of the National Museum of Colombo.She served from 1982 through 1994.
From 1972 to 1991, Prof. Pandula Andagama was the Head of the Anthropology Division, and the Assistant Director of the National Museum. In his tenure, he established an anthropological deposit in the National Museum.He also organized many temporary exhibitions in the National Museum.
The Colombo National Museum Library was also established on 1 January 1877 incorporating the Government Oriental Library that had been established in 1870. Since 1885, by law, a copy of every document printed in the country is required to be lodged with the museum library.
Colombo is the commercial capital and largest city of Sri Lanka by population. According to the Brookings Institution, Colombo metropolitan area has a population of 5.6 million, and 752,993 in the city proper. It is the financial centre of the island and a tourist destination. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to the Greater Colombo area which includes Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the legislative capital of Sri Lanka and Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia. Colombo is often referred to as the capital since Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is itself within the urban/suburban area of Colombo. It is also the administrative capital of the Western Province and the district capital of Colombo District. Colombo is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern life, colonial buildings and monuments.
Kandy is a major city in Sri Lanka located in the Central Province. It was the last capital of the ancient kings' era of Sri Lanka. The city lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy plateau, which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea. Kandy is both an administrative and religious city and is also the capital of the Central Province. Kandy is the home of the Temple of the Tooth Relic, one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist world. It was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988. Historically the local Buddhist rulers resisted Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial expansion and occupation.
The Kandyan Wars refers generally to the period of warfare between the British colonial forces and the Kingdom of Kandy, on the island of what is now Sri Lanka, between 1796 and 1818. More specifically it is used to describe the expeditionary campaigns of the British Army in the Kingdom of Kandy in 1803 and 1815.
The Colombo Dutch Museum is a museum that covers the history of the Dutch colonial rule in Sri Lanka.
King Rajasinghe II, also known as Rajasingha II, was a Sinhalese King, reigned 1629 – 6 December 1687; third king of the kingdom of Kandy in Sri Lanka. Rajasingha requested Dutch aid to help expel the Portuguese from the island, which they successfully did in 1656. By this time however it had become clear to the Kandyans that the Dutch not only intended to expel the Portuguese but to replace them as the major colonial power on the island. This transfer of power is also believed to be where the Sinhala idiom / figure of speech “ඉඟුරු දී මිරිස් ගත්තා වාගේ” was originated - in reference that the Dutch Rule was much more of a menace to the king and cruel to the people in the island than the Portuguese. From 1645 onwards Rajasingha was engaged in sporadic warfare with his erstwhile allies.
Mudali was a colonial title and office in Ceylon which was part of the native headman system. The Portuguese colonials created the Mudaliyar class in the 17th century by enlisting natives of different castes from the coastal areas.
The Colombo Cricket Club (CCC) is a first-class cricket club in Sri Lanka. It is the oldest in the country, having been formed in 1863, and is headquartered at 31 Maitland Crescent, Colombo 7, close to the headquarters of Sri Lanka Cricket.
Moors Sports Club is a first-class cricket team based in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The Kingdom of Kandy was a monarchy on the island of Sri Lanka, located in the central and eastern portion of the island. It was founded in the late 15th century and endured until the early 19th century.
Walauwa or walawwa is the name given to a feudal/colonial manor house in Sri Lanka of a native headmen. It also refers to the feudal social systems that existed during the colonial era.
The former Colombo General Post Office, at 17 Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo Fort, was the headquarters of the Sri Lanka Post and the office of the Postmaster General for over one hundred years, from 1895 until 2000.
Tuan Burhanuddin Jayah, was a Sri Lankan educationalist, politician, diplomat and Muslim community leader and considered one of Sri Lanka's national heroes. He started his career as a school teacher and retired after serving 27 years as the principal of Zahira College, Colombo. Under his stewardship, Zahira College became one of the leading schools in the country.
Kottawa is one of main suburbs in Colombo and is administered by the Maharagama Urban Council. It is located 21 km (13 mi) from the centre of Colombo.
Sir Razik Fareed, OBE, JP, UM, was a Ceylonese landed proprietor, politician, diplomat and philanthropist. He was the former Cabinet Minister of Trade, Senator, member of parliament and the state council. He had also served as Ceylon's High Commissioner to Pakistan.
The National Museum of Kandy in Kandy, Sri Lanka is located next to the Temple of the Tooth in part of the former Royal Palace of Kandy. The primary exhibits are housed in the Palle Vahala building, which was the former home of the King's harem. A secondary exhibition is located in the main palace building. The museum is maintained by the Department of National Museums.
The Danture campaign comprised a series of encounters between the Portuguese and the Kingdom of Kandy in 1594, part of the Sinhalese–Portuguese War. It is considered a turning point in the indigenous resistance to Portuguese expansion. For the first time in Sri Lanka a Portuguese army was essentially annihilated, when they were on the verge of the total conquest of the island. A 20,000-strong Portuguese army, led by Governor Pedro Lopes de Sousa, invaded Kandy on 5 July 1594. After three months, severely depleted by guerilla warfare and mass desertions, what remained of the Portuguese army was annihilated at Danture by the Kandyans under King Vimaladharmasuriya. With this victory, the Kingdom of Kandy emerged as a major military power; it was to retain its independence, against Portuguese, Dutch, and British armies, until 1815.
Gate Mudaliyar Jeronis de Soysa was a pioneering Ceylonese entrepreneur and philanthropist. He was a pioneer coffee planter and an industrialist who became the wealthiest Ceylonese of the 19th century by establishing the largest native commercial enterprise of the era. He was instrumental in the establishment of the first Ceylonese bank and is often referred to as a father of private enterprise in British Ceylon. He was the first Mudaliyar to be elevated in recognition of his philanthropy.
The Sinhalese–Portuguese War was a series of conflicts waged from 1527 to 1658 during the Transitional and Kandyan periods in Sri Lanka between the Sinhalese kingdoms and their allies, against the Portuguese Empire. The Crisis of the Sixteenth Century (1521–1597), started with the Vijayabā Kollaya, the division of the Sinhala Kingdom, then centered at Kotte. The country was divided among three brothers resulting in a series of Wars of Succession. It was also at this time that the Portuguese, whose arrival in Sri Lanka was largely accidental, intruded into the internal affairs of Sri Lanka, establishing control over the maritime regions of the island and sought to control its lucrative external trade.
British Garrison Cemetery is a British cemetery in Kandy, Sri Lanka, for British nationals who died in Ceylon. It was established in 1817 just after British captured the Kandy and closed in 1873 due to a ban on burials within the municipal limits, although special provision was given to allow the burial of relatives of those interred in the cemetery, with last person buried there being Annie Fritz in 1951. The cemetery contains 195 graves of men, women and children. The most common causes of death were tropical diseases such as malaria and cholera.