Abstract

Among the cardinal weaknesses of existing studies on British land policy in Ceylon is the almost total neglect of any reference to the theoretical foundations of this policy, and the tendency to study the situation in Ceylon in isolation instead of against the background and within the wider context of a colonial land policy. These weaknesses are all the more glaring for the years from c. 1830 to 1855 when a common land policy was gradually but systematically imposed throughout the British Empire, and an institutional apparatus controlling land policy and emigration was built up. The basis of the land policy of these years was an adherence to some of the fundamental principles of the theories of Edward Gibbon Wakefield.

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