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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century$
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Judith Brown and Wm Roger Louis

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205647

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205647.001.0001

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(p.447) 19 Ceylon
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century


Oxford University Press

Ceylon has several claims to occupy a special place in British colonial history. Ceylon's place in colonial history is not confined to its status as Britain's model colony. On the contrary, in Ceylon's case the triumph of moderate nationalism coincided with a resurgence of religion as a significant force in the political process. Lord Donoughmore was appointed to examine the Ceylon constitution in 1927. With a view to the eradication of communalism, the Donoughmore Commission made its most startling and controversial recommendation. Equally controversial during the period of the Donoughmore constitution, and indeed right up to independence and beyond, was the position of the Indian Tamil community in Ceylon. Unlike their counterparts in India and Burma, the political leadership in Ceylon co-operated with Britain in the war and, ultimately, Ceylon's wartime role as a major source of raw materials and as a strategic base worked to the advantage of the island's nationalists. Ceylon was independent but the real test of nationhood lay ahead.

Keywords:   Ceylon, British colonial history, Britain, nationalism, religion, Lord Donoughmore, Donoughmore Commission, war

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