An online book talk by Professor Nira Wickramasinghe (Leiden University), author of Slave in a Palanquin: Colonial Servitude and Resistance in Sri Lanka, organised by the Leiden Centre for Indian Ocean Studies (Leiden University, KITLV and IIAS).
For hundreds of years, the island of Sri Lanka was a crucial stopover for people and goods in the Indian Ocean. For the Dutch East India Company, it was also a crossroads in the Indian Ocean slave trade. Slavery was present in multiple forms in Sri Lanka—then Ceylon—when the British conquered the island in the late eighteenth century and began to gradually abolish slavery. Yet the continued presence of enslaved people in Sri Lanka in the nineteenth century has practically vanished from collective memory in both the Sinhalese and Tamil communities.