7 under their direct rule. Like the Sinhalese inthe maritime provinces of southern Ceylon, the Tamils passed through a period of colonial rule, first under the Portuguese andthen under the Dutch. Under these two European powers the Tamil areas of northern Ceylon were administered separately from the other areas. In the nineteenth century, after the British took over from the Dutch, the whole country was politically unified andthe administration was centralised. This enabled the Tainils and Sinhalese to work together inthe national politica and government. During the period of British rule a further wave of Tamil immigrants went to the island as workers inthe newly-opened plantations. The descendants ofthese recent immigrants, whose numbers exceed that ofthe descendants of earlier Tamil settlers, play a vita], role inthe economy of modern Ceylon. These Tmils are officially designated Indian Tamils while the descendants of earlier settlers are called Ceylon Tainils. The Tamils, who comprise nearly twenty-five per cent ofthe island's population, are now concentrated mainly inthe Northern, Eastern and Central Provinces. The chronology and early history ofthe T-m-i1s ofCeylon have not yet been systematically and scientifically studied, A few works have been written, mainly in Tamil, on the history ofthe Taniil kingdom u.t many ofthese could hardly be described as scientific histories. Among the earliest writings
8 on this subject is Simon Casie Chetty's paper' 'On the History ofJaffna, from the Earliest Period to the Dutch conquest', read at a meeting oftheCeylon Branch ofthe Royal Asiatic Society in 18k7 and published inthe journal of that society In this short paper, the author has based his account ofthe early history ofJaffna on the references to gas inthe Mahvasa and on the Tenr(1 chronicles, Kailyaxnlai and a-vaipavamlai. It is by no means a critical work. This was foUowed by a few Tamil works, almost entirely based on the T-mi1 chronicles and floating traditions. The earliest ofthese is S.Jobn's pa-carittiram (History ofJaffna), published in l879 In 188k, V.V.Cataciva Pillai published his a-vaipavam ( A Narrative of Events inJaffna) It was followed by A.Muttutampi-pillai's pa-carittiram (History ofJaffna), which was published in 19l2 These, too, are uncritical narratives embodying almost the entire contents ofthe Tamil chronicles, with all their mythical and legendary elements. The sections dealing with the period of British rule are useful as source materials for that period since these are contemporary and near- 1. J.R.A.S. (C.B.), I, No.3, l8k7-k8, pp. 69-79. 2. American Ceylon Mission Press, Jafmna 1879. Second edition 1882. Revised edition 1929. 3. Madras, 188k. 4. Jaffna, 1912.