Catalogue of the Archives of the Dutch Central Government of Coastal Ceylon, 1640-1796

Description of the Subordinate Components

   The Governor in Council.

   Internal Affairs.

"Plakkaatboeken", "plakkaten" and minor government notifications.
Like any other well organised administration, the central and the local governments of this Island too issued proclamations, publications and orders, which had to be observed by the general public. Dutch publications of this type are called "plakkaten", which means "affixed notices". They were pasted up at public buildings as they are at the present day. This may explain why comparatively few of them have survived.
Before 1734, when the printing press started its work in this Island, all notices drawn up in Dutch, Sinhalese and Tamil were in writing. In this connection the discovery of the Sinhalese type by a Dutchman, Gabriël Schade, some time before 1734, was of great importance, especially for the Colombo dessavony. Governor van Imhoff insisted that the printing press, which started by turning out religious books, especially for the propagation of Christianity, should be used for official notifications as well. The first printed documents in Dutch (the cast for which came from Batavia) and in Sinhalese date from 1737 [1].
The following series consists of three kinds of files, e.g. "plakkaatboeken", or registers in which the proclamations were entered, the "plakkaten" proper and the minor government advertisements. For Ceylon history they are all of as much importance as the series "plakkaten " published by Mr. J. A. van der Chijs [2] are for the history of the V.O.C. in general.
Moreover the language and the script of 18th century Sinhalese and Tamil is of rare interest to scholars. Most of the material was found loose and crumpled up in boxes. It has been repaired, and together with some other files of "plakkaten" which were broken up for repairs they now form one chronological collection. Many documents bear signs of being of Galle origin, but although archivistically not correct, it was considered more appropriate to place them in one series, as a proper reconstruction of the former arrangement for practical reasons was impossible.
The "plakkaten" which came from Patria and Batavia have been entered on the date of issue at that place, because the date of publication in Ceylon in most cases can no longer be traced.
1641 - 1686.
Damaged. Papers missing.
Numbered 3 - 114. The proclamations have been entered in full, and the collection probably dates from governor Simons' time.
1704 June - 1733 July.
Damaged by damp.
Collected "plakkaten" in chronological order.
1690 - 1795.
375 documents in 7 files.
1690 July 11 - 1740 May 31.
59 documents.
1741 April - 1744 December 18.
44 documents.
1745 January 13 - 1750 September 9.
56 documents.
1751 January 9 - 1756 December 30.
54 documents.
1757 March 11 - 1772 August 15.
58 documents.
1773 January 29 - 1784 December 21.
56 documents.
With 10 undated "plakkaten"'.
1785 October 11 - 1795 December 18.
48 documents.
"Plakkaten". With a register.
1727 May 17 - 1741 August 31.
With the aid of its register, it was possible to reconstruct this file, which originally contained 23 documents, from loose papers. Only 17 "plakkaten" are left over. Several documents have the appearance of being of Galle origin, which is most likely.
"Plakkaten" issued by governors of Ceylon.
1743 - 1769.
Remnants of "plakkaatboeken" and "plakkaten," mostly without indication of the date.
Date unknown.
26 documents and pieces.
Proclamations and notifications issued by the Governor of Ceylon.
1781 - 1791.