The papers described in this inventory belonged to two Dutch com-
mandementen or jurisdictions, Galle and Jaffna. The Matara dissavany was
subordinate to the former and the Wanni district to the latter up to the year
1785; thereafter they were allowed to correspond directly
with the Central Government in Colombo. Comparatively few of the Jaffna and
Wan- ni papers have survived.
1911 all Dutch documents were collected in the office of
the Colonial Secretariat in Colombo. Since they were not properly organised and
catalogued, Miss M.W. Jurriaanse was invited in
1936 by the British Government to put them in order, but
owing to the lack of time she was able to catalogue only the papers of the
central government deposited at the Colombo Secretariat. (Catalogue of the
Archives of the Central Government of Coastal Ceylon. Colombo, 1943). The Galle
and Jaffna papers were described by her, but not catalogued.
These latter records were subsequently inventorized by Mr. Mottau.
He adheres to the organization of material set up by Miss Jurriaan- se,
starting with the papers of the Commandeur in Council (Jurriaanse: Governor in
Council), and continuing with the Departmental officers of the Galle
commandement, the Board and Committees, and the Judicial Department. He
proceeds in the same way with the Matara dis- savany, which, however, is
smaller, with fewer officials and functions. As stated above, most of the
Jaffna papers have been lost, and those of the Wanni district are scanty.
The reconstruction of the tombos (registration of land and persons)
was an arduous task, for the records were in great disorder. The tombos of the
seventeenth century have been reconstructed by mr. J.S. Wigbol- dus of
Wageningen, whose work follows in Appendix I. For a survey of the development
of the Dutch administration in Ceylon, see the intro- duction to Miss
Jurriaanse's inventory, pp 1-20.
1880 the Galle records, except the land registration or
tombos left in the Galle kachcheri, were brought to the office of the Colonial
Secretariat at Colombo, and were transferred to the godowns of the mu- seum two
years later. In
1911 all documents from the kachcheris of Gal- le,
Jaffna and Colombo, from the museum, and from the Register General's office
were moved to a building near the sea quite unsuitable for storing archives. In
1943 the archives were taken to the mountains at Nuwara
Eliya, safe from Japanese bombardments. Here they were kept until their removal
to the Vidyodaya university building at Nugegoda in
1968 - 1969 the administrative offices were moved again,
but the papers remain at Nugegoda until a new building can be constructed to