Sri Lankan Chetties

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Sri Lankan Chetties
Total population
6,075 (2012 census)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Province
 Western 5,427
 North Western 279
 Central 193
Languages
Religion
Christianity (mostly Roman Catholic and Anglican)
Related ethnic groups

Sri Lankan Chetties (Sinhalese: ශී ලංකා චෙට්ටි, translit. Śī laṁkā Ceṭṭi, Tamil: இலங்கை செட்டி, translit. Ilaṅkai Ceṭṭi) also known as Colombo Chetties, is an ethnicity in the island of Sri Lanka.[2] Formerly considered a Sri Lankan Tamil caste, were classified as a separate ethnic group in the 2001 census.[3][4] They were a class of Tamil speaking traders, who migrated from the South India under Portuguese rule.[5]

Etymology

The word Chetty is a very general term denoting all merchant and trading groups of South India.[6] The word is thought to have been derived from the Tamil word Etti, a honorific title bestowed on the leading merchants in the Chola kingdom and Pandya Kingdom.[7]

History

Most of them trace their origin from Madurai, Tirunelveli and the Coromandel Coast of Southern India.[8] They settled mostly in western and northern Sri Lanka, especially in the ports of Colombo, Jaffna and Galle from the 16th century to mid 17th century, during the rule of the Portuguese and Dutch.[9][10] Some of the Chetties in Northern Sri Lanka were absorbed in other communities, mainly in the Sri Lankan Vellalar community, considered a subcaste known as Chetty Vellalar .[11][12]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
2001 10,800 —    
2011 6,075 −43.8%
Source:Department of Census
& Statistics
[13]
Data is based on
Sri Lankan Government Census.

The Chetties of Western Sri Lanka converted to Roman Catholicism under Portuguese rule. Other converted to Anglicanism or Protestantism under Dutch rule and British rule.[14] Intermarriage and alliances between Sinhalese and Chetties were not uncommon thus many also got Sinhalised.[15][16]

Representatives of the Colombo Chetty Association stressed out their distinctiveness, appealing for forming a separate ethnic group. The Chetties were notably also from 1814 to 1817 listed as a separate ethnic group.[17] The Chetties used dress distinctive from rest of the population in the colonial era.[18]

As an elite and prosperous group they no longer strictly marry amongst themselves. In addition, migration to Australia, England, United States of America and Canada has tended to dilute their numbers.[citation needed]

See also

References

Sources
  • Casiechitty S, The Castes, Customs, Manners and Literature of the Tamils. Colombo: Ceylon Printers, 1934.
  • Pulle Tissera Shirley - History of The Colombo Chetties - 2000
  • Thurston E, Castes and Tribes of Southern India
Notes
  1. ^ "A2 : Population by ethnic group according to districts, 2012". Census of Population & Housing, 2011. Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka. 
  2. ^ "Census of Population and Housing 2011". www.statistics.gov.lk. Retrieved 2018-01-24. 
  3. ^ Reeves, Peter (2014-03-07). The Encyclopedia of the Sri Lankan Diaspora. Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore: Editions Didier Millet. p. 27. ISBN 9789814260831. 
  4. ^ Holt, John (2011-04-13). The Sri Lanka Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Duke University Press. p. 70. ISBN 0822349825. 
  5. ^ Wickramasinghe, Nira (2015). Sri Lanka in the Modern Age: A History. 174: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190225797. 
  6. ^ Population Review. Indian Institute for Population Studies. 1975. p. 26. 
  7. ^ People of India: Tamil Nadu, Volume 2. Anthropological Survey of India. 1997. p. 1062. ISBN 9788185938882. 
  8. ^ Peebles, Patrick (2015-10-22). Historical Dictionary of Sri Lanka. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 64. ISBN 9781442255852. 
  9. ^ Sivaratnam, C. (1964). An outline of the cultural history and principles of Hinduism. Stangard Printers. p. 276. 
  10. ^ Silva, K. M. De (1981). A History of Sri Lanka. University of California Press. p. 175. ISBN 9780520043206. 
  11. ^ Wickramasinghe, Nira (2015). Sri Lanka in the Modern Age: A History. Oxford University Press. p. 274. ISBN 9780190225797. 
  12. ^ F. Nyrop,, Richard (1986). Sri Lanka, A country study. American University, Washington, D.C.: Foreign Area Studies. p. 108. 
  13. ^ "Population by ethnic group, census years" (PDF). Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 November 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  14. ^ Vijayalakshmi, E.; Studies, International Centre for Ethnic (2005-01-01). Cultural minorities of Sri Lanka: their growth, achievements, and relevance today. International Centre for Ethnic Studies. p. 8. ISBN 9789555800969. 
  15. ^ Vijayalakshmi, E.; Studies, International Centre for Ethnic (2005-01-01). Cultural minorities of Sri Lanka: their growth, achievements, and relevance today. International Centre for Ethnic Studies. p. 10. ISBN 9789555800969. 
  16. ^ Peebles, Patrick (2015-10-22). Historical Dictionary of Sri Lanka. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 78. ISBN 9781442255852. 
  17. ^ Wickramasinghe, Nira (2006). Sri Lanka in the Modern Age: A History of Contested Indentities. University of Hawaii Press. p. 165. ISBN 9780824830168. 
  18. ^ Kemper, Steven (2001). Buying and Believing: Sri Lankan Advertising and Consumers in a Transnational World. University of Chicago Press. p. 82. ISBN 9780226430409. 

External links

  • Dutch Burgher/Sri Lankan Chetty Combined Genealogy list
  • Sri Lankan Hydridity
  • Ondaatje Family history
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