Sri Lankan Malays, Ceylon 1880-1890

Sri Lankan Malays
Sri Lankan Malays #IMG283

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A Group of Sri Lankan Malays
Photographer: Anon
Date: 1880 – 1890
Location: Sri Lanka

The Malays of Sri Lanka (also known as Ja Minissu) originated in Southeast Asia and today consist of about 50,000 – 70,000 Malays in Sri Lanka. Their ancestors came to the country when both Sri Lanka and Indonesia were colonies of the Dutch. Most of the early Malay immigrants were soldiers, posted by the Dutch colonial administration to Sri Lanka, who decided to settle on the island. Other immigrants were convicts or members of noble houses from Indonesia who were exiled to Sri Lanka and who never left. The main source of a continuing Malay identity is their common Malay language, which includes numerous words absorbed from the Moorish variant of the Tamil language and has changed its grammatical structures along the model provided by Sinhalese and Tamil. In the 1980s, the Malays made up about 5 % of the island’s Muslim population, making them one of the smallest minority groups in Sri Lanka. -wikipedia-

More information about Sri Lanka ‘s Malays visit >>

9 thoughts on “Sri Lankan Malays, Ceylon 1880-1890

  1. The Dutch “Malays” are Indonesian, mainly Javanese.
    Malay is a redundant British colonial umbrella term for all “Austronesians”= Philippines, Malaysian, Thai, Khmer, Lao, Myanmar and Indonesian.

  2. Can anyone please assist me with email and telephone contacts of teh Chairman of Malay Association Of Colombo.

    I am trying to trace my relatives, namely My Uncle Tuan Kamaldin Rahim or any of his family members.
    Last known address 28/2 Kumaradasa Place Wellampitiya

    My late Fathers name was Tuan Bagus Rahim

  3. I am trying to trace details of my father,
    Dr. A. A. Sourjah, D. M. O. Kalmunai, who died in Batticaloa on 16th February, 1932 when I was just 06 years old.

    Any information would be much appreciated

  4. Did you among you who come from Tidore or ternate or Bacan (Indonesian)? I am a resident of Bacan who want to find the history of our ancestors in Ceylon. Thank you.

  5. Response to Dr. Robert Sourjah – Hope you were successful in making contact with people who knew your father. My family name is Sourjah – I’m a grandniece of Dr. A.A. I don’t have much information other than remembrances of my dad talking about Dr. A.A. Just thought I would say hi.
    webmaster: will appreciate if you could forward message to Dr. Robert Sourjah. thanks.

  6. I am connected to the Akbar Family and the Borham family through my mother whose father is Mass Fareed Akbar (Younger Brother of M.T.Akbar the Chief Justice) and her mothers maiden name is Nona Borham (pronounced as Boron).

    I know very little of our relatives and would like to know more of them.

    My Father is a Moor Mohamed Uthuman Thaha and my Mother Is Gnei Mass Evelyn Akbar (Maiden Name)


  7. Response to Mr. Abdulkadir Bagus Rahim: Lawyer Azoor has all the information of Mlays in Sri Lanka. I shall get his contact for you.

  8. Hello,

    I’m a Mastr student taking Art History and Culture Management in UiTM and part of my subject course is to study about Malay History. I’ve chosen Sri Lankan Malay as my research topic and would love to have a contact via email to ask more on the art and culture of Sri Lankan Malay in term of architecture, art and craft, beliefs and myths. Please do email me at or reply back this message so that I may follow up with whomever that might come into interest of helping me on information gathering.


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