starts a new series - significant events of the month in the years
It happened in March
Weekly news in the Government Gazette
March 15, 1802 marks the day when the Government Gazette came to
be printed as a regular weekly publication. It was, in fact, considered
as a newspaper at a time when there was no newspaper printed in
Ceylon, as the country was then called. It continues to this day
carrying official government notices.
into four columns, the first issue mentioned in the "Prospectus
of a Weekly Newspaper called THE CEYLON GOVERNMENT GAZETTE",
that it will contain Proclamations, General Orders, Government Advertisements,
Judicial and all other Notifications, "that it may be deemed
beneficial for the Public to be informed of".
was also to carry "Advertisements of individuals announcing
public or private sales, Notices of lost goods, Arrival & Departure
of ships, Births, Marriages & Deaths; & all other Matters,
that may, with propriety, come under the name of Public Advertisement".
was to be published every Monday "before twelve o'clock in
order that it may be dispatched by post on the day of publication
free of postage to all parts of the British Territories in Ceylon".
It was priced at two Rix dollars, the currency used at the time.
Advertisements had to be paid for according to the number of lines.
printing press established by the Dutch in 1737 was used to print
the Government Gazette. It was the only press in the country and
had been taken over by the British when they captured the maritime
provinces in 1796. It was repaired and used by the British for their
was during the time of Dutch Governor Gustaff William Baron Von
Imhoff (1736-40) that the first printing press was set up mainly
for the purpose of printing books in Sinhala "for the promotion
of Christianity among the natives, so that the New Testament may
be printed in that language". The first ever book to be printed
in Sinhala contained 41 pages and was titled the "Singaleesch
Gebedde-Boek". It carried morning and night prayers among the
March 2, 1815 was a significant day for the country when the independence
of the Sinhalese ended following the cessation of the Kandyan kingdom
to the British. On this day, the Act of Settlement, referred to
as the 'Kandyan Convention' was signed by the chieftains of the
Kandyan Court. While the sovereignty of the Kingdom was vested in
the British Crown to be exercised through the Governors of Ceylon,
the chiefs and headmen appointed by the British Government were
to retain "the rights, privileges and powers of their respective
Educationist L. E. Blaze in his book 'History of Ceylon' describes
the event: "A convention was held in the Audience Hall of Kandy,
on March 2, 1815. Sir Robert Brownrigg (the Governor) occupied the
principal seat and the Kandyan chiefs came in according to the rank.
First and alone entered Ehelapola, who was received with special
honour and given a seat at the governor's right hand.; for it was
he who had begun the revolt against the king, who had urged the
British to take Kandy, and who had secured the capture of the king.
him came Molligoda and then the disavas and other chiefs. A treaty
was read both in English and Sinhalese, and formally agreed by all
present. By this treaty Sri Vikrama Raja Sinha was deposed and the
Kandyan kingdom was declared to belong to the British Crown; Buddhism
was to be held inviolable, and its temples and priests were to be
protected and maintained as they had always been; the laws of the
country were to remain unaltered and the king's revenues were to
be levied as before.
British flag was then hoisted, and the firing of cannon announced
the establishment of British rule in Kandy. The Kandyan independence
was now at an end. The ancient rule which had lasted for over two
thousand three hundred years now definitely gave place to foreign