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Death in the DiasporaBritish and Irish Gravestones$
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Nicholas Evans and Angela McCarthy

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474473781

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474473781.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Scottish Gravestones in Ceylon in Comparative Perspective

Scottish Gravestones in Ceylon in Comparative Perspective

(p.108) 5 Scottish Gravestones in Ceylon in Comparative Perspective
Death in the Diaspora

Angela McCarthy

Edinburgh University Press

In the nineteenth century, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) was acclaimed as a ‘Scotch’ colony due especially to Scottish influence in the coffee and tea enterprises. Yet if Scottish ethnicity was hailed for economic prowess on the island, signs of origin were far less likely to feature on migrant headstones. Instead, noting occupation and cause of death were more prevalent ways of commemorating the deceased. What though, explains the general absence of Scottish ethnicity on Ceylon death markers and do they resemble the general disinterest in remembering the ethnic origins of the dead of various other national groups in Ceylon? How did such headstones compare with their compatriots in Australasia? This chapter draws on research emanating from several cemeteries in Ceylon to explore reasons for the presence and absence of ethnicity on the gravestones.

Keywords:   Scottish, Ceylon, death, migrants, gravestones, ethnicity, nineteenth century, tea, James Taylor, Sri Lanka

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