Sinhalisation of the North-East

A cartographic narrative 1911-2014


Since time immemorial the island of Sri Lanka has been largely divided into two linguistic regions, the Tamil North-East and the Sinhala south. The North-East region encompasses the districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Mannar, Batticaloa and the littoral areas of Trincomalee and Amparai.

It is a contiguous region that has traditionally been inhabited by Tamil speakers. This pattern of demographics can be clearly seen in the first British censuses of the island in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

From 1948 onwards successive Sinhala dominated governments have undertaken a deliberate process of Sinhalisation in this region primarily through a combination of Sinhala settler colonies, military cantonments and ethnic cleansing.

This website documents this ongoing process which aims to destroy the very fabric of Tamil cultural life in the North-East.

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