Sri Lankan Malays

Sri Lankan Malays
Melayu Langkapuri
Melayu Sri Lanka
ශ්‍රී ලංකා මැලේ
இலங்கை மலாய்
Sri Lankan Malay Father and Son.jpg
Sri Lankan Malay man and child, 19th century.
Total population
(0.20% of the population) (2012)
Regions with significant populations
 Western 24,718
 Southern 8,343
 Central 2,889
 North Western 1,675
Islam (Sunni)
Related ethnic groups

Sri Lankan Malays (also known in Sinhalese language as Ja Minissu meaning Javanese (Sinhalese: ශ්‍රී ලාංකා මැලේ; Tamil: இலங்கை மலாய்) - a catch-all term historically used for all natives of the Malay Archipelago - are a group consisting of about 40,000 people who make up 0.20% of the Sri Lankan population. Their ancestors initially came to the country when both Sri Lanka and Indonesia were colonies of the Dutch, while a second wave (1796–1948) came from the Malay Peninsula, when both Malaya and Sri Lanka were in the British Empire.

Significant Malay presence in Sri Lanka dated as early as 13th century, when Chandrabhanu Sridhamaraja, a Malay of Tambralinga managed to occupy northern part of the island in 1247, nonetheless the followers of Chandrabhanu would mostly assimilate to the local population.[2] Many of the ancestors of present-day Sri Lankan Malays coming from soldiers posted by the Dutch which later continued by the British for colonial administration to Sri Lanka, who decided to settle on the island. Other immigrants were convicts or members of noble houses from Dutch East Indies (present day Indonesia) who were exiled to Sri Lanka and who never left. The main source of a continuing Malay identity is their common Malay language, the Islamic faith and their ancestral origin from the Malay Archipelago. Many Sri Lankan Malays have been celebrated as courageous soldiers, politicians, sportsmen, lawyers, accountants and doctors.

  1. ^ "A2 : Population by ethnic group according to districts, 2012". Census of Population & Housing, 2011. Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka. 
  2. ^ Malays in Sri Lanka

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