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The rise and fall of Burgher population in Sri Lanka
About 34,000 Burghers are left in the Sri Lanka - down from a high of 100,000
 
 
When the Portuguese arrived in Sri Lanka in 1505 they brought soldiers and other supporting staff. Those who settled down got married to local women and a new ethnic group was born.
Soon, the Dutch and the British followed. The descendants of the union between the colonisers and the locals came to be known as Burghers.

The community thrived under British rule as most Burghers were educated and fluent in English.

But the situation changed after Sri Lanka's independence in 1948. The new government gave prominence to the Sinhala language. As the Burghers did not speak that, there were few job opportunities for them and many of them went abroad. The result was a mass migration of affluent Sri Lankan burgers to Europe, Australia and North America .

Due to the subsequent socio-political changes Burghers were slowly marginalised in Sri Lanka Today only about 34,000 Burghers are left in the Sri Lanka - down from a high of 100,000. In a census carried out in 1946 there were 42,000 Ceylonese who classified themselves as Burghers or Eurasians and they were 0.6% of a population of 8.1 million. More than half of the 1946 Burghers, their children and their grandchildren are no longer in Sri Lanka.

 
  Chart by Marco Ramerini
 

 
 

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