Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka
The Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka (RASSL) is based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. One of the oldest learned societies in Sri Lanka with a history of over 160 years. Established on 7 February 1845, based on lines similar to the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland to further oriental research as the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. In 1977 it was renamed as the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka.
It has played a major role in the establishment of a several national institutions including the Colombo National Museum, Department of Archaeology, Department of National Archives, Department of Meteorology, Department of Statistics, the University of Ceylon, Historical Manuscripts Commission and the Sinhalese Dictionary. It pioneered the studies on the Veddas (the Aborigines of Sri Lanka), an English translation of the Mahavamsa (the Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka), Study of the Etymology of the Sinhalese Language, Research and Translation of the Dutch Archives, Maldivian Studies, Toponymy of Sri Lanka and Translations of Pali Buddhist Commentaries into Sinhala. At its early stages, the Society held a commanding position because its membership included the British governors of Ceylon and high civil, judicial and medical officials of the government.
The Society admitted Ceylonese officers from 1916, with the appointment of the President, Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam followed by eminent local scholars including Sir Paul Pieris and Sir Baron Jayatilaka.
Till 1984 the Society did not have a permanent location, until it moved to the Mahaweli Centre along the Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha (Ananda Coomaraswamy Street), when it was declared opened by Margaret Thatcher then Prime Minister of UK and J. R. Jayewardene, the then President of Sri Lanka.
The Society’s main academic publication is its Journal, was first published in 1846 as the Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. In 1988 it was renamed as the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka.