Sri Lankan Malays
A Sri Lankan Malayan man and his child.
|Sri Lankan Creole Malay, Sinhalese, others|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Malays, Javanese, Sri Lankan Moors|
The Malays of Sri Lanka (also known in Sinhalese language as Ja Minissu meaning Javanese) originated in Southeast Asia. The group consists of about 40,000 people and they 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.
Most of the early immigrants were 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. Many Sri Lankan Malays have been celebrated as courageous soldiers, politicians, sportsmen, lawyers, accountants and doctors.
Malay place names in Sri Lanka
|Source:Department of Census
Data is based on
Sri Lankan Government Census.
Some place names in Sri Lanka have references, indicating the presence of Malay communities or contribution to the location. Some of these are:
and names of streets such as Malay Street, Java Lane, Jalan Padang
Like their ancestors in Maritime Southeast Asia, Sri Lankan Malays are Muslim. Mosques were erected by the local Malays along the coasts of Sri Lanka in places like Hambantota, Beruwela, and Galle. The Jawatte mosque in Colombo and Masjidul Jamiya, the military mosque in Slave Island, are acclaimed mosques renowned for their architecture and long history. The first two storey mosque in Sri Lanka was built by HH Mohammed Balankaya, an exiled Malay noble of the Royal House of Gowa (in present-day Sulawesi). Today the mosque is of great significance and is a symbol of Muslims in Sri Lanka and is the Grand Mosque of Sri Lanka.
Notable Sri Lankan Malays
- Sri Lankan Malay language
- Sri Lankan Moors
- Islam in Sri Lanka
- Sri Lankan Malay Families
- "A2 : Population by ethnic group according to districts, 2012". Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka.
- "Population by ethnic group, census years". Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 23 October 2012.