Banished Potentates: The Deposition and Exile of Indigenous Rulers by Colonial Authorities

When:31 Mar 2015, 12:30pm - 1:45pm
Venue:Morven Brown 209 (map ref C20)
Who:Professor Robert Aldrich, University of Sydney
Robert Aldrich

History Seminar Series

Abstract

In 1815, the British defeated and overthrew Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, the king of Kandy – the last independent polity on the island of Ceylon – and banished him, along with his family and entourage, to India. This case study illustrates a strategy used by British, French, Dutch and other colonisers: the deposition and exile of indigenous ‘potentates’, and in some cases the abolition of their dynasties. It shows how colonisers dispensed with rulers resisting conquest or the consolidation of foreign rule. It points, too, to the various subsequent concerns related to the fate of a dispossessed monarch, continued royalist resistance, efforts by the colonial power to take on the symbolic mantle of old dynasties, and the survival in history, commemoration and national narratives of the legacy of the dethroned rulers.

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