Sri Lanka to drop references to colonial ‘Ceylon’

December 30, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka is to drop all remaining references to its British colonial name “Ceylon” from state institutions, a government spokesman said Thursday. The cabinet considered a proposal to rename the Ceylon Electricity Board and decided it should be extend to other official organisations, an information ministry official told AFP.

“The cabinet decided to bring in legislation to effect the name change not only for the electricity board, but other organisations which still have ‘Ceylon’ as part of their name,” the official said.

Ceylon was a transliteration given to the Indian Ocean island by its British colonial rulers from the Portuguese name Ceilao.

The island became independent from Britain in 1948 and reverted to its traditional Sinhalese name of Sri Lanka in 1972 when it became a republic.

Ceylon however is likely to remain in common use in the tea export industry, where the name is highly-valued for denoting the distinct flavour of tea produced on the island.

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