The relationship between Malaya and Ceylon was established long before East India Company days through trade in spices, tin, elephants and peacocks.
When exactly the Ceylonese first came to Malaya will probably remain unknown, as the British categorised them within the general Indian population. Formally, though, Sri Lankans, referred to as Ceylonese, had been settling in Malaya since the nineteenth century.1 They, together with the Indians, formed an important human resource for the British Crown Colonies.
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