Lacking access to early records such as civil registers, census information and shipping registers, the Sri Lankan Genealogist can gain a good background knowledge into the families from caste studies. The caste studies which include history of caste clans, relate directly to present day family lines and names.
promote the cause of any race, religion, caste or any other reason,
which is generally viewed as an unethical or distasteful trait or manner of
The following articles will help the reader to relate to early caste and clan structures. It provides the early historical background, which will help understand and put into perspective, the family and clan related information presented in the site. The history recorded here charts the Karava (Kaurava) from the time of the 'Mahabharata', to their arrival here during the Kotte period, their rise and fall through the Portuguese, Dutch and British occupations, and the sweeping social and economic changes of the 19th and 20th centuries.
While it will be beyond the scope of these pages to bring the entire history online, important sections have been presented to give you an idea of the caste, and its history. Some articles have also been reproduced to give the reader an idea of the caste conflict and the intensity with which caste supremacy was debated in a bygone era.
The Irahanda Kodiya (on left), the Makara Kodiya (on right) are amongst the Insignia of the Karava people.
- The Origins of Caste:
- These letters written by Mohotti Mudaliyar F. E. Gooneratna to the Ceylon Independent in 1921, gives us an interesting insight into the origins of the castes and their flags.
- Karava - The Early History:
- The early historical references of the Karava in Ceylon, up to and including the Portuguese period.
- Karava - The Recent History:
- The Karava History from the arrival of the Dutch, through a period of religious persecution to the British period.
- The Rise of the Karava - Pre 1830s:
- The rise of the Karava during a time of expanding commercial opportunities of the early British period.
- The Rise of the Karava - Post 1830s:
- The meteoric rise of the Karava during the great economic expansion of the plantation era.
- The ancient 'Kaurava Pavillion';
- The migrations of the Karava clans are mostly attributed to the Kotte period, but certain inscriptions found in Anuradhapura dates their presence to a much earlier period.
- The Karava Swords:
- Extract from the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch) Vol. XVIII of 1905 describing two inscribed swords, which have come to be known as the ‘Karava Swords’. These swords contain the first recorded use of the name 'Kaurava Adittiya Arasanilayitta', the clan name which is used by the de Fonsekas. In this article we also trace the swords to its present location in the Colombo Museum.
- The Karava Flag:
- This well researched article, written in 1921 by Lionel de Fonseka, is referred to by almost all subsequent 'Karava' historians. The article which appeared in the Ceylon Antiquarian and Literary Register has been traced and reproduced, with photographs.
- Karava 'Ge' Names:
- The 'Ge' names of the Karava explained. Check out yours.
- Karava Greats of Yesteryear:
- From the time of Vijaya to the British Period, a list of Karava greats, who had made a mark in the contemporary history of Ceylon.
- Karava Mudaliyars and Muhandirams - British period:
- A list of the Karava Mudaliyars and Muhandirams during the British Period.
- Antonio Baretto; the Prince of Uva:
- The story of the great Karava Prince.
- The Maravar Suitor:
- This story of romance is about a clan of Hindu Karavas, off the coast of Chilaw, that claim descent from the Kurukulather Chiefs of the Varnakulasuriya Clan.
- The Manampitiya Banner:
- Another important flag of the Karave is known as the 'Manampitiya Banner', since it was discovered in the Tamankaduwa area.
- The Sacred Bodhi, Its arrival and those connected with it.
- An article from the 'Kurukshetra' journal, which traces the Kshattriya people who arrived with the sacred Bo sapling.
- The Varnakula Adittiya Arasanilayitta Clan:
- This important article by F.B. De S. A. Jagath Wijenayaka describes the 'Varnakula' clan, one of the three Surya clans of the Karawa caste. The other two were 'Kurukulasuriya' and 'Arasakulasuriya'.
- Karava Caste Pamphlets:
- Some Karava caste pamphlets of 1940's debating a newspaper article on Don Manuel D'andrado's exploits in Jaffna.
- Caste System In Ceylon:
- A Study of the Caste System prevalent among the Singhalese and the Tamil people of Sri Lanka - extracts from a Library of Congress, Federal Research Division study of Sri Lanka.
- Karava Marriage 'Cartels':
- A Study of the inter marriages between the dominant karava families, and the cross cousin marriages within the family.
- Patangatims; The traditional sub-kings of Sri Lanka:
- This article by Raaj de SIlva explores the role of Patangatims and the 'Ge' name of Patabandige.
Some interesting facts of the Karava :
Two of the greatest warriors ever in Sri Lankan history were from the Karava caste. They were Antonio Baretto and Puran Appu. Antonio Baretto or 'Kuruwita Rala' was known as the Prince of Uva and was an admiral in the court of King Senerat. Jayasuriya Artha Deva Guneratne Patabendige Francisco Fernando known as 'Puran Appu' led the Matale rebellion in 1848 against the British.
Source - Kurukula Charithaya.