World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Africans in Sri Lanka


Africans in Sri Lanka

African Sri Lankans
Total population
Few thousand (2005)[1]
~1,000 (2009)[2]
Regions with significant populations
 Sri Lanka ~1,000[2]
Negombo [2]
Trincomalee [2]
Batticaloa [2]
Sri Lanka Kaffir language, Sinhala, Tamil language, Sri Lankan Portuguese Creole
Originally Sunni Islam
Roman Catholicism and Buddhism
Related ethnic groups
Demographics of Mozambique, Burgher people, Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils

African Sri Lankans, mainly the Sri Lanka Kaffirs, are a very small Ethnic group in Sri Lanka who are descendants of slaves that were brought into the island by Portuguese colonists in the 17th century. There are currently around 1000 African Sri Lankans. They live in pockets of communities along the island's coastal regions of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Negambo. The Portuguese colonists used them to fight the Ceylonese Kings.[3]

The main African Sri Lankans are known as Kaffirs. This term is not used as a racial pejorative as in other parts of the world. They were originally Muslims but many have now converted to Catholicism and Buddhism. They speak a lyrical creole language with a mix of native Sinhalese and Tamil.


  • Groups 1
    • Nittevo 1.1
    • Sri Lanka Kaffirs 1.2
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4



The Nittaewo are a lost race of dwarfish men said to have lived in the Mahalenama region now within the Yala East Intermediate Zone and the Tamankaduva area. These folk are believed to have been exterminated by the Veddas about 250 years ago.[4]

Sri Lanka Kaffirs

The Sri Lankan Kaffirs are an ethnic group in Sri Lanka who are partially descended from 16th century Portuguese traders and the African slaves who were brought by them to work as labourers and soldiers to fight against the Sri Lankan kings.[5] They are very similar to the African populations in Iraq, Iran and Kuwait, and are known in Pakistan as Sheedis and India as Siddis.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e
  3. ^ "Sri Lanka's African slave families fade away". Retrieved 2009-11-28. 
  4. ^
  5. ^

External links

  • Kaffirs in Sri Lanka - Descendants of enslaved Africans at Sri Lanka virtual library site.
  • Sri Lanka Portuguese Creoles at Sri Lanka virtual library site.
  • The Beginnings of the European Slave Trade

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.