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Celebrate 150 years of Ceylon Tea

Let’s brew a pot of delicious satisfaction. Let’s pour cups of pure enjoyment. Let’s drink to a 150-year heritage of quality and taste. And let us celebrate 150 years of Ceylon Tea! An island’s gift to the world, a beverage so special, its value and appreciation still permeates the world.

James Taylor planted the first commercial crop in 1867 – Ceylon Tea

When Scotsman, James Taylor planted the first commercial crop in 1867, its delicious taste, aroma and quality gave birth to an iconic brand that paved the way for a multi-million dollar industry. Today, Ceylon Tea epitomises the ‘best tea’ in the world. The Lion logo which symbolises 100% Pure Ceylon Tea is carried across all packaging and is recognised globally, as the ultimate stamp of quality and taste.

The short story about Ceylon Tea

It was during the British era that tea first began to be cultivated and manufactured on the island. Tea from Ceylon soon gained the reputation of being the finest in the world, and tea exports became the mainstay of the colonial economy. Housewives and restaurateurs across the globe grew familiar with the name of the country—learning that its appearance on a tin or packet reliably guaranteed the quality of the tea inside. Independence brought new markets, and production continued to increase. In 1965, Ceylon became the world’s largest exporter of tea—for the first time. And to this day, the island remains one of the largest tea exporters.

It has endured for 150 years of Ceylon Tea and strange as it may seem, the story of Ceylon Tea begins with coffee.

Source : ceylonteamuseum.com

Though records are scant, evidence suggests that the cultivation of tea plants—imported from China—was attempted as early as 1824. Later, Maurice Worms, a member of the Rothschild family of international financiers, planted some China seedlings on Rothschild estates in Pusselawa and Ramboda. He even made tea from the crop using Chinese techniques, though the price, at £5 a pound, was much too high to be competitive.

It was left to a reclusive Scottish planter named James Taylor to succeed with the crop—almost a generation later. Taylor had been experimenting with tea, planting it along the margins of the divisional roads on his coffee estate, Loolecondera. Already in 1866, he had withered the first leaves on his bungalow veranda, trying to emulate the process used by tea planters in Assam, India. By the time the coffee blight struck, Taylor had twenty acres of Loolecondera planted in tea and had shipped his first modest consignment—23 lbs in all— to England. Soon, planters from all over the hill country were visiting Loolecondera to learn how to grow and manufacture tea. Ceylon and its plantation industry were saved.

For over one hundred years thereon, the 150 years of Ceylon Tea Industry has sustained the economy of this country and continues to contribute significantly to it. Though currently, eclipsed by one or two other revenue earning sources, which have emerged in more recent years, it is still one of the highest foreign exchange earners for the country, contributing over USD 1.5 billion.

The Tea Industry also supports approximately 20 percent of the country’s population, through direct and indirect employment, even outsourcing dependent families, which extends to a number of ancillary industries, such as shipping, transportation, printing, packaging, etc. Additionally, tea contributes 15% of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings and generates 65% of export agriculture revenue.


Celebrating 150 years of Ceylon Tea - Gallemart

The year 2017 marks 150 years of Ceylon Tea. Sri Lanka’s tryst with tea began in 1867 when James Taylor, a young Scotsman, planted the first crop of tea on the island. Renowned for its fine quality and distinctive taste, Ceylon Tea has been a perennial favorite with tea lovers around the world.

The celebrations planned all around Sri Lanka this year do not only retrace the glorious history and legacy of the island’s most famous export but also underline its continued importance to the country’s present and future.

Click on any point in the time line to read more about the history of 150 years of Ceylon Tea

1867 – 1877
1877 – 1887
1887 – 1897
1897 – 1907
1907 – 1917
1917 – 1927
1927 – 1937
1937 – 1947
1947 – 1957
1957 – 1967
1967 – 1977
1977 – 1987
1987 – 1997
1997 – 2007
2007 – 2017
James Taylor arrived in Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was known then, in 1852 at the age of 17 and settled down in Loolecondera Estate, Galaha. In 1866, he visited India where he learnt how to grow tea. He returned to Sri Lanka and started a 19-acre tea plantation on Loolecondera Estate in 1867, laying the foundation for what would become Sri Lanka’s largest export industry for over a century.

In 1872, a fully equipped tea factory began operating on the Loolecondera Estate.

In 1873, Ceylon Tea made its international debut when twenty-three pounds of tea produced by James Taylor reached London.

During the 1880s, tea production in Sri Lanka grew rapidly with planters from all over the hill country visiting Loolecondera to learn the basics of growing and manufacturing tea. By the late 1880s, almost all the coffee plantations had been converted to tea as it was seen as a more lucrative alternative.

With the development of technologies such as the Sirocco tea dryer in 1877 and the tea-rolling machine in 1880, commercial tea production was now viable.

In 1883, with the backing of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the first of many public Colombo tea auctions was held on the property of Somerville & Co.

In 1884, the Central Tea Factory was built on the Fairyland Estate (Pedro) in Nuwara Eliya.

In 1891, Ceylon Tea was sold at the London tea auctions at an astonishing price of LKR 36.15 per lb.

In 1892, James Taylor, the pioneer of the tea industry in Ceylon, died at the age of 57.

In 1894, the Colombo Tea Traders Association was founded, followed by the formation of the Colombo Tea Brokers’ Association in 1896.

This period witnessed a significant increase in production. By 1899, nearly 400,000 acres of land was already under tea cultivation.
1915 was a historic year as Mr Thomas Amarasuriya was appointed as the first ever Sri Lankan Chairman of the Planters’ Association.
The Tea Research Institute was set up in 1925 to improve production techniques and maximize yields. As a result, by the end of this period, Sri Lanka was producing more than 100,000 metric tons of tea, mainly for export.
In 1932, the Ceylon Tea Propaganda Board was established.

Higher standards were prescribed to prohibit the export of inferior quality teas.

The world’s largest tea bush, which yielded four pounds of tealeaf in a day, was found in Ceylon in 1934.

In 1935, Ceylon became a founding member of the International Tea Market Expansion Board (ITMEB).

In 1940, the Tea Research Institute made a breakthrough in the control of the leaf eating Tea Tortrix Caterpillar. This was done by intentionally spreading a parasite, Macrocentrus homonae, introduced from Java.

In 1941, M/s Pieris & Abeywardena, the first Ceylonese Tea brokerage firm was set up.

In 1944, the Ceylon Estate Employers’ Federation was founded.

In 1951, Export Duty was levied on tea.

In 1955, the cultivation of the first clonal tea fields began. This is a method of controlling plant breeding to produce the best strains of tea.

The State Plantations Corporation was established in 1958.

In 1959, Ad Valorem Tax was imposed on teas sold at the Colombo auctions.

The very first Instant Tea plant was set up by Halssen & Lyon of Germany at Agarapathana in 1963.

In 1965, Sri Lanka became the largest exporter of tea in the world!

To celebrate 100 years of Ceylon Tea, the first International Tea Convention was held in 1966.

The Sri Lankan government nationalized and took over privately held tea estates in 1971-72.

In 1976, the Sri Lanka Tea Board, the Janatha Estate Development Board, and the Tea Small Holding Development Authority were established. Export of tea bags too began in this year.

Sri Lanka was the official supplier of tea at the Moscow Summer Olympic Games in 1980 and the Brisbane Commonwealth Games and in 1982.

In 1981, Sri Lanka began importing tea for blending and re-exporting.

The production and export of green tea started in 1982.

In 1983, the CTC (Crush, tear and curl) tea processing method was introduced in the country.

To commemorate 125 years of Ceylon Tea, an international convention was held in Colombo in 1992. The Tea Research Board was formed. Export duties and ad valorem taxes were abolished.

In 1993, State-owned tea estates were returned to the private sector.

In 1997, tea exports from Sri Lanka reached 250,000 metric tons.

With the closure of the London Tea Auction in 1998, the trade in Ceylon Tea centred solely on the Colombo Auction.

In 1999, the Sri Lanka Tea Board globally trademarked the lion logo as an emblem of 100% Pure Ceylon Tea.

The production of Ceylon Tea exceeded 300,000 metric tons in 2000.

2001 saw the setting up of a Tea Museum in an old tea factory in Hanthana, Kandy.

In 2002, the Tea Association of Sri Lanka was formed.

In 2008, the export revenue from Ceylon Tea reached USD 1 billion.

In 2011, the Sri Lanka Tea Board obtained the necessary Geographical Indications (GI) certification for Ceylon Tea, meaning that only tea produced in certified regions of the island and meeting stringent quality norms could be marketed as ‘Ceylon Tea’. This was an important step in ensuring quality and preventing counterfeiting. Sri Lanka also became the first country to be recognized as a producer of Ozone friendly tea.

This year, 2017, marks the 150th year of Ceylon Tea. Since James Taylor established the first commercial plantation in 1867, the Sri Lankan tea industry has come a long way, now generating over USD 1 billion in export revenue and employing over 1 million citizens.

Source : http://www.150years.pureceylontea.com/

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History of Cinnamon has been in use by humans for thousands of years—as early as 2,000 B.C. Egyptians employed it, as well as the related spice cassia, as a perfuming agent during the embalming process, and it was even mentioned in the Old Testament as an ingredient in anointing oil. Evidence suggests it was used […]
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Egyptian hieroglyphics depicting essential oi

History of Cinnamon has been in use by humans for thousands of years—as early as 2,000 B.C. Egyptians employed it, as well as the related spice cassia, as a perfuming agent during the embalming process, and it was even mentioned in the Old Testament as an ingredient in anointing oil. Evidence suggests it was used throughout the ancient world, and that Arab traders brought it to Europe, where it proved equally popular. Legend holds that the Roman emperor Nero burned as much as he could find of the precious spice on the funeral pyre of his second wife Poppaea Sabina in A.D. 65 to atone for his role in her death.

The Arabs transported cinnamon via cumbersome land routes, resulting in a limited, expensive supply that made the use of cinnamon a status symbol in Europe in the Middle Ages. As the middle class began to seek upward mobility, they too wanted to purchase the luxury goods that were once only available to noble classes. Cinnamon was particularly desirable as it could be used as a preservative for meats during the winter. Despite its widespread use, the origins of cinnamon was the Arab merchants’ best-kept secret until the early 16th century. To maintain their monopoly on the cinnamon trade and justify its exorbitant price, Arab traders wove colorful tales for their buyers about where and how they obtained the luxury spice. One such story, related by the 5th-century B.C. Greek historian Herodotus, said that enormous birds carried the cinnamon sticks to their nests perched high atop mountains that were insurmountable by any human. According to the story, people would leave large pieces of ox meat below these nests for the birds to collect. When the birds brought the meat into the nest, its weight would cause the nests to fall to the ground, allowing the cinnamon sticks stored within to be collected. Another tall tale reported that the cinnamon was found in deep canyons guarded by terrifying snakes, and first-century Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder proposed that cinnamon came from Ethiopia, carried on rafts with no oars or sails, powered by “man alone and his courage.”

Struggling to meet increasing demand, European explorers set out to find the spice’s mysterious source. Christopher Columbus wrote to Queen Isabella, claiming he had found cinnamon and rhubarb in the New World, but when he sent samples of his findings back home, it was discovered that the spice was not, in fact, the coveted cinnamon. Gonzalo Pizarro, a Spanish explorer, also sought cinnamon in the Americas, traversing the Amazon hoping to find the “pais de la canela,” or “cinnamon country.”

Around 1518, Portuguese traders discovered cinnamon at Ceylon, present-day Sri Lanka, and conquered its island kingdom of Kotto, enslaving the island’s population and gaining control of the cinnamon trade for about a century until the Ceylon kingdom of Kandy allied with the Dutch in 1638 to overthrow the Portuguese occupiers. The Dutch defeated the Portuguese but held the kingdom in their debt for their military services, so once again Ceylon was occupied by European traders, handing the cinnamon monopoly over to the Dutch for the next 150 years. Ceylon then was taken over by the British in 1784 after their victory in the fourth Anglo-Dutch War, but by 1800, cinnamon was no longer an expensive, rare commodity, as it had begun to be cultivated in other parts of the world, and other delicacies such as chocolate and cassia, which has a flavor similar to cinnamon, began to rival it in popularity.

Today, we typically encounter two types of commercial cinnamon: Ceylon and cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is primarily produced in Indonesia and has the stronger smell and flavor of the two varieties. This cheaper variety is what we usually buy in grocery stores to sprinkle on our apple pies or French toast. The more expensive Ceylon cinnamon, most of which is still produced in Sri Lanka, has a milder, sweeter flavor popular for both baking and flavoring hot drinks such as coffee or hot chocolate.

Source : http://www.history.com/news/hungry-history/cinnamons-spicy-history

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The Portuguese Period The records of the fortified town of Galle and the history of galle fort begins with the advent of the Portuguese within the island of Sri Lanka at the start of the sixteenth (16) century. In 1505 a group of Portuguese sailors led by Don Lorenzo de Almeida, son of Francesco de […]
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The Portuguese Period

The records of the fortified town of Galle and the history of galle fort begins with the advent of the Portuguese within the island of Sri Lanka at the start of the sixteenth (16) century.

In 1505 a group of Portuguese sailors led by Don Lorenzo de Almeida, son of Francesco de Almeida, arrived in the island. They built the first fortification in Galle on a cliff, jutting out into the sea. It turned into referred to as the Swart Bastion or the Black Fort.

History of Galle Fort - Galle Harbor

History of Galle Fort - Galle Harbor

The Dutch Period

The galle fort which became built through the Portuguese become captured with the aid of the Dutch on March thirteenth 1640 after a battle. Portuguese creator Parinavo Kerosh has given an in depth description of the Galle fort and the battle which led to its conquest with the aid of the Dutch in his e-book The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon

In step with him, a Dutch contingent of approximately 2000 squaddies led by using Admiral Wilhelm Jacobs Coster had landed at Unawatuna, a coastal village south of Galle, on 8th March 1640. they’d proceeded on foot to Magalle in which they got themselves entrenched. whilst the Portuguese navy headquarters in Colombo acquired this news, they right now dispatched to Galle a contingent of 323 infantrymen, led with the aid of Captain principal Francesco de Mendona Manuel, by land, who had been joined at the manner by way of a similarly 1800. Their armoury became a loose series of canons, guns of diverse types and even bows. by using that point there had been handiest approximately 110 Portuguese infantrymen led with the aid of Captain Lorenzo Perera de Britto stationed in Galle citadel and that they were in no manner prepared to put up any powerful resistence to the Dutch.

within the struggle which ensued, the Dutch have been able to triumph over the Portuguese and seize galle fort. it is recorded as one of the fiercest battles which the Dutch fought in Sri Lanka.

The conquest of Galle was celebrated in Batavia on 20 th April 1640. The importance the Dutch gave to the seize of Galle is confirmed by way of the reality that this event changed into yearly celebrated by using them in the course of the only and a 1/2 centuries of Dutch rule in Sri Lanka.

The small fortification in Galle which changed into captured from the Portuguese by way of the Dutch changed into considerably elevated and stepped forward by way of them consistent with their personal distinct architectural style.

View of the Galle Fort in Sri Lanka in 1754

The British Period

On 23 rd February 1796 the 70 th Regiment of the British Forces in Sri Lanka (then referred to as Ceylon), led by way of Captain Locklan Macwary, took manipulate of Galle without any combating. The British Governor stationed in Madras become in rate of Ceylon until October 1798. due to problems of management, Sir Fredrick North become appointed Governor and Commander in chief of the British territory of Sri Lanka by means of Royal proclamation dated 12 th October 1798. It additionally marked the start of the Ceylon Civil service.

In 1833, several administrative reforms have been finished on the recommendation of a fee which comprised Mr. H.H. Colebrook and Mr. H.C. Cameron. beneath those reforms, the island of Ceylon was divided into five provinces. They chose Galle as the centre of administration of the Southern Province. The Southern Province contained the districts of Galle, Matara, Tangalle, Hambantota, Uva, Wellassa, Buttala and Ratnapura. with the aid of 1845, these districts have been consolidated to shape 3 districts, specifically, Galle, Matara and Hambantota.

The British Period The British Period

Now The Galle Fort,

After the British took over the country from the Dutch in the year 1796, they preserved the citadel unchanged, and used it because the place of business of Galle. In 1947, whilst Ceylon received its independence from the British, Galle became, all over again, an impartial city. via that point the long years of association with eu colonialism had left an indelible stamp on the city which makes it unique in latest Sri Lanka. In recognition of that, UNESCO declared the old city of Galle, essentially the galle fort and its surroundings, a World Heritage Site in 1988.

Source : http://www.galleheritage.gov.lk

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