Pioneers & Legends of the Ceylon Plantation Industry
Robert Tytler, regarded as the “Father of Ceylon Planters”, was the first to cultivate cocoa (cacao) in Ceylon. Tytler had carried out extensive work on Jamaica’s coffee plantation processes in the mid-1830s, and then introduced the West Indian system of cultivation to Ceylon’s coffee plantations, with great success. Ceylon’s coffee boom followed in the 1840s and soon realized the highest prices in the London market. Tytler introduced coffee to the Dumbara valley and was the brainchild of the Waterworks on Rajawella Estate, a system that saw water being drawn up 400 feet to irrigate the coffee plants. This irrigation work was regarded as one of the modern marvels of Ceylon. Tytler was also the second Chairman of the Planters Association, after Captain Jolly, in 1856.
Scotsman James Taylor started Sri Lanka’s first tea estate, 19 acre Loolecondera Estate, marking the birth of the tea industry in Ceylon.
The first Shipment of Ceylon Tea, a consignment of 23lb (10kg) arrived in London for trade
The first public Colombo Tea Auction was held at the premises of Somerville & Co. under the auspice of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
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