history/The Dutch Period in Ceylon 1602–1796

The peace Treaty of 1766

In August 1765 Ceylon born Iman Willem Falck arrived as Governor and soon proved to be an able administrator and a skilful diplomat. He adopted a conciliatory attitude and returned back the silver karanduwa and other items taken to Colombo by Van Eck. As a result the King released the Dutch prisoners he had captured during the war. After much wrangling, the King and the VOC signed in February 1766 a new treaty, which recognised the maritime provinces of Ceylon as Dutch territories. The prospects for the Dutch looked bright. For the first time in more than one hundred years there was a mutually accepted legal basis for their presence. Falck took his chance and restored order. Rice cultivation and production were improved by building dams, sluices and irrigation channels. Cinnamon and tobacco plantations were developed.


A cotton industry and pearl fishing was encouraged. The forts were strengthened and canals and waterways were opened for transportation. Greater tolerance was exercised towards all religions whether Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or Roman Catholic. Falck also greatly improved the legal system and the functioning of the courts. Meanwhile the King turned passionately towards promoting the Buddhist religion. The Tooth Relic was restored to its proper place in the new Maligawa which he had built. The next two decades remained relatively peaceful and the King even rejected overtures from the British who wanted to expel the VOC from Ceylon on behalf of their East India Company.