What is the history of tea in Sri Lanka?

What is the history of tea in Sri Lanka?

From the early 19th century , the name "Ceylon" was synonymous with tea . Its history dates back to the British rule in Sri Lanka, which took place over two hundred years ago. The first plantation on the island was recorded in 1824 , when the British imported the plant from China and planted it in the Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya for non-commercial use. A few years later, larger quantities of tea were imported from Assam and Calcutta for experimental purposes.

However , the actual birth of tea plantations in Sri Lanka occurred as a result of the collapse of the once thriving coffee industry on the island. In 1869, the vegetation was struggling with a new disease called coffee rust. As a result of her progress, the coffee enterprise was destroyed in less than ten years. This is how mass tea cultivation began in Sri Lanka.

A photograph of the British colonizers

Who and how contributed to commercial tea cultivation?

A Scotsman, James Taylor , pioneered the establishment of commercial tea cultivation in Sri Lanka . What began as a 19-acre tea plantation on the Loolecondera estate in 1867 soon expanded to surrounding estates such as Mooloya, Hope and Rookwood. Taylor founded the factory in 1872 , and in 1875 he managed to send the first shipment of Ceylon tea to the London auction of infusions.

Loading chests of tea onto boats by Sri Lankans

What is the history of tea exports from Sri Lanka?

When formal exports of Ceylon tea began, its popularity grew at an alarming rate! This meant more and more room for the industry to develop. As a result, the first tea auction was held in Colombo in 1883 . To this day, it is considered the oldest and largest tea auction in the world.

One of the main factors driving the tea industry in Ceylon was strong demand from abroad . This meant that export volumes increased exponentially. By 1927, Sri Lanka's tea production exceeded 100,000 metric tons and was almost entirely intended for export.

As the tea industry in Sri Lanka developed, so did the surrounding infrastructure . The railway system built by the British in 1925 was a key development point . They were needed to transport the plant to the Tea Research Institute. This resulted in Sri Lanka becoming the world's largest exporter in 1965.

Ceylon tea plantation in Sri Lanka

The history of Ceylon tea began on 19 acres of land in Kandy as part of a diversification experiment . Over the years, it has grown into seven tea regions , which include Kandy, Uva, Ruhuna (south), Udupusellawa, Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula and Sabaragamuwa. Today, Ceylon tea meets 10% of the world's demand for tea , providing taste sensations to both everyday tea drinkers and world-class connoisseurs.

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