Till recently, it was excepted that the changes of names had occured during the British era, but recent finding show that these changes began with arrival of Tamil adminisators,'the amilders', during the Dutch period of rule.
This is easily seen in the maps of these times, as before the 1700's, these maps show clear Sinhala names in all areas and it fact, as can be seen by the map below, around 85% are Sinhala....:
One of the most significant events, which occured were during the British rule. Where two British Governors; Torrington in 1848, and Ward in 1856 settled Tamil's in to the North Central Province(Nuwarakalawiya) and coastal areas of the Eastern Province(Trincomalee & Battecaloa). Consequently the Sinhalese became, in some narrow coastal strips, a minority. The Sinhala village names turned into Tamil forms as had occurred in the Jaffna Peninsula. But the Tamil forms from the original Sinhala can be easily identified.
For example, in the Trincomalee District; Siriyaya became Thiriyaya; Kuswela - Kuccaveli; Gemburuweva - Alankulama; Siyambalaweva - Puliyankulama; Andaweva - Andankulama; Samapura - Sampur; Mudugama - Muttur
Thupapura - Thoppur; Ganthalawa - Kantale; Galara - Kallar; Pavana - Pavanei; Kiliwetiya - Kiliveddi; Veheragala - Verugal;Kottansoliya - Kottanchole; Poramaduwa - Poramadu; Kohombanacchiya - Kombanacchi.
In the Batticaloa District; Gopawela became Kopavali; Niyangalkulama - Niyankallukulam; Bulumale - Pullumalai; and in the Ampara District, Mathota became Manthottam and Pothuvila - Potthuvil.
The Survey Department using Tamil speaking surveyors, used the Tamilised forms in British maps in the 20th century. These were then, in a travesty, transferred to Sinhala in a Tamil form. It is time now to use the original Sinhala name in Sinhala and English usage.
P.A.T. Gunasinghe says that Jaffna was populated by Sinhalese in the medieval period as well. He says that the place names of Jaffna only make sense if they are seen as translations of Sinhala names. He points out that ‘vil’ means ‘bow,’ and ‘pay’ means ‘net’ in Tamil. Therefore names like Kokuvil and Manipay only make sense when they are seen as the Tamilisation of the Sinhala words Kokavila and Mampe. Valikamam and Vimankam are meaningless in Tamil, but make sense if the villages originally bore the Sinhala names of Valigama and Vimangama.
Other examples incl Batakotte-Vadukodai, Hunugama-Chunkkamman, Koloambathota-Colombothurai, Mallagama-Mallakamman, Telipola-Telippali..All these are in fact are written in their original forms even on early British maps.
One of the most fascinating and insightful is how the name Valikammam came about. In Portuguese, Dutch and even early British maps, we have Waligama (Sandy village). The transition from the original Sinhala name to today's Tamilized name of Valikammam, is easily explained.
1824-Waligama(East, West, North, South).
1920-it had become Valigammam.
1948-its had its full transformation and now stand in its fully Tamilized form as Valikamman.
*Dutch sources; Cottiarama (Sinhala name during Dutch periods)-Kottiyar(Tody's Tamilized forms), Samantura & Siyampantura-Samanturai, Mavila ganga-Mavil Aru.
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