Thiru Arumugam in The Ceylankan Vol 26/3, August 2023, where the title reads “François Valentijn wrote a 462 page ‘Description of Ceylon’ 300 years ago … Part 2” ……… Part 1 having appeared in The Ceylankan J 102 Vol 26(2) May 2023, pp 24-25. ….. also by Thiru Arumugam
First and Second Chapters [Geography] For his sources of information about the geography and history of Ceylon up to the Portugueseperiod, Valentijn relies on the Portuguese writer Diogo do Couto’s Ceylon section of his books Decadas da Asia (Decades of Asia)5. Couto was Chief Keeper of the Records in Goa from 1595 to 1616. Goa was the Asian headquarters of the Portuguese. Valentijn also took information from the Dutch writer Father Philippus Baldeus6, who lived in Jaffna from about 1656 to 1665. For the description of the interior of Ceylon he relies on Robert Knox7, as the Portuguese and Dutch had limited access to these areas. There was a pirated Dutch translation of Knox’s book by S de Vries published in Utrecht in 1692 and Valentijn would have used this translation. Valentijn plagiarised freely, sometimes copying entire sections from these books. In those halcyon pre-copyright days, the printed word was considered public property!