Slave Island (also known as Kampong Kertel) is a suburb in Colombo, Sri Lanka, located directly south of the Fort. The suburb contains Beira Lake, a large lake and its esplanade is visited by many for recreation. Slave Island is mostly a commercial area with hotels and shopping centres.
Beira Lake and Slave Island
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The name "Slave Island" was given during the period of British colonisation referring to the situation under Portuguese rule when slaves were held there, most of them black people from the Swahili coast and Portuguese East Africa. Many of these slaves later returned to Africa. However, a small group of African descendants are scattered throughout Sri Lanka and are collectively known as Sri Lankan Kaffirs.
Slave Island is a multicultural area known for its mix of Sinhalese, Malay and Tamil cultures. The larger ethnic communities in Slave Island are the Sri Lankan Malays, Sri Lankan Muslims and Sinhalese. There are also various minorities such as Burghers and others. Religions include Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and various other religions and beliefs.
Slave Island is served by the Slave Island Railway Station. Built with Victorian-era architectural embellishments, the station carries significant architectural and historic value. The building features stylish arches, intricate woodwork, and metal installations, which emphasize Victorian-era styles.
Many historic buildings in the Slave Island were either demolished or are awaiting to be demolished due to recent high rise development. Despite the architectural and historic value most buildings are not properly maintained and as a result most have become run down. The shophouse-style buildings in Justice Akbar Mawatha which are to be demolished is said to be the place where D.R. Wijewardene, D.S. Senanayake and Oliver Goonetilleke met to discuss the constitutional reforms that led to Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948.
The Seema Malakaya of the Gangarama Temple in the Beira Lake in the Slave Island area, is one of many religious structures in Colombo
- "Protecting historic Slave Island Railway Station". Community/Livelihood Development. John Keells Group. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
- "Residents Express Mixed Emotions as Historic Slave Island Prepares for Demolition". Global Press Journal. 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
- "Roar Media". roar.media. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
- "Don't bulldoze our colonial shop houses into oblivion". The Sunday Times Sri Lanka. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
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