Sri Lanka

Matara was a major bonded warehouse in southern Ceylon. The principal commodities were elephants and cinnamon. Elephants were captured by chasing them into a trap, from which they could be removed one by one and tied up. Subsequently the elephants would be baptised in accordance with Ceylonese custom. A wild elephant would be put in with tame ones. The elephants were sold to Indian rajahs who deployed them in times of war as living tanks. The VOC exercised territorial authority in Matara and could therefore levy taxes. A tightening of the tax regulations in 1760 sparked an uprising against the VOC by the local population. The rebels were aided by the king of Kandy, with whom the VOC had for some time been in conflict. The Company won the war, but suffered a great loss of prestige. For this reason a bigger fort was subsequently built in Matara.