This book postulates that kingship in ancient and medieval Sri Lanka was neither despotic nor benevolent, but embodied feudal characteristics, although it completely differed from European feudal monarchy. Caste, land tenure, and compulsory service or corvee labour systems played important roles in society, which are also manifestations of feudalism. Even the Portuguese, Dutch and the early British rulers exploited some aspects of the caste system and feudal tenures to their advantage. Feudalism withered away after the Colebrooke reforms, but only the plantation and merchant capital contributed to capitalist growth and not the industrial capital. In fact, the British colonial masters discouraged industrial capitalism. as a result, there was no appreciable scale of commodity production. Dependent commercial capitalism turned the country into a marketplace for imported products.