Dear Welatantrige Boteju/Botejue/Bothaju folk,
I found an interesting article in a Dutch Burgher Union Journal from the 1950's which proposes an etymology for the name Welatantrige :
"Tantri, from a Sk root formed a class of attendants, seven of whom were specially attached to the royal serviceó
Kalu Tantri (Black Thane)
Het-Tantri; from Sk. sweta. white ("White Thane)
Mud-Tantri (Signet Thane)
Got-Tantri (Family Thane)
Wela-Tantri (Border Thane)
Wahala-Tantri (Palace Thane)
the two latter being of chieftain rank, having precedence according' to their office"
So, Welatantrige was the 'ge' name or vasagama of the official responsible for the Borders, in the Kingdom of Kotte.
My great grandfather, Welatantrige Arnolis Boteju (born c1865)was from Matiambalama in Kotte. That's where his ancestral land was from. In fact all Welatantrige Boteju's I have ever met hail from Kotte. Even today, if you log into the websites of schools from the Kotte area, you will find a heck of a lot of W.Boteju's/Botejue's in their lists of students and old boys.
What is interesting is the role of the Ambalama (a type of rest house) in the Kotte Kingdom
I've copied the most relevant part from the above article:
"This Ambalama had been built here as a location for people to rest before entering Etul Kotte from Pitakotte. Unauthorized people had to wait at the Ambalama till permission was given to enter for the royal Palace was within. How time seems to stand still! Even noblemen had to wait in this place till signals for entry were given"
Makes sense that the Welatantrige descendants (the officials responsible for the Kings borders and managing the who entered the palace) would own the land where the Amabalama was situated!
The Kotte Kingdom was annexed by the Portuguese in 1597, it was probably at around that time, that the Welatantrige's took on the name baptismal name Boteju ( don't know if this was voluntary or forced).
There are Wahalatantrige's , who also have the surname Boteju. Whilst we are not related to them, they were also Royal Officials at the kings court (Palace Thane) , and probably took on the Boteju name at the same time. We would have been neighbors in Kotte during that period.
Can I conclusively prove any of this? The Dutch Tombo records in the National Archives in Sri Lanka will prove or disprove this hypothesis. The amount of detail in the Tombo's is comparable to the Doomsday Book from England
Just need to find someone in Sri Lanka who can read archaic Dutch and will do some research for me. When I do, I'll update this thread.
In the meantime, if your name is Welatantrige Boteju,Botejue or Bothaju I would like to hear from you. We are probably cousins many times removed.
Welatantrige Ranil Boteju
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