WWW Virtual Library - Sri Lanka

 
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Great Dynasty of Sri Lanka (B.C. 543  - 1815)
HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL HERITAGE OF MORE THAN 2,500 YEARS
 
 

The first major legendary reference to the island is found in the great Indian epic, the Ramayana, thought to have been written around 500 B.C. The Ramayana tells of the conquest of Lanka in 3000 B.C. by Rama, an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. Rama's quest to save his abducted wife, Sita, from Ravanna, the demon god of Lanka, is, according to some scholars, a poetic account of the early southward expansion of Brahmanic civilization. 

The most valuable source of knowledge for the legends and historical heritage of Sri Lanka is the Mahavamsa (Great Genealogy or Dynasty), a chronicle compiled in Pali, in the sixth century. Vijaya is the central legendary figure in the Mahavamsa. He was the grandson of an Indian princess Suppadevi from Vanga in northern India who had been abducted by an amorous lion, Simha, and son of their incestuous and half-leonine offspring, Sinhabahu & Sinhasivali. Along with 700 of his followers, perhaps from Kalinga (Orissa), Vijaya arrived in Lanka, and established himself as ruler with the help of Kuveni, a local demon-worshiping princess. Although Kuveni had given birth to two of Vijaya's children, she was banished by the ruler, who then arranged a marriage with a princess from Madurai in southeastern India. Kuveni's offspring are the folkloric ancestors of the present day Veddahs.

 
 
  • A complete list of Kings & Queens of Sri Lanka ( From King Vijaya (B.C. 543 Tambapanni) to Sri Vikrama Rajasinha (1798-1815).  
  • King Vijaya (B.C. 543-504) and his successors (The traditional first king of Lanka is Vijaya. His grandmother, Suppadevi, according to the legend was the daughter of the king of Vanga (Bengal) by a princess of Kalinga (Orissa)).
  • King Pandukabhaya (B.C. 437-367) (Prince Panduvasudeva and Princess Buddhakachchana were duly consecrated as the second King and Queen of Lanka.The King had ten sons, the eldest named Abhaya, and one daughter names Ummadha Citta.)
  • King Dutugemunu (B.C. 161-137 ) (Dutugemunu the warrior king of Lanka dominates the history with his glory and greatness)
  • King Codaganga (1196- 1197) (Though the reign of King Codaganga was very short, this epistle brings to light a Cola invasion from South India, which was successfully repulsed during this period of reign.)
  • Parakrama Bahu the Great ( 1153-1186) (He united the whole island under his rule, and even invaded India and Burma. His name "Parakrama", is derived by the joining of the words "Para"(foreign) "Akrama"(Invader) which illustrates the significant feat of him invading India.)
  • Dona Catherina (1578 -1613): the last empress of Lanka( Dona Catherina was for all running through her veins practical purposes a foreign lady with Portuguese culture. Konappu Bandara assumed the name of Vimaladharmasuriya I, (l592- 16O4) marrying Dona Catherina and thereby strengthening his claim to the throne. )

The Kingdom of Sitavaka (1521 - 1594):

KINGS OF SITAVAKA
  Mayadunne  1521-1581
  Rajasinha I 1554-1593
  Rajasurya  1593-1594
  • The Kingdom of Sitavaka 1521-1594( Sitavaka came into being on the failure of a conspiracy to deprive the throne to the legitimate heirs of Vijayabahu VI of Kotte (1513- 1521))

The Kandyan Kingdom: Kings, Queens & Chieftains:

KINGS OF KANDY
  Vimala Dharma Surya I 1590-1604
  Senarat 1604-1635
  Rajasinha II 1629-1687
  Vimala Dharma Surya II 1687-1707
  Narendra Sinha 1707-1739
  Vijaya Rajasinha 1739-1747
  Kirtisri 1747-1781
  Rajadhirarajasinha 1781-1798
  Sri Vikrama Rajasinha 1798-1815
  • The Kandyan Kingdom - Conspiracies and assassinations (There had been a number of conspiracies and assassinations during long years of Kandyan Kingdom. The ruling King closely guarded his kingdom and all subjects had to get permission to travel out of the Kingdom. King’s officials were given large land grants and they in turn gave this land to villagers for the purpose of farming.)
  • Vimala Dharma Suriya I - Kandy (1590-1604) (On 2nd June 1602 Admiral Joris van Spilbergen came on land at Santhamuruthu in the East coast and was met by the Kings Dissawa. In July the above meeting took place between the Admiral and Vimala Dharma Suriya I of Kandy.)
  • King Vimala Dharma Suriya I - Kandy (1590-1604) (In 1592 Konappu Bandara baptised as Don Juan, abandoned Christianity and was crowned by the Kandyans, Vimala Dharma Suriya I of Kandy. He married Princess Kusumasana ( who had also been baptised as Dona Catherina) the daughter of the former king of Kandy, Karaliadde Bandara.)
  • Rajasinghe-II - Kandy (1629-1687) ( A war hero and a fearless fighter who waged several wars to free the country from Portuguese and Dutch domination. Like Rajasinghe 1 of Sitawaka, Rajasinghe II of Senkadagala too has left many an indelible marks in the history of this land. )
  • King Keerthi Sri Rajasinha (1747-1781) King Narendrasinghe (1707-1730) of Kundasale was the last Sinhalese King to rule Kandy. He married Malabar queen Udumulle Devi who was the elder sister of Sri Wijaya Rajasinghe (1739-1747) who ruled from Hanguranketha. King Wijaya Rajasingha was married to the elder sister of King Keerthi Sri Rajasingha (1747-1782). King Keerthi Sri Rajasinha’s own brother, Rajadi Rajasinghe (1782-1796) ruled Kandy after him.
  • King Sri Wickrema Rajasingha - last of Kandy (1798-1815) ( The tragic death of Rajadi Rajasinghe was on Monday 16th July, 1798 and the crowning of the new king was the following day with all the royal rituals observed. )
  • Queen Rengammal - Last queen of Lanka (1798-1815) (Rengammal! Not a very familiar name, you would say. You are correct. She was not ethnically a Sinhalese and nor was the king, for that matter.)
  • Sri Vikrama Rajasinha (1798-1815) (Last king of lanka, reigned for 17 years from 1798-1815. Deported to Vellore on January 24, 1816. Lived as a captive for 17 years. Died on January 30, 1832)
  • The Pilimatalavuva Maha Adikaram (Next to the King, the last two Pillimatalavuvas, were the most dazzling personalities during the final years of the kingdom. As 'King Maker' Pilimatalavuva Maha Adikaram III raised Kannasamy, an uneducated youth of about eighteen years, to the Sinhalese Throne of Kandy in 1798, under the sonorous Sinhala name of 'Sri Wickrama Rajasimha')
  • Galagoda Adikaram - Chief Minister of King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe (Galagoda Adigar was in the royal service of King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe (as the Chief Minister) during the Golden era of the Kandyan Kingdom. During this period Kandyans constructed a large number of places of religious worship, and stood against the Dutch invaders and they even managed to destroy several Dutch forts.)
  • Maduwanwela Rate Mahatmaya - A unique Kandyan Chieftain( He inherited an incredible eighty two thousand acres in two 'nindagamas' granted to his ancestors by the Sinhala kings.)
  • Ehelapola the great (Ehelapola Maha Adigar or Ehelapola the Great was the leader of the successful coup against the despot King Sri Wickrema Rajasingha (1798 -1815). He planned to overthrow the king because he ruled as a despot and he was a cruel tyrant. Ehelapola, was a pure bred Brahmin and a very devout Buddhist.
  • The Fall of Sri Wickrema Rajasinha and The Kandyan Convention  (The main reason for the fall of the Kandyan kingdom was the disunity between the king and his chiefs. While the king tried to curb the growing power of the chiefs, the chiefs, in their turn, attempted to work out their plans for the destruction of the king.)
 

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WWW Virtual Library - Sri Lanka