1. The envoy at Goa, read the letter sent from Kandy. He agreed to the contents. Not stopping at that, King Vickramabahu dispatched a number of messages. In every letter, he had mentioned that he liked the close association of the Portuguese. The
delegate at Goa agreed to fulfill that wish. But all this ended abruptly as the Portuguese delegate fell ill in Kotte. So these letters had to be sent through a priest, to the Viceroy in Goa.
2. Don John Castro, the Viceroy in Goa, read all the letters and felt quite happy. He
temporarily suspended the idea of appointing a prince to the Kotte Kingdom and instead showed interest in sending Christian priests to Kandy. He also thought of sending a prince who was loyal to them as the ruler of the
kingdom of Jaffna. At that time the ruler of Jaffna was Velaikkara Sakaran.
3. He was also called King Sankili. He came to power by force, by assassinating the rightful ruler there. It was in
1519 AD, that the rightful king came to the throne.
This King Sankili not only killed the rightfull king, but he also chased away the heir to the throne. Even those who were faithful to the rightful king were killed. The prince who was the rightful heir fled to India and joined the Portuguese in Goa.
4. As the sea
surrounding Jaffna is shallow, most of the ships that sail close to the shore get stuck and sometimes get damaged. Then these ships have to be brought to shore for repairs. The ruler of Jaffna, Sankili,
captured these ships.
This went on for quite some time. Very often it
happened to be, that the ships he captured, belonged to the Portuguese. The Viceroy in Goa was angry over this.
5. The Viceroy planned to punish King Sankili. He sent a fleet of warships to Jaffna,
carrying also the rightful heir to the throne of Jaffna. They fought with the king and defeated him. The new king then
promised to pay tribute to the Portuguese and in
addition gave a lot of gifts to the Portuguese.
6. This occurred in 1543 AD. The Portuguese had trust in this king. Anyhow, this situation did not last for long. King Sankili, began to oppose Christianity. About 700 Christians in Mannar were killed in 1544 AD. This did not deter the inhabitants of Mannar. They requested the
well-known Francis Xavier, a Catholic
missionary, to come to Mannar.
7. When this request was sent, he was busy engaged in missionary work elsewhere. So
another priest was sent to Mannar. He taught Christianity to most of the people there and even
converted some of them. When King Sankili heard of this, he was furious. He ordered all those who embraced Christianity to give it up. Many did not want to obey this rule. This made
8. He then ordered all those who did not obey this rule and give up Christianity, to be killed. He sent troops to monitor this. But no one gave up the
religion. The king then ordered them to be killed. Many fled Mannar, as a result and those who stayed back were killed. When Francis Xavier heard about this, he was greatly grieved.