Funday Times - Our History

The battle of Nawagamuwa

This article is part of a continuing series on the ‘Mahavamsa,’ the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history

1. The King of Kotte, Buwanekabahu, regained strength. The army of Kotte joined the Portuguese forces. The combined army got organized to attack Sitawaka. As they marched forward, Mayadunne, the King of Sitawaka got to know about it. He sent an army to fight them. The armies of both parties met at Nawagamuwa. The fighting commenced. It did not last long. Mayadunne's army was weakened. They retreated to Sitawaka.

2. The army of Kotte was about to chase them. In all previous instances, King Buwanekabahu was sympathetic towards his brother, Mayadunne, the King of Sitawaka. But this time he entertained a great anger against his brother. He thought of teaching him a good lesson. Meanwhile, a Christian priest tried to stop this battle by influencing the Portuguese.

3. This priest suggested marching to Kandy first. Castro agreed to it. But King Buwanekabahu's intention was to attack Sitawaka at the earliest possible occasion. He immediately agreed to pay the twenty-thousand 'pardads', requested by the Portuguese. On top of this, he agreed to cancel the monies due to him as debts. But all these were on condition that they attack Mayadunne first.

4. If things were done according to his bidding, he consented to give the Kotte army to march to Kandy. But Castro and his people did not agree to this deal. The dispute between these two parties was
advantageous to Mayadunne. He let go the land acquired from the Kingdom of Kotte and fled to Sitawaka. Just then, the Christian priest who suggesting going to Kandy, brought fresh news to Castro.

This news was to say that if Castro came to Kandy with his forces, Vickramabahu, the King of Kandy, would embrace Christianity. This made Castro ignore Buwanekabahu's request and march towards Kandy, instead. But before going very far, what Castro least expected happened. On their way they met an armed group, who surrounded Castro's men. They began to attack and cause a lot of destruction.

6. As they were in unfamiliar surroundings, Castro's men were weakened. They were rendered helpless. They could only try to dodge the attack that was made from all quarters. There was no fighting as such. When Mayadunne got to know of this, he sent an army immediately and tried to save Castro and his men. They were taken to Sitawaka. King Mayadunne treated this foreign commander very well.

7. According to him, all this happened because they went against King Buwanekabahu. But he said that King Buwanekabahu played a double role. After listening to this, Castro got disgusted of the King of Kotte. He was now pleased with the actions of King Mayadunne. Even the Portuguese who were in the Fort of Colombo, broke their relations with King Buwanekabahu.

8. As time passed, the enmity between the Fort of Colombo and the Kotte Kingdom grew. The Viceroy in Goa, too learned about these happenings. Goa, by this time, had received a number of letters complaining about ill-treatment meted out by King Buwanekabahu of Kotte.

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