Funday Times - Our History

The cunning viceroy

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

1. The Sri Lankan problem was a big headache to the Indian Viceroy, John Villa. From the very outset he did not like King Buwanekabahu. Before long, the entire city of Lisbon got to know of this issue. The king in Portugal too began to dislike King Buwanekabahu. In the meantime, a new viceroy was appointed to India. He was John Aponso de Noronno.

2. The new viceroy wanted to find out matters about this island. He came to Colombo in October 1550 A.D. He did not like the actions of King Buwanekabahu. The Portuguese commander stationed in Colombo, complained to him about the injustices taking place in Kotte. The viceroy was further offended after listening to all this and decided to take revenge.

3. The word spread that it was King Buwanekabahu's people, who were responsible for cornering and attacking De Castro. The Christian priests too repeatedly complained about the harassment meted out to the followers of Christianity. The viceroy flew into a rage and ordered King Buwanekabahu to pay
ten thousand 'pardads' immediately. The king was shocked.

4. The king sent word saying that he did not possess such big amounts of money to pay immediately. The viceroy knew about the wealth of Kotte and so did not believe these words. A nephew of Noronno, who was in Kandy at this time, too was not on good terms with Buwanekabahu. But he happened to be a very close associate of King Mayadunne.

5. King Mayadunne tried to build up a friendship with the viceroy, through this friend. It materialised.
The king selected his own son, Prince Tikiri Bandara, to be sent as an envoy for this purpose. The son was sent to Colombo. The Portuguese leader welcomed him warmly and later both of them were engaged in a pleasant conversation.

6. The prince said that his father, King Mayadunne was willing to work on friendly terms with the Portuguese. He also informed about the influence made by Castro. He took the chance to make a request for the return of lands given to Kotte because of Castro's actions. If that was done, he said his father was ready to pay tribute to the Portuguese king.

7. The Portuguese viceroy was a very cunning person. He never believed anything just as it was said to him. He made extensive inquiries and found out that the news was true. So he agreed to the request made but said that he had to inform Portugal, before taking any action. Therefore he wanted an envoy from Sitawaka to be sent to Lisbon. Kotte got to know about all these dealings in double quick time.

8. King Buwanekabahu was disturbed. He sent about half the amount of money requested by the viceroy. A delegate was sent with a copy of the agreement signed with the Portuguese some time ago. This delegate was named Pundita, a very close friend of the king.

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