Funday Times - Our History

The death of the King of Kotte

This article is part of a continuing series on the ‘Mahavamsa,’ the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history
By Halaliye Karunathilake, Edited and translated by Kamala Silva, Illustrated by Saman Kalubowila

1. A delegate of King Mayadunne of Sitawaka too met the Viceroy in India. All that he said about the situation in the country was quite in contrast with what the delegate from Kotte had said. The Viceroy was
puzzled listening to these contradictory reports. It was not possible to solve the problems they
presented. They were very complicated. Because he could not do anything to settle matters, he wanted them to present the problem to the King of Portugal and get him to settle it.

2. Though he said the same thing to both delegates, his preference was for King Mayadunne. So he asked King Mayadunne's delegate to ask their king to send another delegate to Lisbon. King Buwanekabahu got to know of this. He sent the Viceroy, a copy of the agreement signed between the Portuguese and himself, where the Portuguese had promised to protect King Buwanekabahu and his grandson.

3. When the Viceroy read this he became speechless. He kept silent. Ultimately he told them to get their problem solved by the King of Portugal. At this time, the Portuguese people who were in this country were settled in Kotte and Colombo. Some of them were up to all the vices and corruption. Our people had to suffer untold difficulties at their hands. The Viceroy too got to know of these matters. He immediately ordered all the unmarried Portuguese soldiers to leave the country.

4. This order also added that the married Portuguese soldiers and traders, should settle down in Colombo. That too they had to concentrate around the monastery of St. Francis. Instructions were also given to construct a wall surrounding this monastery. Officers were appointed to inquire into the low acts of the Portuguese, who were really greedy for wealth. The officers were given an additional task of looking after the new converts to Christianity.

5. This last order was made essential as King Buwanekabahu was ill-treating the Christians on the sly. These officers were also given secret information about the wealth of King Buwanekabahu. This king was now old and feeble. The Portuguese Viceroy too had his eyes on the wealth of the king and was planning to snatch it, as soon as the king died. The Viceroy gave all these instructions to the Portuguese and went back to his country.

6. Neither King Buwanekabahu nor King Mayadunne was satisfied with this. Just as the Viceroy left the country, both kings sent their envoys. They went to Cochin, met the Viceroy and forwarded their
complaints. They sought his assistance. But the Viceroy took no notice of these and told them that they should settle their problems in their own country.

7. To evade the issue, he appointed an officer to inquire into these problems. He was Sebastian Pinnero. This envoy, along with the delegates sent from Lanka, came to Colombo. Just as they landed here, they heard the sad news of the death of King Buwanekabahu. This sad news reached Goa too. This king had faced a tragic death.

8. As the Viceroy who came from India, left our shores, King Mayadunne marched to fight Kotte. Then it was the commander, Veediya Bandara, who came to confront him. In the meantime, a rumour spread that King Mayadunne of Sitawaka, had accepted a bribe to kill King Buwanekabahu.

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