Funday Times - Our History

The invasion of Sitawaka

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. The Viceroy who was angry over the whole episode, began to employ his officers to harass the government officers of the Kotte Kingdom. They were repeatedly asked where the king's wealth was
hidden. They did not know anything. Then the Portuguese officers began to question commander Veediya Bandara. "I do not know anything about his wealth", was Veediya Bandara's reply. The Viceroy was not satisfied with this reply either but decided to keep quiet for the moment.

2. Commander Veediya Bandara once again reminded the Portuguese about their promise. He asked the Portuguese to help him to get back all the lands, forcibly acquired by Mayadunne, the King of Sitawaka. He requested armies to march to Sitawaka and ruin the kingdom. He further stated that it was the duty of the Portuguese to fulfil these conditions. If these promises were kept, he, the king and the entire royal household would embrace Christianity, said he.

3. Furthermore, he stated that the funds will be provided for the construction of a fortress in Colombo. He even promised to give the riches that belonged to the viharas. In the meantime, a lot of people who were disgusted with the bad behaviour of the Portuguese went to Mayadunne in Sitawaka for protection. This caused alarm to the rulers of Kotte. They decided to delay the embracing of the new religion.

4. Once again, the armies of Kotte marched towards Sitawaka. They burnt all the fortresses and security points that were on their way, causing a lot of destruction. These armies went as far as Kanampall. Then the armies of Sitawaka too had marched forward. Both armies met and there followed serious fighting. The armies of Sitawaka retreated. King Mayadunne was disturbed. He sent an envoy to say that he was
prepared for peace.

5. The armies of Kotte refused to accept it. They continued their march to Sitawaka. By the time they reached Sitawaka, the city was deserted. They were shocked and began to think. It is through fear of the armies of Kotte that the people had fled. The armies of Kotte caused a lot of damage to the city. They almost ruined the city of Sitawaka. They pulled down the famous 'Brandi Kovil' and plundered the royal palace.

6. These armies killed even animals in the area and caused a lot of hardship to the people. Even the people living in Kotte were disgusted over this behaviour. They began to hate King Dharmapala and got close to King Mayadunne. A section of the people left Kotte and went to live in Sitawaka. Many were dead against the actions of the armies of Kotte.

7. The protests of the people had a great impact on the soldiers of Kotte. Knowing this, the people continued to react in a hostile manner. This made the Portuguese armies go back. King Dharmapala was afraid of the protests of his subjects. He delayed embracing Christianity till Kotte succeeded in getting Mayadunne. Meanwhile, the Viceroy's craving for wealth, surfaced again.

8. He began a campaign of searching the houses of all the influential people of Kotte and made plans to imprison some of the leaders. As he was about to execute this plan, Commander Veediya Bandara who sensed it, fled. The Viceroy was able to arrest the two leaders Thammita and Pandita.

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