Funday Times - Our History

The rebellion in 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

Thammita Suriya Bandara, accepted the letter sent by Veediya Bandara. It contained the following message. “You have to hand over my son, King Dharmapala, to my charge. Please note that all the power of the Kotte Kingdom, rightfully belongs to me. That too should be transferred to me
immediately. If you do not accept these orders, be prepared for death.” When Thammita Suriya Bandara who was also a brave and war-like leader, read this, he was furious.

Yet, he knew that his brother was not a person, who would boast about himself. But he just couldn’t give in. He thought, at this point of time, Veediya Bandara did not possess a professional army, and as such he would be helpless.

He looked contemptuously, at the Veediya Bandara’s envoys and laughed aloud and said in a threatening tone, “You had better realize that this is my kingdom. Leave this place immediately. Your chief commander is not a great man for me. He is a weakling.

Go, tell him that and also tell him that Suriya Bandara is ready for any battle.” So the envoys left Kotte. Meanwhile Thammita Suriya Bandara informed the Fort in Colombo, about the threatening letter of Veediya Bandara. The Portuguese did not pay much attention to it. But the people of Kotte, when they heard about this letter, were greatly disturbed. Some officials were

Those who were supportive of Veediya Bandara were happy. They thought that Veediya Bandara would once again become powerful in Kotte. So they rose up in rebellion against Thammita Suriya Bandara. The Portuguese did not like this. So they sent the Commander De Melo Kutinno, to suppress the
rebellion. His armies began to attack the rebels. This ended the revolt and the rebels were severely punished.

When Veediya Bandara heard this, he flew into a rage. But like in previous occasions, he did not act impatiently. He decided to act with caution. He started to make the fortress at Palanda stronger. He recruited more men to his army and gave them a good training. All this was done, not with the intention of attacking Kotte or taking revenge on the Portuguese.

Commander Veediya Bandara believed that the root cause of all this trouble was the Christian
community and their priests. So, he started attacking them. The Christian priests like Antonio, Pedro and Francisco died at the hand of Veediya Bandara.

As a result of this massacre in 1555 A.D., it was difficult to observe anyone practicing Christianity in public.All this is according to a description given by Father Qyeros. While all this was going on, an agreement was signed between Sitawaka Rajasinghe amd Captain Lasarda, in August 1555.

It was signed with the aim of agreeing to defeat Veediya Bandara. After that, the army of Sitawaka was joined by the Portuguese forces. These combined forces marched to fight Veediya Bandara.

Veediya Bandara was not afraid of these armies. He continued fighting. There were sporadic battles now and then and this situation lasted for about five years. In every battle, Veediya Bandara was victorious. The foreign army that came from Colombo and the army of Sitawaka were defeated.

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