The Last Three Kingdoms in Sri Lanka

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Our story has come a long way since the first Kingdom in Anuradhapura. Here is a guide to knowing all there is to know about the last three Kingdoms of Sri Lanka. 

Kingdom of Kotte (1412 – 1597AD)

King Parakrambahu VI (1412-1467 AD) became the King of Raigama and made Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte his kingdom capital. He was known for his political stability, literature and poetry and it was the golden era if Sinhala literature. Following the King’s rule, his adoptive son, King Bhuvanakabahu VI (1472-1480 AD) also known as Sapumal Kumaraya took over the Kingdom. Hereafter the successors in order were: King Parakramabahu VII (1480/1- 1484 AD), King Parakramabahu VIII (1484-1518 AD), King Vijayabahu VII, King Dharma Parakramabahu IX and King Vijayabahu VII (1513-1521 AD).

King Vijayabahu VII was the son of King Parakrambahu VI who had two wives. The historic event  “Vijayaba Kollaya” or the Sack of Vijayaba happened during this time. The king’s three remaining sons from his first wife Bhuvaneka Bahu, Mayadunne and Para Rajasinghe received information of their father planning to murder them and handover the Kotte throne to his step son from his second marriage, Deva Rajasinghe (the Queen brought with her a son from her first marriage). The three sons fled the city, built an army to rob the palace and hired an outsider to kill the King. After his death they divided the Kingdom to three. Bhuvanakabahu, now Bhuvanakabahu VII reigned over the Kingdom of Kotte (1521- 1551 AD) as its emperor. Para Rajasinghe, now Raigam Bandara received the Raigama, Walallawiti and Pasyodun Korale (excluding the sea ports) as the Principality of Raigama. The youngest Mayadunne who became Mayadunne of Sitawaka received Sitawaka, Denawaka and the four Korales of the Kingdom of Sitawaka. 

Following their rule, King Bhuvanakabahu VII’s grandson King Dharmapala reigned for a short while ans was the final King of the Kotte Kingdom and also the first Christian King of Sri Lanka.

Sithawaka (1521 AD – 1593 AD)

King Vijayabahu VII youngest son, Mayadunne of Sitawaka was in power over kingdom of Sithawaka from 1521 AD. For 60 years the King’s reputation was of a strong leader. His son was the successor King Rajasinha I (1581-1593 AD) was another fierce king who battled against the Portuguese that invaded the country.

Kingdom of Kandy (1469 -1815 AD)

Initially under the Kotte kingdom, Kandy was later an independent monarchy of Sri Lanka. The successors in this dynasty were:

  • Sena Sammatha Wickrambahu (1473-1511 AD) who ruled Kandy as a semi-independent kingdom under the Kotte kingdom. Thereafter the successors were Jayaweera Astana (1511-1551 AD) and Karaliyadda Bandara (1551-1581 AD).
  • Karaliyadda Bandara’s daughter became the Queen of Kandy in 1581 AD, Dona Catherine who was once Kusumasana Devi. King Rajasinha I, son of Mayadunne of Sitawaka took over the kingdom from her while he was still ruling the Sithawaka Kingdom.
  • The Queen’s husband took over the kingdom King Rajasinha I and Vimaladharmasuriya I ruled from 1592 – 1604 AD.  The King had strong reputation because of his successful win from the Campaign of Danture in 1594, which series of encounters between the Portuguese and Kandyan Kingdoms – and the Battle of Balana (1602) against the Portuguese. His successor was his cousin Senarat Adahasin (1604-1635) though not the rightful heir to the throne. He married the late king Vimaladharmasuriya I’s wife Dona Catherina and her daughters in order to legitimise the throne. His successor was his own son Rajasinha II. History however find him responsible for the murders of the rightful heirs, his step sons,
  • Rajasinha II (1635 – 1657) with the help of Dutch removed the Portuguese from the country. Thereafter, the last two Sinhala kings were Vimaladharmasuriya (1657-1707 AD) and Vira Narendra Sinha (1707- 1739).  King Vira Narendra Sinha was married to a Princess of the Madurai Nayak dynasty. As the king didn’t have any children the throne was passed on to his brother-in law Sri Vijaya Rajasinha.

From King Sri Vijaya Rajasinha (1739-1747 AD) the Sinhala kingdom was ruled by the Madurai Nayak dynasty. Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747-1782 AD), Sri Rajadhi Rajasinha (1782-1798) and Sri Vikrama Rajasinha (1798-1815 AD) were the final rulers that brought the 2,300 year old Sinhala dynasty to an end. 

In 1815 it was the end of the Kandy Kingdom as well as the Kingdoms of Sri Lanka. Following the Portuguese and Dutch rules the British empire took over Sri Lanka in 1815.

Nastashia Ekanayake - Yoho Creator

Nastashia Ekanayake is a travel enthusiastic who enjoys travelling solo when budget and time permit. Having currently moved back to Sri Lanka, she functions as an administration professional by day and wanderer and foodie by night. She enjoys journaling her adventures, exploring the joys of Instagram and looking up her next travel destination.