Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and eBook

James Emerson Tennent
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 892 pages of information about Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and.

[Footnote 1:  Now the Northern Circars.]

[Footnote 2:  TURNOUR’S Epitome, p. 37.]

[Sidenote:  A.D. 1023.]

In A.D. 1023, the Cholians again invaded Ceylon[1], carried the king captive to the coast of India (where he died in exile), and established a Malabar viceroy at Pollanarrua, who held possession of the island for nearly thirty years, protected in his usurpation by a foreign army.  Thus, “throughout the reign of nineteen kings,” says the Rajaratnacari “extending over eighty-six years, the Malabars kept up a continual war with the Singhalese, till they filled by degrees every village in the island."[2]

[Footnote 1:  In the reign of Mahindo IV.]

[Footnote 2:  Rajaratnacari, p. 85.]

[Sidenote:  A.D. 1028.]

During the absence of the rightful sovereign, and in the confusion which ensued on his decease, various members of the royal family arrived at the sovereignty of Rohuna, the only remnant of free territory left.  Four brothers, each assuming the title of king, contended together for supremacy; and amidst anarchy and intrigue, each in turn took up the reins of government, as they fell or were snatched from the hands of his predecessor[1], till at length, on the retirement of all other candidates, the forlorn crown was assumed by the minister Lokaiswara, who held his court at Kattragam, and died A.D. 1071.[2]

[Footnote 1:  TURNOUR’S Epitome, p. 39.]

[Footnote 2:  Mahawanso, ch. lxi.]



[Sidenote:  A.D. 1071.]

From the midst of this gloom and despondency, with usurpation successful in the only province where even a semblance of patriotism survived, and a foreign enemy universally dominant throughout the rest of Ceylon, there suddenly arose a dynasty which delivered the island from the sway of the Malabars, brought back its ancient wealth and tranquillity, and for the space of a century made it pre-eminently prosperous at home and victorious in expeditions by which its rulers rendered it respected abroad.

The founder of this new and vigorous race was a member of the exiled family, who, on the death of Lokaiswara, was raised to the throne under the title of Wijayo Bahu.[1] Dissatisfied with the narrow limits of Rohuna, he resolved on rescuing Pihiti from the usurping strangers; and, by the courage and loyalty of his mountaineers, he recovered the ancient capitals from the Malabars, compelled the whole extent of the island to acknowledge his authority, reunited the several kingdoms of Ceylon under one national banner, and, “for the security of Lanka against foreign invasion, placed trustworthy chiefs at the head of paid troops, and stationed them round the coast."[2] Thus signally successful at home, the fame of his exploits “extended over all Dambadiva[3], and ambassadors arrived at his court from the sovereigns of India and Siam.”

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Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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