Was there a Jaffna Kingdom?
Posted on June 1st, 2017

Garvin Karunaratne

HLD Mahindapala  in his Paper, How Many Homelands do the Jaffna Tamils need, quotes Historian Arsaratne who states that there was a Jaffna kingdom in 1325. This is incorrect. The evidence is that when the Portuguese did attack Jaffna the king of Kandy who ruled entire Sri Lanka sent his army headed by Mudliyar Atapattu to fight the invader. The enclosed Paper by Shenali  Waduge is factually correct.   I am sorry though I studied Ceylon History I have now marched on to other areas of study. Thanks to Shanali Waduge for her informative Paper which follows.

In actual fact when the Portuguese came to Ceylon, they invaded Jaffna

  • Jaffna was a kinglet subject to the Kandyan Kingdom: Military expedition under Mudaliar Attapattu despatched by Kandyan King Senerath to defend Jaffna Tamils from Portuguese conquest in 1619 is further evidence

Jaffna was a kinglet subject to the Kandyan Kingdom: Military expedition under Mudaliar Attapattu despatched by Kandyan King Senerath to defend Jaffna Tamils from Portuguese conquest in 1619 is further evidence

Why would the Kandyan King Senarath dispatch a military expeditionary force under Mudaliar Attapattu to defend the Tamils against the Portuguese in 1619 AD? The answer is simple. The Jaffna province was a kinglet and tributary of the Kandyan Kingdom. Just as the Centre would rush in if Chief Minister Wigneswaran lands into a spot of bother, likewise King Senarath wanted to safeguard part of his kingdom and sent Mudaliyar Attapattu with some 10,000 Sinhala troops. It is also no different to the Senadhinayaka ordering the Sri Lanka Military to defeat the terrorist LTTE and the country’s soldiers saved close to 300,000 Tamils.

Father Fernao de Qeuyroz’s treatise ‘Conquest of Ceylon’ records that the King sent an army of 10,000 men under the command of Mudaliyar Atapattu to Jaffna. Unfortunately, the King’s expeditionary force lost the battle due to the overwhelming superiority of weapons that the Portuguese commanded and Attapattu himself together with 5000 troops of the King also perished. This was the last battle for the defense of Jaffna before it fell to European powers and it was fought not by a Tamil army but by a Sinhalese one and much Sinhalese blood was shed for it after the Tamil kingdom had capitulated to the Europeans”.

Queyroz’s book also states:

‘As long as Rajapure (Anuradhapura) was the capital of Ceylon, the whole island was subject to one King”

Queyroz records that when the Portuguese first arrived in Sinhale in 1505  there were 15 ‘kinglets’ subject to the King of Kotte among whom the ‘kinglet of Jaffnapatao was one. That the head of the Kinglets were known as the Emperor and there was only one Emperor in Sinhale and whenever the Portuguese or Dutch referred to Emperor it was to the ruler of the entire country. Another example to deny the separate Tamil homeland myth.

The 15 kinglets were Denavake, Valave, Putelao, Mantota, Tanagama, Muliauali, Triquilimale, Cutiar, Batecalou, Paneva, Vintena, Orupula, Mature, Candea and Jaffnapatao and Kingdom of Cota makes it 16. None of these were ‘independent’ or totally autonomous with sovereign rights or being governed  ‘separately’ and nullifies unfounded calls claiming any independent homeland ever existed.

Sending troops to Jaffna to defend and protect Tamils from a Portuguese invasion of territory under the overall jurisdiction of the Kandyan Kingdom gives numerous other messages.

When the Portuguese under Fellippe de Oliveria were attacking Tamils in the North in 1619 AD, the King of Kandy Senerath did not sit silent or behave like a Nero. He sent his troops immediately headed by Mudaliyar Attapattu who sacrificed his life in a bold attempt to save the lives of Tamils just like close to 30,000 Sri Lankan Troops in the current era made the supreme sacrifice to save the nation from terrorism. The King of Kandy sent his men to fight the Portuguese invasion of Jaffna because the North was part of the King’s Kingdom just like Sri Lanka’s Senadhinayaka did in 2009.

What were the consequences of the defeat of the Sinhala Army under Mudaliar Attapattu sent by King Senerath to protect the Tamils of Jaffna from the Portuguese?

Portuguese Inquisition in Jaffna

It resulted in an extension of the brutal and inhumane Portuguese Inquisition into Jaffna. The Portuguese Inquisition was already in full swing in both Goa and the Western Coastal areas of Portuguese Ceylon. Fellippe de Oliveria, the Portuguese conqueror of Jaffna, destroyed 500 Buddhist and Hindu temples in the Jaffna province. Fellippe de Oliveria punished all those who practiced anything non -Christian. This is the fundamental basis of the Catholic Inquisition. Punish all those who are different by religion or thought and practiced another faith. Homogeneity was compulsory. No room for pluralism. The respect for the human rights of the Tamil Hindus was honoured in the breach by the Catholic Portuguese.

The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) – a Roman Catholic missionary group, constructed nearly 30 Catholic churches by vandalizing and demolishing Hindu temples. Oliveria introduced compulsory proselytizing – a basic feature of the Catholic Inquisition. Franciscan Friars converted more than 6000 Tamils to Christianity (Prof. Endagama)

The Buddhist Sinhalese looked after the minority Tamils in the past in areas under their control with full respect for the religious rights of the Tamil Hindus. In contrast the Catholic Portuguese forced their religion down the throats of others who subscribed to another set of religious beliefs.

Magnanimity of King Senerath

The Sinhalese came to the rescue of the Muslims as well. When Muslims who were treated as aliens and non – citizen traders and were being hounded and killed by the Portuguese almost at every turn, it was the Sinhala Buddhist King Senerath who again came to their rescue in 1626. The King not only gave them shelter but even provided means of livelihood. The King of Kandy settled some 4000 Muslims in Batticaloa because the East of Sri Lanka was an integral part of the Kandyan Kingdom. 

Had the Buddhist King Senerath not given protection and shelter to the Muslims fleeing the Portuguese controlled areas of the country by admitting them to the Kandyan Kingdom, what would have been the plight of the local Muslims?

The track record of the Portuguese and Spanish in South America and Africa is horrific. They destroyed wholesale the ancient Civilizations of the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people were massacred in cold blood. Muslims in Ceylon may have been subject to a genocide or annihilation by the Portuguese given what the Portuguese did to the Muslims in Goa. All Muslim males above 16 years of age were killed and all the Muslim women ( known as White Muslims) were captured and enslaved as mistresses or concubines of Portuguese soldiers.

What the Germans did to the Jews in World War Two is known as the ”Final Solution of the Jewish Question” (in German Endlö-sung der Judenfrage”).

This is nothing new when one examines European conquest and treatment of black, brown and yellow people during the last 500 years.

Human Rights Discourse – Hypocrisy of the West

Preaching Human Rights today by the very same colonial countries is just a smokescreen to conceal their dark past of genocide of native people, mass murder and crimes against humanity.

It was only in 1815 that the Muslims in Sri Lanka were first officially allowed to own land and property in Sri Lanka. Muslims as part of the Sri Lankan polity officially began to be counted from 1815 onwards only because prior to that they were designated as aliens and treated like foreigners, intruders or persona non grata.   Neither the Portuguese nor the Dutch gave them any recognition given the historical enmity of Christians towards Muslims that developed during the Crusades. This enmity continues in various degrees even today.

Donald Trumps diatribes against Muslims in USA constitute the latest manifestation of this perennial conflict between these two Abrahamic religions.

Moreover, the Portuguese & Dutch records referred to Tamils as Malabar (coming from India’s Malabar coast) and this changed only in 1911 when the British introduced for the first time the term ‘Ceylon Tamils’ under the influence of Ponnambalam Arunachchalam then Registrar General who compiled the National Census Report in 1911. 

Therefore Tamil politicians can only refer to period after 1911 refering to themselves as Ceylon Tamils because prior to that Tamils were known as those that had originated from South India. Is this why the Eelam campaign which originally kick started in Tamil Nadu was re – launched and rebranded in Sri Lanka boosted by the TULF/ITAK resolutions and forced upon Sri Lanka via the Indo – Lanka Accord of 1987?

We have given a few more examples to demolish the Tamil homeland myth and to showcase that while there were kingdoms or rather kinglets none of these were running separately as sovereign nations or independently of the whole country. At no point in time have parts of Sri Lanka functioned independently or separately other than when Portuguese and Dutch were ruling parts of Sri Lanka while the rest came under the Sinhala Emperor.It also reiterates a reminder to those drafting the constitution to be mindful of not including any clauses that changes this long standing status quo.

Shenali D. Waduge


4 Responses to “Was there a Jaffna Kingdom?”

  1. Vichara Says:

    When King Dharmapala donated his kingdom to the King of Portugal the document which recorded the donation included Jaffna as part of kingdom. If Dharmapala dif not have suzerainty over Jaffna he could not have done it.
    In Codrington Chapter 6 it is stated thus;
    The states over which the king of Kotte claimed suzerainty were the kingdoms of Sitawaka, of the {Seven) Korales, of Candea or the hill-country, and of Jaffna, and also the principality of the Four Korales There also were various Vanniyarships, who were bound bo by tribute to the king of Kotte. These were the two Panamas; Yala; Wellewaya Kosgama; Wellassa; Palugama; Batticaloa; Kottiyar; Trincomalee: and Puttalam. This last and Yala were held by several Vanniyars, Palugama by two, the others by one each. In the kingdom of Kotte itself were three Disawas, one over Matara, one over the Adikariya of Denawaka with the Agras or gem-pits of Sabaragamuwa. and one over the Adikariya of Nuwarakalawiya, the country forming the western half of the present North Central Province and stretching according to our document from Puttalam to Mannar. Apart from this last Adikariya or jurisdiction, the immediate possessions of Kotte are given as 221 korales, which included the south-west corner of the North-Western Province, with a small exception the whole of the Western and Southern Provinces as far as the Walawe River, and that part of the Ratnapura District to the south of the Kalu-ganga with the great villages Gilimale and Bambarabotuw

  2. SA Kumar Says:

    When King Dharmapala donated his kingdom to the King of Portugal the document which recorded the donation included Jaffna as part of kingdom.
    History repeat Now My Chignkala Sakoraya (MS) donating Mother Lanka to India We-Tamil are sorry it can not be included our Both (NP & EP) TE .

  3. SA Kumar Says:

    The Jaffna province was a kinglet and tributary of the Kandyan Kingdom.- Agreed Last Kandiyan king was Thamilan !!!

    End of the day our PM sorry CM Viggie wants United Mother Lanka ( it include NP( Saiva TE) & EP (Muslim TE) .

    Why this kolaveri machagn????

  4. Christie Says:

    The island nation was always under the Sinhalese except for short periods when Indians (Tamils or other) tried to set up their own separate kingdoms of their own. Such attempts were destroyed by the Sinhalese over the years. Dutugemunu and Sapumal are examples.

    After the arrival of large numbers of Indian mainly Tamils on the back of the British the Tamils have become the real problem. They will wipe out the Sinhalese within another two generations with the help from India. Jai Hind Bharat Samraj.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2021 LankaWeb.com. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress