Posted on June 5th, 2023

By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

During the Rohana era, one has to consider that after the invasion of Arians and from the epochs of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, the Ruhuna reign existed according to the rules and regulations of the country. It was a self-sufficient reign managing its economic growth for a long time.

It was mentioned in the chronicles that Ruhunu people, in probability, in fear of enemy threats, were returning to Ruhuna after establishing rural establishments with army support. Lots of jobs associated with the forces were available in Ruhuna. Therefore, for a long time, it was clear that it was possible to discuss the possibility of the standard economy of Ruhuna.
Ruhuna has existed from time immemorial based on the above incidents. The wife of King Panduwas, Princess Baddyakathyana, and among her brothers, Prince Ram, named Uruweala village and Anuradha, Vigitha other used towns. Prince Deergayu called the village Deergayu, and Prince Rohana established the Rohana under the hid name. 
After a long time, Ruhuna became a reign of Sinhala Kings. Afterwards, Ruhuna became a different kings were  yet-to-be king (Uya Raja). It was the beginning of Rohana Reign. During the Anuradhapura era, kings were named Uya Rajas and Adi Pada. Later Ruhunu's reign protected Sinhala kings and became a kingdom that could become manageable. If a king was crowned in Ruhuna, kings in the regions were known as separate entities (mentioned in the chronicles). During King Sena’s period, after the death of Prince Weera Mahinda, according to the customs, the crown would have gone to Kassapa the Adi Pada. Still, King Sena appointed his younger brother to charge the southern region as Yua Raja. (It was mentioned in the chronicles), and described how income for Ruhuna was generated from the other areas, possibly from various taxes.
There was a political incident during King Seelaka. A person named Mahanaga, a resident of Ruhuna, became the King of Anuradhapura after working under King Seelakala as a cashier. It was believed that Seelaka worked as a cashier, and his income was generated being investigated. Having worked under King Seelakala as a cashier, he (Mahanaged) worked against and rebelled against King Seelakala, becoming the sole ruler in Ruhuna. 
When Anuradhapura surrendered to the enemies, Wijayabahu managed to expel Ramangna by sending—many people, to Prince Wijabahu, with loads of money. Many kings worked for the welfare of their subjects.
King Kavantissa of Ruhuna made plans for Elara, who ruled Anuradhapura at the time to defeat him (Elara). Still, he intended to protect the country from the enemy by any means. The King employed war tactics employed the military so that no harm was done to his subjects but to protect them peacefully. King Kavantissa could have killed Elara, but his idea was to protect the nation and not kill the Tamil King. The King fortified through military strength, and he ensured that there was no injustice or fear of war to his subjects but created a peaceful environment. The King approached King Elara with the army and threatened to kill him, but he did end up not killing King Elara. It is on record in history books how the King evaded the fear of war by any means to avoid the fear of war towards his sons and the citizens of the nations.
It was established that people’s daily lives were centred on agriculture and other products, and the citizens were self-sufficient. According to history, the population was high, and the production was inadequate to 
feed every mouth in the reign. Ancient history indicates that although there was plenty of rainfall, the food production in each district needed to be improved to provide all mouths in Ruhuna. Although there is evidence to show that during the Anuradhapura era, Ruhuna was divided into many communities in the 12th century, and the south of Ruhuna was split into West and South named Tholos das Rata, and the East was named Atadahas Rata. When Prince Mahanaga became King of Anuradhapura, he merged Ruhuna and Anuradhapura. However, the administration was unsuccessful because of the distance and borders marked between the two areas, according to history. Lords (Adi Pada) Dappula managed to form an agreement, and Mahinda prepared an agreement to stop the war. They changed the borders of the two areas, towards south Galga Ganga (Gal Oya) and separated to areas where the north of Gal Oya and Digamulla belonged to Anuradhapura.  
 During the Elara - Dutugamunu war, the famous elephant Kadol was sent for treatment, indicating that veterinary surgeons treated the elephants, horses and other animals, and medical services were available during the Ruhunu era. Afterwards, conflict situations were only mentioned for a few hundred years. It is also noted that cashers posts and building trade vacancies were mentioned in Mahavamsa. It became a part of Anuradhapura.
 During the Rohana era, there were main roads; one was Bibile (across the Mahaweli river and the Pulasathi town and Dass Thota. When transporting goods from one area to another, one had to pay taxes to ferries. The 5th Mahinda came on horseback incognito and complained to the King of Solei reign about how Soli soldiers were ruining the economy of Ceylon and managed to reconstruct the export of various export items such as textiles, cotton, sandalwood, etc., and once again managed to expand the export trade.

Courtesy: The writer translated into English from Sinhala, the text of the late Prasad Milinda Siriwardena – Ceylon Economic Analysis between BC 543 to 1832. Only the relevant parts were translated.


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