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Thursday April 18, 2024
From the History Books:
500 Years Ago in Ceylon
Vol: 1 Num: 1    Winter 2006
Portuguese sea captain Lourenco de Almeida got stranded in Ceylon in 1505 and European's long relationship with the island nation begins

500 years ago in 1505 on his way to Maldives, Portuguese sea captain Lourenco de Almeida got stranded in Ceylon and was received well by the Sinhalese king Vīra Parăkrama Băhu of Kōtte. Almeida, the son of then Portuguese Viceroy of India in Cochin saw the commercial and strategic importance of the island. Portuguese established a contact with the king of Kotte and were permitted to build a fort at Colombo in 1518. In 1520’s war between the sons of then king of Kōtte, Vijayabăhu, broke out. With the help of Portuguese, Bhuanaika Băhu, the oldest son of Vijayabăhu, was able to establish his kingdom but became greatly dependent upon Portuguese. The successive rulers were even more dependent upon Portuguese and by the end of the century they were firmly in control of the island. The rival king of Kandy then sought help from the Dutch and by the middle of next century they had replaced Portugeuse as the masters of coastal Ceylon.

1502 Vasco de Gama reaches Calicut
1505 Francisco de Almeida named first viceroy
1505 Lourenço de Almeida reaches Ceylon
1518 Portuguese permitted to build a fort at Colombo
1521 Three sons of Vijayabăhu put him to death
1543 King Băhu signs treaty with Portuguese for their protection
1557 Kotte king Dharmapăla coverts to Christianity
1593 King Rajasinha dies and Portuguese capture much of Kōtte
1612 King Senarat of Kandy concludes a treaty with Dutch
1619 Kingdom of Jaffna annexed by Portuguese
1638 A treaty gives Dutch trade monopoly
1645 Truce in Europe between Dutch and Portuguese
1656 Portuguese surrender Colombo to Dutch
1658 Dutch take Jaffna

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica



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