425th anniversary of Danture battle: Beginning of a new dynasty | Sunday Observer

425th anniversary of Danture battle: Beginning of a new dynasty

The historic Danture battle the final encounter of the Sinhalese with a powerful European nation marks 425 years on October 9, 2018. This article is an attempt to present the background of the Senkadagala Kingdom then known as Kanda Udarata Kingdom to the present day generation through historic ancient documents in the Hague Archives and other Portuguese and Dutch records.

Our country then known as Lanka faced invasions from Chola or Soli the modern Madras, Kalinga modern Orissa, the South Indian States. The Portuguese who landed here in 1505 A.D. gradually established their trading in the coastal areas and the Southern regions to influence governing those areas.

Our capital was in Kotte, and a united kingdom was established by Siri Parakramabahu or Parakrama Bahu VI. Vijayabahu Kollaya divided the main kingdom into sub kingdoms as Seethawaka and Raigama.

By 1589, the Portuguese began to use their influence and identify our kings in various Portuguese terms. Jayaweera III or Karalliyadde Bandara was known as Senkadagala John. His chief queen was Galagama Maha Adasin named, Dona Magarita (Dutch Governor Van Goyan 1876 (junior) Memorandum on some Sinhala Royal families, page 25). Seethawaka Rajasinghe or Jayaweera Maha Asthana was succeeded after his death by Siyandara Maha Biso Bandara a niece of Rajasinghe but she joined the Portuguese and fled to Goa. (Dutch records Hague Archives).

She was succeeded by Yamasingha Bandara nephew of Jayaweera III but he also was Baptised as Don Philip Jao and fled to Goa. The Danture siege was in a background where the Royal Sinhala families were extinct paving the way for the Portuguese to achieve the ruling power of this land. Weerasundara Bandara or Wijesundara Bandara who the Portuguese dreaded, named as Maha Kaluparakrama was already put to death by Rajasinghe I pushing him into a pit.

His two sons, Konappu Bandara, Salappu Bandara (K.B. and S.B.) in today’s usage fled to Goa and were trained in the use of weapons, warfare, combat and martial arts, in the hope of taking revenge from Rajasinghe for killing their father. Konappu became the best wrestler and swordsman in South East Asia at the time and Salappu died in combat.

It was in such a background that the Portuguese sent Kusumasana Devi heir to Senkadagala throne who was in Mannar at the time headed by a Portuguese captain Lopez de Souza to take over the Senkadagala throne. Simultaneously, another batch from the Seethawaka Kingdom headed by Arittakivendu Perumal alias Jayaweera joined the battle to reinforce the troops from Mannar.

All these forces together entered through Balana fortress Danwatura (now Danture) Yakdure Wel Yaya on October 6, 1594 where the last battle of Sinhalese against the most powerful European nation started 425 years ago.

The plan of the Portuguese was to get Kusumasana Devi married to a Portuguese Prince so that they get the kingdom to the Portuguese Empire. But she joined Konappu Bandara who was in the battlefield and later crowned Wimaladharmasuriya I. This Royal couple produced a royal clan up to 1739 ending with Wimaladharmasuriya II.

Had Kusumasana Devi accepted perks from the Portuguese and joined them as was already done by others who had a claim to the Udarata Kingdom, the Sinhalese would have been a Portuguese Colony from then.

Together the couple brought the Sri Dalada which was hidden under a grinding stone in Delgamu Vihara to Senkadagala and placed the sacred object in a Maligawa, the building which is a world heritage today.

There are several events organised for October 6 to commemorate the 425th anniversary of Danture battle by the Wimaladharmasuriya Maha Raja Kusumasana Devi Foundation. These include distribution of 425 spectacles to the needy in Danture Raja Maha Viharaya, and others by Secretary of the Committee Dambagoda Seneviratne. Anyone who wishes to help this organisation and the event may contact Danture Raja Maha Viharaya or Sri Gunawardanaramaya or the Pradeshiya Lekam (AGA) Yatinuwara.