and Kingdoms (1000 CE – 1505 CE)
Rajaraja Chola The Great
According to Michael Mitchiner, in "Oriental Coins", Rajaraja Chola
invaded Lanka in 990 CE. The north of the island quickly accepted
his sovereignty, but he did not conquer the whole island. He sacked
Anuradhapura and made Polonnaruwa his local capital after renaming
northern Lanka Mummudicholamandalam. Rajaraja associated his son
Rajendra Chola in government during 1012, two years before his death
Rajendra Chola assumed full kingship in 1014. In 1018, after only
four years sole rule, he associated his son Rajadhiraja in sovereignty.
Rajendra Chola completed the conquest of Lanka in 1018. The Sinhala
king, Mahendra, was taken to Tanjore as a prisoner, and died there
The Cholas controlled Lanka from 1018 to 1070. Sinhala rule was
limited to the Ruhana area, where the descendants of Mahendra maintained
some authority. Rajadhiraja Chola became sole ruler when his father
died in 1044. He maintained Chola authority over most of Lanka,
despite a series of revolts. He continued the struggle with the
Chalukyas, defeating Somesvara Chalukya, but losing his own life
in battle at Koppam in 1052. His younger brother Rajendra II inherited
the throne and ruled until 1064. Virarajendra (1063-1070) succeeded
his two brothers Rajadhiraja and Rajendra II, who had made him Yuvaraja
in 1063. Virarajendra's son Adhirajendra was associated with his
father from 1068, but died a few months after Virarajendra in 1070.
The Chola throne then passed to another branch of the family, Kulottunga
Chola (1070-1120), a great-grandson of Rajaraja Chola. During this
period of Chola decline, Lanka became independent under Vijayabahu
(1055-1110), who had occupied Polonnaruwa in 1070 and crowned himself
king in 1073. The subsequent peace established between Vijayabahu
and Kulottunga in 1088 was cemented by a marriage.
The Ariya Chakravartis of Jaffnapatam
Under the Cholas, the Jaffna Kingdom continued with little change.
The kinship between the Jaffna kings and the Cholas is related in
the Yalpana Vaipava Malai in the form of a myth. The Princess Maruthappiravikavalli,
daughter of Thisaiyukkira Chola, was cursed with the face of a horse.
At the instruction of sage, she came to bathe in where the Kirimalai
stream met the sea at Mavidapuram to cure herself. She was miraculously
cured of her disfigurement, and became beautiful. King Ugirasinghan,
the ruler of Jaffna, came to Mavidapuram and saw her. Falling in
love, they marry, against the wishes of her father, the Chola king,
who is later reconciled to the match.
The line of Ugirasinghan had links back to Vipeeshnan, the brother
of Ravanan. When this line died out in Lanka, Selvarayan Malavan
of Ponipatiyar, an official in the court of Ugirasinghan's descendants,
went to India to the court of the Kings of Ramnad, where he found
Prince Seliasekaran Vijeyabahu to take the throne. Malavan's motives
in going to Ramnad are not recorded, but there must have been logic
to his choice. Firstly, Ugirasinghan's line and the Chola line were
linked. Further, the Princes of Ramnad were connected to the history
of the Ramayana. Vipeeshnan was supposed to have surrendered to
Rama on the spot where the Kothandaraswamy Temple now stands, about
12 km southeast of Rameswaram. The implication of Vipeeshnan having
surrendered north of Danushkody in present-day Tamil Nadu is that
this area, Lanka and Ramnad itself were part of the kingdom of Ravana,
that is, Ramnad and the bridge to Lanka (known as the Sethu) were
part of the ancient Jaffna kingdom. According to legend, the Lords
of Ramnad were given their authority by Rama himself, who according
to the astrological book Segarasasekeramalai, placed Brahmins belonging
to the line of Kasiyappa on the throne of Ramnad. The Brahmins were
said to be the descendants of five hundred and twelve generations
of "Panchagrama Vethiayar" of Ramesvaram temple. The number 512
(two to the ninth power) may be symbolic, and might not intended
to be taken literally. Vijeyabahu was also known as Kalinga Magan
(or Magha), which means 'Son of Kalinga'. This title suggests that
his family came from Kalinga, which is now part of the Indian Orissa
State. He is also known as Kulangkayar, or 'the burned handed',
though the story behind his injury is not recorded.
Under the name Ariya Chakravarti, Vijeyabahu is recorded to have
been a general or minister in the government of the Pandyan Kings.
This is wholly consistent with the role of a vassal kinglet, and
it is quite possible that Vijeyabaju undertook the conquest of Lanka
with Pandyan support and backing - whether in exchange for guarantees
of feudal fealty or for plunder.
Whatever Vijeyabahu's motivation for leaving Ramnad, in 1215 CE,
he took the throne of Jaffna as Segarajasekeran Singhai Ariyar Chakravarti,
a title associated with his descendants for the next four hundred
years. By the end of his rule, he had subjugated most of Lanka.
The Batticaloa chronicle states that Segarajasekeran captured Polonnaruwa.
The Chulavamsa and other chronicles say that Segarajasekeran stationed
troops at Trincomalee, Koddiyara, Kantalai, Padavia, Kaddukkulam,
Kayts, Pulachery and ruled Rajarata from his capital Polonnaruwa.
Segarajasekeran died in 1240.
Segarajasekeran was succeeded by his son Kulasegaran, who took
the throne name of Pararajasekeran. Either Vijeyabahu, or his son
Kulasegaran is the father of Chandra Banu, the future King of Kotte.
Kulasegaran died in 1256.
Kulothungan succeeded his father and reigned until 1279 under the
throne name Segarajasekeran II.
Vikrama, son of Kulothungan, reigned from 1279 to 1302. He was
known under the throne name of Pararajasekeran II.
Varothayan succeeded his father and reigned from 1302 to 1325.
He took the throne name of Segarajasekeran III.
Varothayan's son Marthanda Perumal became the ruler of Eelam as
Pararajasekeran III. He reigned from 1325 to 1348.
Kunapooshanan succeeded his father and reigned as Segarajasekeran
IV from 1348 to 1371.
In 1371, Virothayan followed his father and reigned until 1380
as Pararajasekeran IV.
From 1380 to 1410, Jeyaveeran, son of Virothayan, reigned as Segarajasekeran
Virothayan's son Kunaveeran (or Gunaveeran) took the throne as
Pararajasekeran V from 1410 to 1446.
Kanagasooriyan, Kunaveeran's son, had his reign interrupted. From
1446 to 1450, he reigned as Segarajasekeran VI, before being ousted
by Chempaka Perumal, son of Parakrama Bahu VI of Kotte. For 17 years,
Chempaka Perumal ruled Jaffna as a feudatory his father, the King
of Kotte, Later, Chempaka Perumal became King of Kotte under the
name of King Bhuvanekababu VI. Kanagasooriyan retreated to Ramnad,
and came back with an army and re-captured the Kingdom and again
ruled from 1467 to 1478.
Kanagasooriyan's son is only known by his throne name. Pararajasekeran
VI was ruler of Jaffna from 1478 to 1519.
At this point, the Jaffna kingdom's history is difficult to follow.
The Portuguese arrived in Lanka in 1505, and very quickly started
to involve themselves in the politics of the Lanka kingdoms. Most
probably, Pararajasekeran VI had two principle wives and a number
of concubines. His first wife, Rajalaksmi, was a Chola princess.
The Cholas had, by this time, lost control of their kingdom in Tamil
Nadu, with Rajendra Chola IV being king in the Tanjore area around
1279. There are no records of subsequent Chola kings exerting power
beyond this date, so Rajalaksmi was either a descendant of the surviving
titular head of the Cholas or the daughter of a descendant based
in Lanka. Rajalaksmi had two sons, Singhabahu and Pandaram. Pararajasekeran
VI's second wife Valliammal was a Pandyan princess. She bore Pararajasekeran
VI a son named Paranirupasingham. One of Pararajasekeran VI's concubines,
named Mangalath also bore him two children, a boy named Sangili
and a girl named Paravai. The Yalpana Vaipava Malai is most probably
incorrect in its account of this time. What is more likely, though
not confirmed, is that Sangili intrigued with the Portuguese and
eliminated his half-brothers Singhabahu and Pandaram, allegedly
killing one by poison and one by the sword. The Yalpana Vaipava
Malai is silent as to who Sangili did not feel the need to kill
his other half-brother Paranirupasingham. A clue can be found in
the Catholic Church's records of the time, as recounted in the Vinea
Taprobana. It is possible that Portuguese missionary activity had
become so successful that it reached the Royal household. If Paranirupasingham
had become a convert, then he would have been disqualified from
the throne because of his lack of popular support. This explains
another story from this time. Sangili took the throne of Jaffna
in 1519 CE as Segarajasekeran VII. His own son converted to Christianity,
and was executed by his father. Sangili's second son Puvirasa Pandaram,
along with Sangili's sister Paravai and her son, fled to Goa and
claimed protection from the Portuguese. In 1561 CE, when Sangili
died, Puviraja Pandaram claimed the throne as Pararajasekaren VII.
Within four years, Puviraja Pandaram was fleeing Jaffna, with his
throne usurped by Kunchi Nainar (also recorded as Kurunchi Nainar
and Kasi Nainar), who also ruled under the name Pararajasekeran
VII from 1565 CE to 1570 CE. Kunchi Nainar was an unpopular king,
and unable to maintain Portuguese support for his usurpation. In
1570, Periyarpillai, who assumed the name Segarajasekeran VII, replaced
him. We do not know who these two kings parents were. Clearly, they
were of suitable caste to assume the throne, so we can assume they
were related to the Ariya Chakravarti line, though they were not
recorded as such by any surviving records. Periyapillai ruled until
1582, when he was overthrown by Puviraja Pandaram, who successfully
regained his kingdom. Periyapillai was killed but his three sons,
Arasakesari, and the twins Ethirmanasingham and Sangili spared.
Over the next nine years Puviraja Pandaram prosecuted a war against
the Portuguese, but without success. On 28 October 1591, he was
captured and beheaded by the Portuguese. The throne was now given
to Ethirmanasingham, the elder of the two twins, with Portuguese
support. History does not record the reason for Arasakesari's exclusion,
but perhaps, like Paranirupasingham, he was a Christian, and therefore
unacceptable to the populace.
Ethirmanasingham assumed the throne name of Pararajasekaran and
reigned from 1591 to 1615. In his time, the Portuguese were able
to exert substantial control over the Jaffna Kingdom. On Ethirmanasingham's
death, the kingdom passed to his son, known as Leuke or Loku. This
son was only seven years old at the time of his father's death,
and Arasakesari was appointed regent. Sangili, killed Arasakesari
and took over the throne of Jaffna, ruling until 1619, when the
Portuguese captured him. Sangili was taken to Goa with his sons,
and after trial, found to be guilty of treason and hanged along
with his sons in 1621.
Ethirmanasingham, his mother, sisters and other members of the
royal family were converted to Catholicism. Ethirmanasingham lived
out the rest of his life as a Roman Priest in Goa, known as Don
Constantine de Christo. His sisters were nuns. On 11 February 1621,
they were made to sign an act, transferring sovereignty from the
Ariya Chakravarti dynasty to the kings of Portugal. As members of
the Roman Catholic priesthood, these members of the royal family
were forbidden to marry, and died without descendants.