It is there-fore no exaggeration to state that Batticaloa is inseparably connected with the history of the Hindus of Ceylon for several hundred years before Christ. About 435 A.D a second invasion of the Eastern Province, by a Chola prince named Kulakoddan, was successful, and for many centuries the Eastern Province was a tamil Kingdom tributary to the sinhalese kings.   It was this prince who brought over from India the Vanniar , a branch of the Vellala tribe ,* and placed them charge of the rice cultivation of  his kingdom. (In this connection it may be mentioned that when first entertained by the ill-fated queen Kuveni , Wijayo is said to have been served with rice gathered from the wreck of ships.Mahawansa, Vol. I.,page 33) These Vanniar are said to be the ancestors of the present high-caste population of the District.

 The occupation of Batticaloa by the tamils is said to have been earlier than that of jaffna , which latter was not inhabited until the Blind Minstrel brought  colonists from the Pandiya kingdom . About the eighth  century Arab  traders came and settled in the District, and founded the Muhammadan community the Muhammadans call themselves SONAHAR,  **  As distinguished from The Sammankarar,***    the letter being Muhammadan arrivals from India. It is stated that there was a Malay invasion in the thirteenth century, and that it was repulsed. Batticaloa was taken by the Portuguese in 1622, and retained till 1639 when the Dutch made themselves masters of the place. The first visit of the Dutch Admiral Spielbergen to the sub – King of Batticaloa appears in philalethe`s History Of Ceylon,

 

*A branch of the Vellalas, the old ruling caste of Tamil land , claims to have received the grain and instructions in its culvation from the goddess parvati (Consort of  siva, and also called Uma), and still calls itself by the title of pillai, her children , for so she deigned to call them when granting to boon. The Tamil name of the grain ,Arisi , was adopted into the Greek language , and through the Latin Oryza has passed into modern European languages (French , “riz”; English , “rice,” &c.).-Sir P. Arunachalam’s Census Report, Vol.I.

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**Sonaha is derived from Yavana, originally applied in India to Ionian Greeks, and afterwards to any people who came from the north, and brought in new rites, and finally to the Muhammadans.

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***Sammankarar is probably from the malay sampan, a boat, and apparently meant a boatman , the idea retained in the ordinary Sinhalese and Tamil title for Moors, Marikar, or Marakalaha, the Tamil for ship begin marakalam, a wooden vessel.–Sir P. Arunachalam’s Census Report.

 

The Dutch Admiral Spilbergen the river of Batticaloa  on May29,1603; on may 31 he despatched a messenger to Batticaloa, in order to speak to the King Darma Jangadara. On the 1st of June the sinhalese went on board  with a Portuguese interpreter, Who informed them that they might obtain a sufficient supply of pepper and cinnamon, and that the Mudaliyar, who at the time conducted the King’s affairs, had desired that the admiral would pay him a friendly visit on shore. About the same time the messenger who had been sent to the King returned. With news that he had experienced a favourable reception. The admiral  presented the sinhalese and their interpreter, who had gone on board his ship, with some beautiful glass and other articles before the returned to the shore. On the following day Spill Bergen landed with three or four attendants. As he reached the shore five elephant stood ready to receive him. By kneeling and other sings those noble animals had been taught to testify their respect for the Dutch admiral whilst they raised some of the sinhalese with their trunks.

Spilbergen was received with great cordiality by the     Mudaliyar, and, at  his departure, promised on the following day to pay a visit to the king of Batticaloa. He accordingly landed again on the 3rd of June, when he took with him, not only a variety of presents for the king, but al band of musicians, with different instruments. On the 5th, in the evening Spilbergen repeated his visit to the king, whom he found attended by a guard of 1400 men. His majesty’s bodyguard all stood in a line with drawn swords as the admiral approached and the king also welcomed his arrival with a naked sword in his hand. Spilbergen testified his respect for the monarch by many beautiful persons, and by the performance of some sweet music, at which  he expressed great delight. He afterwards directed Spilbergan to be conducted to the house of the Mudaliyar, where he and his suit were sumptuously entertained. The king suspecting him to be a Portuguese, increased his troops on the coast. The admiral was repeatedly disappointed in the completion of their lading, and suspected treachery, until eventually he visited Kandy, where he received a gracious reception. Permission to build a fort in any part of his dominions being granted by the king, he started from Batticaloa.

 

Hostilities begin between the Portuguese and the Dutch in February, 1639. The Dutch admiral Adam Westerwold, having been compelled to abandon the siege of Goa, sailed to Celon. He had sent a messenger to the kink of Kandy (Raja Sinha), to ask him to join in a combined attack on Batticaloa. Westerworld nad six vessels, 840 solders, and siege material. Raja Sinha joined him with 2000 men. The fort was attacked at once, along the Dutch bar. The Portuguese garrison numbered only forty men. Water was wanting, as the enemy cut the approached to the only well which could be reached from the fort. In spite of there inferior numbers they fought bravely for two days, and the heroic little garrison opened the gates only after having being  granted and honourable capitulation. They marched out of the place with arms and baggage, and were given a ship to take them to Negapatam. With  their wives and children they numbered about 108 souls.

Raja Sinha gave vent to his rage agenised the people of Batticaloa by impaling fifty of the team, and selling the rest as slaves. The fort was razed to the ground.

 

Batticaloa and French

 

The hostilities between Louis XIV. and the states of Holland served as a pretext for attacking the Dutch in India. Admiral de la Haye  appeared in the waters of Batticaloa, with fourteen vessels, on march 21, 1672. The French and Dutch accounts of the  event do not quite agree. According to the Dutch version , De la Haye, seeing that Batticaloa was defended , saluted the Dutch flag; when salute had been returned he passed on to Trincomalee, which he took a few days later. The  result was the Dutch neglected the forts on the Eastern coast and abandoned Batticaloa.

 

Native Rule.

 

Before the District was divided into seven Division ruled by seven Vanniahs –chief of whom was the Vanniah of Natanai, who held the status of feudatory prince * under the kings of Ceylon–it was ruled by the sub-kings of palugamam, Batticaloa, Podera , and Panama. Nadeniya, or Nadukadu, was ruled by Sada Tissa, brother of Dutugemunu, son of Kakuwannvw Tissa. The seven Vanniahs referred to above were known as the Vanniahs of Singaravatte.

 

In 1611 the king of Kandy held a council at the royal court, as the result of hostilities between the sub-kings of Palugamam and Podra, arising from a design on the part of the former to appropriate all the income from the tolls on Palugamam river to himself. His majesty collected his Chief and a strong force, and summoned the council, at which I deli, king of Koddiyaram (Koddiyar), and envoy from the king of Jaffna Pattam, celle wander ( King of Palugamam ), Kumara Bandara (King of Batticaloa), Tame Sangatie (Tharma Sangari), king and Lord of Podera and Samaraway (king of Panama) were present. The kings of palugamam and Podara were ordered to abstain from hostilities in future, on paying of Corporal Punishment.

 

In 1612 news reached Kandy that the kings of panama and Koddiyar had joined the Portuguese. They were summoned to appear at Kandy within sixteen days. The king of Koddiyar, feigning indisposition, sent his nephew, who ably defended his uncle on arrival, with a result that  he was exonerated. The of Panama failed to appear, and an army of 35000 was sent. under the princes of Minagone and Ouva, with instructions to lay waste the place if necessary. The inhabitants sent presents, and entreated to be herd in defense, and it was agreed that, besides the annual tribute, the king of Panama  should give two months’ pay,IE.,457,000 larcens,to the army.

In 1614 a battle was fought between the kings of Palugamam  and Batticaloa, in witch the former, with the assistance of the prince of Ouva, was victorious, and the later slain. Batticaloa was annexed to Palugamam.s

 

 

 

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