Posted by: lrrp | June 13, 2006

The terrible Atrocities committed by the Portuguese

Who are the Portuguese ?

The Portuguese were a combination of Iberians, Romans, Visigoths, and later Moors. They had been exploring for a route to Asia since 1444 AD. In 1498 they had arrived in the West coast ( named Malabar coast) of India, which was ruled by the Zamorins. Portuguese kings were driven by a passionate desire to spread Christianity. Portuguese also firmly held the European view that the quick way to be a wealthy nation, was to grab what other ancient Latin American, Asian and African nations had earned through hard work.

Portuguese were both merchants and fanatical cruel missionaries. They have the worst reputation as the most unpleasant race that ever discovered power in one brief moment in history. With only a population of only one million in Portugal, they ruled Asia, Brazil and West Africa. Though the wealth of the Asian colonies made the rulers of Portugal rich, the masses still live, mostly in rural villages.

Port of Colombo in 1500 AD :

Colombo had been a favourite harbour for the foreign traders who visited Sri Lanka as far back as 500 BC. Port of Colombo became a busy place when the number of the Islamic traders from the middle east, increased around 1300 AD.

Terrible Effects of the Portuguese rule in Lanka :

Under the Portuguese, Lankans lost the last of the few great buildings and the infrastructure that was left from their great civilization. Under their firepower and the selfish unpatriotic collaborators, the desperate struggle of the Sinhalese to revive the great civilization, was brutally suppressed. Hopes of uniting the country by winning over selfish local warlords and rebels who had taken advantage of the situation, vanished under the Portuguese military firepower.

Despite all these odds, Sinhalese battled the Portuguese in at least 14 major battles, killing two Viceroys of India. Sadism and cruelty became normal not only at the rulers level, but also in the society among the masses. Their torture chambers established a pattern of inhuman cruelty by the rulers, which, could not be challenged by the good elements of the society. They gave birth to the Catholic and the Burger communities of Sri Lanka, who would never get an opportunity to properly learn the true history of Lanka. Hence, the Catholic and the Burger communities would never understand the native Sinhalese, to give them the respect they deserve.

1522 AD – “Begin by Bible, if unsuccessful then use the Sword” :

Portuguese who were passionate Catholic missionaries, took maximum advantage. One of their conditions for giving protection to the weak king of Kotte, was that the permission must be granted for the missionaries to preach Christianity anywhere in Lanka. Accordingly, Franciscan monks established their Mission embassy in Lanka. They accompanied Portuguese army units deep into countryside. Their instructions were ” to begin by preaching, but failing , to proceed to the decision of the sword”.

1522 AD – Catholic priests get to the interior for the First time :

Rational and intelligent Buddhists didn’t find Christianity convincing. But the benefits offered only to the Christians made many to convert during the next 400 years. A Portuguese Army unit was permanently stationed in Kandy. Catholic priests got access to their missionary work in Kandy for the first time.

1522 AD – Bashing of the Buddhist monk begins :

Missionaries began to publicise the corrupt Buddhist monks. Since no powerful king had emerged to clean up the Buddhism in Lanka, there were many ill-disciplined, corrupt Buddhist monks who were enjoying bad practices such as sooth-saying. The Missionaries gave maximum publicity to the wrong practices of the high ethics of the Buddhism, by these half-educated Buddhist monks. This was the start of the bashing of the Buddhist monks.

1543 AD – Portugal take maximum advantage :

( in return for giving protection to the ruling class, they send Catholic Missionaries, build Churches, start converting people )

King of Portugal declared that the throne of Lanka, must go from the grandfather to the grandson. This made the people of Kotte to become very unhappy with the king in Kotte. Then Portugal sent Catholic Missionaries to Kotte to start building churches. These missionaries started converting Buddhist people to Christianity without any opposition. Their motto was “to begin by preaching with the Bible, and if that doesn’t work, then use the sword”. King of Kotte avoided becoming a Catholic as that would end his last remaining popularity among the people. Portuguese tried hard and strong. Finally, Kotte King started to have problems with Portuguese as more people began to complain to ministers and officials. Kotte King then decided to make a new alliance with Mayadunne, against Portuguese

1546 AD – A Memo from King of Portugal to Viceroy in India, ordering to destroy all local religions :

King of Portugal sent a memo to the Viceroy in India, ordering him to destroy all local religious beliefs. The memo showed the obsession of the Portuguese to spread Christianity. “Use diligent officers to discover and reduce to fragments, all forms of idols. Apply rigorous penalties on locals who dare to engrave, cast, sculpture, or paint any figure in metal, bronze, wood or clay”.

1546 AD – Portuguese jealousy of Lankan buildings, turns to hatred out of embarrassment :

Portuguese are embarrassed as their capital city Lisbon ( which was a provincial town in Europe) was far behind when compared to Lanka’s cities of great buildings, institutions of great learning and splendour.

1557 AD – Darmapala hand over Kelaniya RajamahaViharaya & the Daladage at Kotte to Portuguese, TO RECOVER COSTS OF HELPING HIS KOTTE.

These two great buildings were handed over to the Portuguese by the puppet king Darmapala, to recover costs incurred while helping Kotte against Mayadunne. Portuguese destroyed these two temples after looting all the valuables. This was how the country lost even the few proud buildings the Sinhalese had built after becoming poor in the post-Polonnaruwa era.

1557 AD – Seven storied Kithsirimevanpaya in Kelaniya is destroyed by Portuguese

Seven storeyed Kithsirimevanpaya in Kelaniya, built by Dambadeniya Kings, disappeared without a trace. Capt. Diogo de Melo of Portuguese Colombo garrison was credited for his bravery as he had to fight Kelaniya residents who blocked the path of his force. He captured all of the protesters and drowned them in the Kelani river. The bricks, which Portuguese found very strong, were used to build and strengthen Colombo fort.

1557 Ad – Five storied Royal palace is converted to a Catholic church by Portuguese :

Saint Bartholomew church was built on the site, after partially demolishing and converting the 5-storey Royal palace in Kelaniya.

1557 AD – Three storied Dalada Maligawa of Kotte is destroyed by Portuguese :

The beautiful Daladage that is mentioned in the writings of Thotagamuwe Sri Rahula thero, was razed to the ground.

1557 AD – Great Buddhist Universities, known in Asia, are burnt & monks massacred :

Sunethra Devi Pirivena of Kotte, Vidagama Pirivena of Raigama, Thotagamuwe Pirivena of Hikkaduwa were looted and burnt. The Buddhist monks were massacred as they tried to escape. The learning’s of these universities were known and were recorded in Buddhist monasteries of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam.

1557 AD – 400 acre Vidagama Pirivena of Raigama, is converted into a church graveyard:

Buddhist monks who protested, were killed. It was this lovely university complex that was described in glory in Loweda Sangarawa by Thotagamuwe Sri Rahula thero. Today this Pirivena, which was originally a 400 acre complex, has been rebuilt in just one acre area. It was turned into a Church and a Church graveyard.

AD – End of 4 Great Temples:

Sinigama Devale, Vijayaba Pirivena at Thotagamuwa, Dondra Vishnu temple, Saman Devale in Sripadaya

Portugese destroyed the Sinigama Devale in this year & the other two in the years to follow, in order to recover the cost of the war, and also to destroy other religions. The sinister evil hand of the Catholic Missionaries were also behind these moves. Buddhists and Hindus both worshipped in Devinuwara Vishnu temple. It had a shining roof of copper which was a famous landmark to the sailors. It was plundered along with many other treasures. The great Saman Devale in SriPadaya, was burnt to the ground. Today we see only a few pillars of that magnificent building.

1591 AD – Last Battle of Jaffna :

(Great Sacrifices are made by the Lankan Army to defend Jaffna)

Portugese defeated the northern rebels, killing the rebel leader. In 1770, Phillipus Baldaeus-a Dutch who lived in Jaffna for 9 years, wrote of a great Dagaba in Atchuveli, where the Portugese army beat the Last Sinhala army division in the peninsula. It proved the enormous sacrifice made by the Sinhala soldiers to defend a part of the country which was in rebel hands. At the end of the battle, Portugese massacred at least 5000 Sinhala troops, along with the Mudaliars Atapattu.

1591 AD – Portugese rule begin in Jaffna :

After this, Portugese would control the trade of pearl fisheries, elephants, and free access to east & west coasts of India. Tamil Christian community in Jaffna would become their strongest support base.

1597 AD – Portugese uses cast tactics and religion to create collaborating families :

Portugese, who were notoriously famous for their lack of administrative skills, relied on the existing tax collection and the administration system to rule. Being cunning foreigners, the Portugese used the caste system, to rule over the Sinhalese masses. Portugese gave the power of administration in all trades, to the high caste families who, would benefit from the trade. They were encouraged to become Catholics. Those who did were rewarded with official jobs and trade powers. This made many families, including many families who were at the bottom of the social classes, to take advantage of the offer. While such unpatriotic families became rich, they had to turn a blind eye to the atrocities of the Portugese. Portugese and the Missionaries continued to blast temples and statues. Sinhalese had no skilled craftsmen left, to repair them due to centuries of neglect and inactivity.

1597 AD – Cruelty & Sadism become a way of the ruler :

Portugese atrocities are recorded by Portugese Writer Faria Sousa. After the fall of Kotte, Portugese let loose their inhuman terror on gentle population who by then had no one to turn to. All soldiers, high ranking officers, local officials robbed, raped and committed adultery at freewill, shocking the villagers. Many villagers left for mountains infested with beasts, saying the human beast in Portugese is more cruel than the beasts in the jungle who killed only for hunger. The Sinhalese would develop a permanent resentment of the white man. These infamous acts were recorded by visiting Portugese writers, such as Faria Sousa.

1598 AD- 10th War against Portugese : Portugese destroys Kandy :

General Azavedu, led the Portugese and the collaborator’s army on Kandy. Helped by well-paid collaborators, the Portugese broke through. They burnt the city of Kandy, including the Royal palace. Portugese realised that they didn’t have enough manpower to hold on to Kandy. Very reluctantly, the Portugese left Kandy, after destroying it. However, General Azavedu established a Portugese garrison at Balana, which was the getaway to Kandy.

1598 AD – Azavedu’s Torture HQ at Malwana :

In addition to trade activities like establishing huge elephant stables to monopolise on the trade, Portugese continued their sadistic rule. At his military headquarters, the Portugese held judiciary court, and they threw live prisoners to the crocodiles at the same place of the river, so that crocodiles would gather looking for food. He chopped limbs off women and children alive. He asked mothers to hold their babies in hand while torturing them to death. He crushed mothers and children together between huge rocks. Sinhalese had seen torture by the South Indians who did that to show that they were superior and were in control. Portugese did that to enjoy. They partied, drinking wine and enjoying meat, during torture sessions, both men and women alike, laughing and cheering. That kind of sadism, shocked the Sinhala people.

1600 AD – The Role of the Roman Catholic Church in Colonisation :

The Roman Catholic church itself got involved in the conquering. The result was the total disappearance of local religious beliefs and the existence of Spanish-style churches and cathedrals throughout Latin America. Magnificent cathedrals were built in Mexico City and Lima using just a fraction of treasures looted from the great native civilisations. These churches which still stand today, are reminders to the Spainish rule of North and South America.

1615 AD – Portugese increase the demand for cinnamon four times :

Portugese increased the amount of cinnamon a family should supply to them from 100,000 pounds to 460,000 pounds. People became very unhappy about this labour-exploitation.

1615 AD – 11th War against Portugese :

Portugese go on the offensive to stop all coastal foreign trade. Portugese received instruction from their area command in Goa, to stop the trade by Sinhala merchants through the harbours of Trinco, Battie, and Jaffna. Portugese launched this new offensive to do just that. In January, they took Gampola, Maturata, Badulla. In August, they took Tumpane, Matale, and Harispattuva. It must be mentioned that taking these inland areas was made possible only because of the collaborators and the greedy locals. If not for their treachery the Portugese would never be able to reach that deep.

1617 AD – Shameful “You rule there, I’ll rule here” concept become normal :

Selfish King Senerath is forced into a peacepact. Under pressure from the local collaborators, King Senerath of Kandy had to make a peacepact with the Portugese. “Peace-loving” Local collaborators emphasised that it was up to the king to bring the devastation of the war to an end. They said that King Senerath could hold on to Trinco, Battie, and Panama by paying an annual tax to the Portugese, including 2 elephants a year. In return, they got the Portugese to recognise King Senerath as the ruler of Kandy, while “Portugese were recognized as the rulers of the maritime districts of Lanka”. These power-hungry Lankans never learn, Do they ?

1618 AD – Portugese crush the revolt of Kuruvita Rala :

Portugese force led by Constanti de za, reached Medagam Nuwara ( in Maddegama, near Pinnawala in Balangoda) where KuruwitaRala was based. He ruled the area on behalf of the King. After spending the night in Balangoda, the Portugese force stormed Medagam Nuwara in the dawn with the collaborating Lankans ( who were mainly the minorities like Catholics, and Moors and also the well-paid greedy Sinhalese ). Their cannon power decimated Sinhala formations. King’s Castle, KuruwitaRala’s castle, Queens palace, schools, temples, shops, houses, elephant sheds, even horse-sheds were all burnt down. Villagers, who were used to Buddhism and Buddhist temples and who hadn’t witnessed such firepower and terror, fled trembling in fear, while the Portugese and the Lankan collaborators laughed.

1618 AD – Portugese kill the Sinhala POWs :

The semi-trained Sinhala warriors were beheaded even after they surrendered. 1000s of Sinhala warriors were killed. Over 32 Sinhala unit commanders were chained in couples & were dragged to Portugese C.O. in Colombo to celebrate victory.

1618 AD – Shameless collaborator Alagiyavanna Mukaveti:

So did then, So do Now !” This battle was recorded by collaborator poet Alagiyavanna Mukaveti in his Constanti Satana. He portrayed, without shame, the heroism of the Portugese in slaying the semi-trained, ill-equipped Sinhala patriots. He made a living by receiving Portugese payments for his propaganda work.

1624 AD – Controversy over Koneswaram temple in Trinco :

Fort Frederick is built with sculptured stones and pillars of the ancient Buddhist temple Gokanna Viharaya. (after the temple was demolished by the Portuguese commander Constantine de Sa – recorded by Portugese historian De Queyros) Eelamists claim the original Koneswaram temple was recorded in a Tamil poem by Kavi Rajavarothiar as being 1589 BC.( which was the period where the first Tamil migrants arrived in Lanka, a land of opportunities). Immediately after a liberation, the Lankan king Mahasen established a Buddhists temple named Gokanna Viharaya in 280 AD. ( The truth is either it was a Buddhist temple from the beginning, OR it was a centre of Tamil racism, (which ruined the Lankan civilisation around 280 AD), which made the Lankan king to destroy it). Eelamists also claim that a Kulakottan, a South Indian prince rebuilt and enlarged this temple in the 5th century AD.( This was during a brief occupation of Lanka by the South Indian army during an invasion). In 1624, the Portugese demolished and literally pushed the ancient Gokanna temple into the sea below.

1626 AD – Muslims are protected by King Senerath :

The Moors whose trade was grabbed by force by the Portugese, received an ultimatum to leave the territory of the Portugese. All those who remained in the Portugese territory would be killed. Desperate Muslims ran to Sinhala King Senerath of Kandy. King Senerath resettled them in Sinhala areas with kindness. As Robert Knox later recorded, at least 4000 of them were settled in Batticaloa area. The Lankan Muslim extremists of today, should remember these kind acts of the Sinhalese, before they also try to be unfair by the Sinhalese.

1628 AD – Portugese breaks the Peacepact by taking Trinco & Battie :

King Senerath was too weak to challenge the power of the Portugese. The so-called peacemakers, who preached about the advantage of the peacepact, were silent. There was no one to approach the Portugese, but there were many well-paid collaborators to approach the Sinhalese, to preach them about the value of peace. These unpatriotic collaborators were enjoying the fruits of the good positions.

1630 AD – 13th War against Portugese :

Portugese launch an all-out offensive Constanini De Sa Noronha, Viceroy of India arrived in Lanka with additional Portugese troops. They planned an all out offensive to take all of Lanka. Viceroy himself led the strong Portugese Army and the local militia units consisting of shameless, collaborating Lankans. His army advanced on Badulla destroying all villages and agriculture projects, which he thought, were supporting the liberation effort.

1630 AD – Portugese bring South Indians to Jaffna for Tobacco cultivation :

The Portugese fully supported the Jaffna farmers to grow tobacco. As tobacco began to earn very good money, the word got around. There was a large migration of South Indians into the Jaffna peninsula. Most of these workers and farmers came or were brought in, from the Coromandel coast of Southwest India. With them, they brought their familiar technology of the well and the shadaff, using slaves to draw water into the fields. This was the time when the population of Jaffna grew rapidly. With the introduction of Tobacco by the Portuguese, economic prosperity came to the North. It has been recorded by Capt. Robert Percival of British Army in 1805 in his book ” An account of the island of Ceylon” and by others that there were more foreigners in Jaffna than the people who were native to Jaffna. These “foreigners” were those who came from the Coromandel to grow tobacco. The legacy of the tobacco boom in Jaffna is reflected in the 80,000 odd wells that have been used and are still being used for irrigation.

1638 AD – Unbelievable Sadism and Cruelty, is recorded by Portugese Journalists :

The Portugese Army and the local militia consisting of Lankan collaborators, led by notorious captain Diego De Mello ( named as “the destroyer of Kelaniya”), advanced on Kandy. On the way they burnt all temples and villagers, killed children for fun, molested women as they pleased. As recorded by the Portugese journalists themselves, one soldier killed a Sinhalese father in front of his wife and the children, and ate his flesh as the family members fainted in disbelief. The effects their cruelty had on the peaceful Sinhalese Buddhists was unimaginable. They took pleasure in torturing and killing the poor Sinhalese women. They took pretty Sinhalese women with them as sexual slaves, and even asked them to carry their goods.



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