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Ancient Kings and Rulers of Sri Lanka

Ancient Kings and Rulers of Sri Lanka

Old Ceylon

Sri Lanka was ruled by 181 kings from the Anuradhapura to Kandy periods. After 1815 the entire nation was under British colonial rule and armed uprisings against the British took place in the 1818 Uva Rebellion and the 1848 Matale Rebellion. Independence was finally granted in 1948 but the country remained a Dominion of the British Empire.

In 1972 Sri Lanka assumed the status of a Republic. A constitution was introduced in 1978 which made the Executive President the head of state. The Sri Lankan Civil War began in 1983, including an armed youth uprising in 1987–1989, with the 25 year-long civil war ending in 2009.

Chronological List Of Rulers Of Ancient Sri Lanka

Different historical documents may give the slightly different years in which each ruler reigned. Therefore even today various books and publications may give different years of reigns for various rulers. The information below is compiled from the following documents,
Mahavamsa -translation by Wilhelm Geiger, Rajavaliya, A Short history of Sri Lanka by H. W. Codrington

Ruler Details
Period
Tambapanni
   
Vijaya Arrived in Sri Lanka from India
543-505 BC
Upatissa A minister of Vijaya. Vijaya had no children from Pandi Queen*
??
Vijitapura
   
Panduvasdeva Son of Sumitta. Vijayas own brother who came from Sagala - India. Upatissa gave the crown to him when he arrived in Sri Lanka.
504-474 BC
Abhaya Son of Panduvasdeva
474-454 BC
Anuradhapura    
Pandukabhaya Abhaya's Sisters son. Killed 9 uncles and became the king.
437-367 BC
Ganatissa Son of Pandukabhaya*
(40 years)*
Mutasiva Son of Ganatissa
367-307 BC
Devamnampiyatissa Son of mutasiva
250-210 BC
Arrival of the Great Mahinda Thero and introduction of Bhuddhism to Sri Lanka.
250 BC
Arrival of Theri Sanghamitta with a branch of the original Sri Maha Bodhi in India
249 BC
Uttiya Brother of Devamnampiyatissa
??
Mahasiva Brother of Devamnampiyatissa
??
Suratissa Brother of Devamnampiyatissa
??
Sena and Guttgaka Indian Invaders
??
Asela Youngest brother of Devamnampiyatissa
??
Elara Tamil invador form Chola country in India. Killed King Asela
205-161 BC
Dutugamunu Son of King Kavanthissa of Ruhuna and queen Vihara Maha Devi. Kavanthissa is a brother of Devamnampiyatissa
161-131 BC
Saddhatissa Brother of Dutugamunu
137-119 BC
Thulatthana Second son of Saddhatissa
119 BC
Lanjatissa Elder son of Saddhatissa who ousted  Thulatthana
119-109 BC
Khallata Naga  
109-104 BC
Vattagamini Abaya Youngest son of Saddhatissa
104 BC
Pulahatta One of the seven South Indian Tamil Invaders who defeated Vattagamini Abaya. Two went back and other five stayed back and killed each other for the throne.
104-101 BC
Bahiya Bahiya was the commander of Pulahatta's troops. Slew Pulahatta and took the throne
101-99 BC
Panayamara Panayamara was the commander in chief of Bahiya's troops. Slew Bahiya and took the throne
99-92 BC
Pilayamara Pilayamara was the commander in chief of Panayamara's troops. Slew Panayamara and took the throne
92 BC
(7 months)
Dathika Dathika was the commander in chief of Pilayamara's troops. Slew Pilayamara and took the throne
91-89 BC
Vattagamini Abaya (restored) Defeated the South Indian Tamil Invaders (Dathika) and regained his sovereignty.
89-77 BC
Mahaculi Mahathissa  
76-62 BC
Coranaga Son of Vattagamini Abaya who was poisoned by his queen Anula
62-50 BC
Tissa Son of Mahaculi Mahathissa also poisoned by Anula.
50-47 BC
Siva Queen Anula's lover, a palace guard. Made Anula his queen and ruled for one year two months. Was poisoned by Anula for the love of Vatuka.
47 BC
Vatuka A Tamil which queen Anula fell in love with. Was a city carpenter. Made Anula his queen and ruled for one year two months. Was poisoned by Anula for the love of Darubhatika Tissa.
46 BC
Darubhatika Tissa A wood carrier which queen Anula fell in love with. Made Anula his queen and ruled for one year one month. Was poisoned by Anula for the love of Niliya.
45 BC
Niliya A brahman who was the palace-priest, which queen Anula fell in love with. Made Anula his queen and ruled for six months. Was poisoned by Anula.
44 BC
Anula (Queen) Took control of the crown after poisoning all previous six rulers
43 BC
Kutakanna Tissa Mahaculi Mahathissa's second son. Slayed Anula
42-20 BC
Bhatika Abhaya Son of Kutakanna Tissa
20 BC-9 AC
Mahadathika Mahanaga Younger brother of Bhatika Abhaya
9-21 AC
Amanda-Gamini Abhaya Son of Mahadathika Mahanaga
22-31
Kanirajanu Tissa Younger brother of Amanda-Gamini Abhaya. Killed his brother.
31-34
Gulabhaya Son of Amanda-Gamini Abhaya. Ruled for 1 year.
34-35
Seevali (Queen) Younger sister of Gulabhaya. Ruled ofr 4 months
35
Ilanaga A nephew of Amanda-Gamini Abhaya. Dethroned Queen Seevali
35
The Lambakanna Clan Who imprisoned the king in his first year and they administered the Government. But the king escaped to Malaya Rata (Hill Country) and came back after 3 years to battle the Lambakannas
35-38
Ilanaga (restored) Defeated the Lambakannas and took back the control
38-44
Candamukha Siva Son of Ilanaga
44-52
Yasalalaka Tissa Younger brother of Candamukha Siva. Slew his brother for the throne.
52-59
Subha The gate watchman of the Palace. The king used to swap places with him from time to time due to close resemblance of the two. At one instance the Guard dressed as the king, ordered to slay the king (dessed as the guard) thus becomming the king.
59-65
Vasabha From the The Lambakanna Clan. Defeated Subha
65-109
Vankanasika Tissa Son of Vasabha. Married the daughter of Suba
109-112
Gajabahu I Son of Vankanasika Tissa
112-134
Mahalla Naga Father in law of Gajabahu I
134-140
Bhathika Tissa Son of Mahalla Naga
140-164
Kavanthissa Younger brother of Bhathika Tissa
164-192
Kanittha Tissa Youngest brother of Bhathika Tissa
192-194
Khujja Naga Son of Kanittha Tissa
194-195
Kuncha Naga Brother of Khujja Naga. Killed Khujja Naga.
195-196
Siri Naga I brother of the Kuncha Naga's consort. Was the commander of troops. Defeated Kuncha Naga.
195-214
Voharika Tissa Son of Siri Naga
214-236
Abhaya Naga Younger brother of Voharika Tissa had a affair with the queen. Slew Voharika Tissa to take power
236-244
Sirinaga II Son of Voharika Tissa
244-246
Vijaya-Kumara Son of Sirinaga
246-247
Samghatissa I Of Lambakannas clan. Three friends (Samghatissa, Samghabodhi and Gothakabhaya) killed Vijaya and Samghatissa took over.
247-251
Sirisamghabodhi one of the three friends of Samghatissa. Took over after the the Samghatissa I.
251-253
Gothabhaya The third friend. Took control of the Kingdom after Sirisamghabodhi fled from th city
253-266
Jettatissa I Son of Gothabhaya
266-276
Mahasena Younger brother of Jettatissa I
276-303
Sirimeghavanna (Kithsiri Mevan) Son of Mahasena
303-311
Arrival of Tooth Relic in Sri Lanka during King Sirimeghavanna's rule  
Jettasissa II Younger brother of Sirimeghavanna
331-340
Buddhadasa Son of Jettasissa
340-368
Upatissa I Son of Buddhadasa
368-410
Mahanama 2nd son of Buddhadasa
410-432
Sotthi Sona Illegitimate son of Mahanama who rules only for one day. He became the king in the forenoon and died in the afternoon from the poison given by his queen, princessSanga
432
Chattagahaha Janthu  
432
Mittasena  
432-433
Pandu Pandyan Invders who took control
433-438
Parinda Pandyan Invders who took control
438-441
Khudda Parinda Pandyan Invders who took control
441-456
Tiritara Pandyan Invders who took control
456
Dathiya Pandyan Invders who took control
456-459
Pithiya Pandyan Invders who took control
459
Dhathusena A monk who gave up the robe to fight the tamil invaders after king Mahanama
459-477
Kassapa I Son of Dhathusena. Killed his father for the throne and built the rock fortress at Sigiriya.
477-495
Moggallana Step brother and the rightful owner to the throne. Defeated Kassapa to gain the throne. Kassapa committed suicide. 
495-512
Kumara-Dhatusena Son of Moggallana. Died by juming in to the funeral pyre of his friend Kalidasa
512-520
Kittisena Son of Kumara-Dhatusena
520-521
Siva Uncle of Kittisena. Killed Kittisena
521
Upatissa II From Lamani clan. Killed Siva and ruled for 1 year ten months
521-522
Amba Samanera Silakala Killed Upatissa. From the same clan
522-535
Dathapabhuti Son of Amba Samanera Silakala. Ruled for six months
535
Moggallana II (Dalamugalan) nephew of Dathapabhuti
535-555
Kittisiri Meghavanna Son of Dalamugalan
555-573
Mahanaga From Okkaka clan. Killed Kittisiri Meghavanna
573-575
Aggabodhi I Nephew of Mahanaga
575-608
Aggabodhi II Nephew of Aggabodhi I
608-618
Sanghatissa II Younger brother of Aggabodhi II. Reigned for two months
618
Moggallana III Killed Sanghatissa II
618-623
Silameghavanna Killed Moggallana III
623-632
Aggaboghi III (Sirisangabodhi) Son of Silameghavanna
632
Jettatissa III Expelled king Aggabodhi
632
Aggabodhi III (restored) Aggabodhi defeats Jettatissa
632-643
Dathopatissa I younger brother of Aggabodhi
643-650
Kassapa II  
650-659
Dappua I  
659
Dathopatissa II  
659-667
Aggabodhi IV Nephew of Dathopatissa
667-683
Datta  
683-684
Hetthadatha II  
684
Manavamma Son of Kassapa II
684-718
Aggabodhi V Son of Manavamma
718-724
Kassapa III Younger brother of Aggabodhi V
724-730
Mahinda I Younger brother of Aggabodhi V
730-733
Aggabodhi VI Son of Kassapa III?
733-772
Aggabodhi VII Son of Mahinda I
772-777
Mahinda II Son of Aggabodhi VII
777-797
Udaya I Son of Mahinda II. Also known as Dappula II
797-801
Mahinda III  
801-804
Aggabodhi VIII  
804-815
Dappula III Younger brother of Aggabodhi VIII
815-831
Aggabodhi IX  
831-833
Sena I Younger brother of Dappula III
833-853
Sena II Nephew of Sena I
853-887
Udaya II Brother of Sena II
887-898
Kassapa IV Son of Sena II
898-914
Kassapa V Son of Sena II
914-923
Dappula IV  
923-924
Dappula V Younger brother of Dappula IV
924-935
Udaya III  
935-938
Sena III Younger brother of Udaya III
938-946
Udaya IV  
946-954
Sena IV  
954-956
Mahinda IV Nephew of Udaya IV
956-972
Sena V Son of Mahinda IV. Became the king at age of 12
972-982
Mahinda V Brother of Sena V. Reigned from Urathota. Was captured by the cholas and deported to India
982-1029
Polnnaruwa    
“Chola” Invaders

South Indian invaders

1017-1070

Vijayabahu I

 

1070-1110

Jayabahu I

Younger brother of Vijayabahu I

1110-1111

Wickramabahu I

Son of Vijayabahu I

1111-1132

Gajabahu II

 

1132-1159

Parakramabahu I

The father of Parakramabahu , Manabharana was the son of Mitta, who was the sister of Vijayabahu I

The mother of Parakramabahu was Rathnavali who was a daughter of Vijayabahu

1153-1186

Vijayabahu II

Son of Parakramabahu’s sister

1186-1187

Nissanka Malla

Came from Kalinga kingdom in India

1187-1196

Wickramabahu II

Son of Nissanka Malla

1196

Choda Ganga

A nephew of Nissanka Malla

1196-1197

Queen Leelavathi

Wife of Parakramabahu I

1197-1200

Sahasa Malla

A relation of Nissanka Malla who came from Kalinga kingdom in India

1200-1202

Queen Kalyanavathi

Second wife of Nissanka Malla

1202-1208

Dharmashoka

Was made the king at the age of three months

1208-1209

Anikanga Mahadipada

Ruled the country for 17 days

1209

Queen Leelavathi (restored)

 

1209-1210

Lokeshwara

Invader from Kalinga kingdom in India

1210-1211

Queen Leelavathi (restored)

 

1211-1212

Parakramabahu Pandu

Invader from pandya kingdom in India

1212-1215

Magha

Invader from Kalinga kingdom in India

1215-1236

Dambadeniya    
Vijayabahu III Also called "Vijayabahu Vathimi" and "Kalinga Vijayabahu". Does not belong to any Royal bloodline from Pollonnaruwa. Origin is unclear
1232-1236
Parakramabahu II Elder Son of Vijayabahu III. Defeated Indian invader Magain Pollonnaruwa

1244 -1279(?)

Vijayabahu IV Son of Parakramabahu II
1270-1272
Yapahuwa    
Buwanekabahu I Brother of Vijayabahu IV. After living in Dambadeniya for some years, Shifted his rule to Yapahuwa
1272-1284
Parakramabahu III Son of Vijayabahu IV
??? - 1293
Kurunegala    
Buwanekabahu II Son of Buwanekabahu I. Defeated Parakramabahu III and shifted the Kingdom to Kurunegala
1293 - 1302
Parakramabahu IV Son of Buwanekabahu II. After Parakramabahu IV's death the Kingdom was weakened and his sons split it into two.
1325 or 1311/12 - 1325 or 1317/18

Buwanekabahu III

Vijayabahu V 

Ruled Kurunegala North

Ruled Kurunegala South

??
Gampola    
Buwanekabahu IV Made Gampola the capital of the Kingdom
1341-1351
Vicramabahu III Ruled in Peradeniya at during the time of Buwanekabahu IV. Shifted to Gampola after Buwanekabahu IV
1357-1374
Parakramabahu V Ruled the Dedigama Kingdom in Kegalle District during the time of Buwanekabahu IV
1344-1359
Buwanekabahu V Last ruler in Gampola. Escaped to Kotte in fear of Jaffna Kingdom. Spent the last years in Kotte
1371-1408
Kotte    
Weerabahu Ruled after Buwanekabahu V
(20 years)
Parakramabahu VI Attacked Jaffna and took it under the Sri Lankan Kingdom.
1411-1463(?)
Jayaweera Parakramabahu Grandson of Parakramabahu VI
ruled for 2 years
Buwanekabahu VI Was Prince Sapumal who successfully attacked Jafna and took under the Sri Lankan Kingdom during Parakramabahu. Later killed Jayaweera to capture theKotte Kingdom
ruled for 6 years 1471-1477
Panditha Parakramabahu VII  
1477
Weera Parakramabahu VIII Was "Ambulugala Raja". Brother of Buwanekabahu VI (Sapumal) . Killed Panditha Parakramabahu VII
1477 - 1489
Dharma Parakramabahu VIX Eldest son of Weera Parakramabahu VIII
1489-1513
Arrival of the Portuguese
1505
Vijayabahu VI Brother of Parakramabahu VIX
1513-1521
Buwanekabahu VII Vijayabahu VI was killed by the 3 sons - Buwanekabahu,Pararajasinhe and Mayadunne. Split the country into two and Buwanekabahu took KottePararajasinhe took RaigamaKingdom and Mayadunne the Seethawaka Kingdom.
1521-1551
Dharmapala Was baptised at young age by the Portuguese Missionaries. Converted to Christianity in 1555. Kelaniya Temple and the Kotte Dalada Maligawa was taken from the Buddhists and given to the missionaries.
1551-1597
End of the the Kotte Kingdom. Presented the Kingdom to the Portuguese by a deed after is death
1597
Raigama    
Pararajasinhe One son of Vijayabahu VI of Kotte.
1521-1538
Seethawaka    
Mayadunne One son of Vijayabahu VI of Kotte. Pararajasinhe (his brother) voluntarily gave the control of his kingdom toMayadunne during his last years. Mayadunne attachedRaigama Kingdom after the death of Pararajasinhe in 1538
1521-1581
Rajasinghe I Son of Mayadunne. Took over the Kandyan Kingdom after disposing Dona Catherina, a Portuguese appointed queen in Kandy
1581 - 1591(?)
Rajasuriya Elder Son of Rajasinghe I . The kingdom was run by a person called "Manamperuma".
??
Nikapitiye Bandara Manamperuma removed both sons of Rajasinghe I and gave the crown to "Nikapitiye Bandara" who was a grandson of the sister of Rajasinghe I . Was only 5 years old at that time.
??
Fall of the Seethawaka Kingdom to Portuguese
1594
Kandy    
Sena Sammatha Wickramabahu Belongs to Kotte Royal Blood line (Ruled Kandy as a semi-indipendent kingdom under the Kotte Kingdom)
1473-1511
Jayaweera Astana Son of Sena Sammatha Wickramabahu. Became a Christian in 1546
1511-1551
Karaliyadde Bandara Son of Jayaweera. Captured the throne from Jayaweera. Became a Christian to get protection from the Portuguese
1551-1581
Dona Catherina (Kusumasana Devi) Daughter of Karaliyedde Bandara. Converted to Catholicism by the Portuguese and appointed the queen of the Kandyan Kingdom by the Portuguese
1581
Rajasinghe I Disposed Dona Catherina. Ruled from Sitawaka Kingdom
1581-1591
Yamasinghe Bandara (Don Phillip) A nephew of Karaliyadde Bandara. Took control of Kandy with the help of the Portuguese  
Wimaladharmasuriya I Name was Konappu Bandara and then Don Juan. Ousted Yamasinghe Bandara's son Don João who was 12 years old and assented to the throne as Wimaladharmasuriya. Became a Buddhist again and married Dona Catherina to establish the Royal Bloodline. Fought the Portuguese and freed Kandy from them. Famous battle of Danture was fought by him.
1592 - 1604
Senarat A cousin brother of king Wimaladharmasuriya I. Was a Buddhist monk and a devoted Buddhist. Didn't have the strength of a king. Married Dona Catherina again to establish a Royal Bloodline
1604 - 1635
Rajasinghe II A warrior king who build up the Kandy again and faced two major battles with the Portuguese and two with the Dutch.
1635 - 1687
Wimaladharmasuriya II Son of Rajasinghe II. Maintained a harmony with the Dutch.
1687 - 1707
Viraparakrama Narendrasinha Son of Wimaladharmasuriya II. Last Singhalese King of the Country
1707 - 1739
Sri Vijaya Rajasinhe

Brother of the Viraparakrama Narendrasinha's queen who was of south Indian Nayakkar origin. Became a Buddhist

1739 -1747
Kirti Sri Rajasinhe Brother of the Sri Vijaya Rajasinhe's queen
1747 - 1781
Rajadhi Rajasinhe Brother of Kirti Sri Rajasinhe
1781 - 1798
Sri Wikrama Rajasinhe Last Sri Lankan King. Captured by the British and imprisoned in Vellore, India
1798 - 1815
Fall of Kandan Kingdom to the British
1815 Feb 15
Capture of Last king in Sri Lanka Thus ending probably the longest Royal Dynasty in the world which survived in Sri Lanka since 543 BC (over 2350 years) .
1815 Feb 18