Queens of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka had been a country with the mauryan style of rule, in which the country is divided into few provinces with one imperial capital, and the representatives for the provinces are appointed by the King.  The representatives govern the provinces under the instruction of the King. Sri Lankan monarchy starts in 3rd century BC and ends with the demise of Sri Lankan king in the hand of British rulers. During this period Sri Lanka was controlled by many Kings and Queens. Among the thousands of Kings and queens, only about 2 dozens of them have been able to make a lasting impression in the mind of Sri Lankan people.

Historical evidence suggests that there had been six queens ruled the island in the past. From infamous Queen Anula to Dona Katharina who ruled the country from Kandy. Queen Leelawathi the wife of King Parakaramabahu, was the fourth queen of the island of Sri Lanka. She ruled the country from the second capital (Polonnaruwa) of Sri Lanka. It is said that queen Leeelawathi ruled the country three times, one north worthy fact during her reign was the political unrest in the country.

After the death of the great ruler of Parakaramabahu, there had been a political turmoil in the country and many people were trying to become the rule of the country. At last queen, Leelawathis was managed to ascend the throne with the help of one powerful general. However, she managed to be on the throne for just for three years.

The most popular story among the queens in the past is the story of queen Anula and she was married to King Chora Naga. King Chora Naga was not popular among the people as a good ruler while he was committed some atrocities. It is said that Queen Anula killed her husband by poisoning and then married Kudatissa, the son of Chora Naga.

After a brief period of their marriage, Kudatissa was also killed by queen Anula with help of Siva, a palace guard who fell in love with queen Anula. After the demise of Hudatissa queen, Anula ascended the throne and Siva were named as her consort. Vatuka who was an Indian carpenter was the next spouse of queen Anula. Queen Anula eliminated Siva by poisoning while; Vatuka was promoted to his Sivas station. Changing of companions of queen Anula did not stop with this incident and she then married a fire-wood carrier, who worked in the palace and then a Brahman. In all the occasion she poisoned the man who she needs to get rid of.

Queen Anula was on the throne for a brief period before she was killed by Kalakanni Tissa, the brother of Kudatissa, the second spouse of queen Anula. It is said that queen Anula was burnt alive to death by Kalakanni Tissa. Queen Anula considered being the first queen of Sri Lankan history.

Queen Sivalee, the second queen of the island did not fortunate to have a vibrant carrier; it is very little known about her life as a ruler. Historical evidence suggests that she ascended the throne after the demise of Chulanga, brother of Sivalee. Queen Sivalee has also ruled the country for a very brief period, even shorter than the queen Anula, owing to her cousin Illanaga, who disposed her from the kinship.

It is believed that queen Anula and Sivalee ascended the throne during the Anuradhapura period. The third queen who ruled the country belied to be ascended the throne during the Polonnaruwa period. The capital of the island was shifted to Polonnaruwa from Anuradhapura owing to constant south Indian invasions by 11th century AD. The third queen of the country believed to be ascended the throne while King Parakramabahu ruling the country from Polonnaruwa. Owing to the reason that King Parakramabahu the great was also ruling some parts of the country, queen Sugala was not the sole ruler of the country.

Queen Sugala was the mother of King Manabharana, whom Parakramabahu defeated in a war and grip the control over the Pihiti Rata(Northerner kingdom of Sri Lanka). Many people, who supported king Manabharana, gathered around queen Sugala in the effort of defending the Ruhunu Rata (Southern Kingdom) from the invading army of King Parakramabahu. After many pitched battles against the army of King Parakramabahu, it proved that the army of queen Sugala was capable of defending the independence of Ruhunu Rata, against the Army of King Parakramabahu. It was the end of the uprising against the king Parakramabahu from Ruhunu Rata and the end of the queen Sugala as the third queen of the history of Sri Lanka.

King Sahasamalla was the ascended the throne by deposing queen Leelawathi. King Sahasamalla was also removed from the kingship from his own army chief before queen Kalyanavathi become the queen of Sri Lanka. Queen Kalyanawathi had been a very pious lady and was devoted to causing of religion. She had been on the throne for six years and the country had been peaceful during that time. Ending of the queen Kalyanawathi’s rule in unknown but it was the beginning of another political unrest in ancient Sri Lanka. There had been two kings, within a year, after the ending of Kalyanawathis’s rule in the country.

Thereafter queen Leelawathi placed on the throne again by another general making it her second term of the rule in the country. Queen Leelawathi lost her grip on the kingship as she was deposed by a second warrior called Lokissara. Then again queen Leelawathi becomes the ruler of the country with the help of another general, making it her third term as the queen of the country. Historical evidence suggests, that king Lokissara was on the throne for a very brief period before he was deposed by queen Leelawathi. An invader from South India named Parakarama Pandu invaded the country and ruled Sri Lanka, ending the seven months of a brief period of the ruling of Leelawathi. It was the third term of queen Leelawathi as the ruler of the country.

There were no female rulers in the country for several centuries after queen Leelawathi. The country was going through some major political and social changes. One major change was the shifting of the capital of the island owing to the South Indian invasions. Kandy was chosen as the last kingdom of the king’s of Sri Lanka. And the final queen of the island was recorded from the Kandyan kingdom.

Dona Katharina or Kusumadevi was the daughter of Wimaladharmasuriya 1. And she was married to a Kandyan king. After the death of king Wimaladharasuriya, she became regent of the Kandyan kingdom and later married her brother in law (Senarath). It is believed the heir to the throne after the death of king Wimaladharmasuriya was killed by poisoning by Senarath. Dona Katharina died one year later in grief following the death of her eldest son.

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Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity tours)

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