Tamil eelam in the last millennium

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From Rajarajan
to Pirabakaran

A Timeline

1000 AD – The Glory days of Tamils – It was the 15th year of Raja Raja Cholan’s reign[1].

Rajarajan, referred to as the greatest Hindu King ever to have walked this earth, had accomplished most of his triumphs by the turn of the last millennium. Thamil Eelam, the Yalpana (Jaffna) Kingdom then, was part of his extensive empire.

1017 – The entire island of Ceylon (Lanka or Ilankai) comes under Chola rule.

1070 – Sinhala King Vijaya Bahu regains power in South Lanka and establishes Sinhala Kingdom in Pollonaruwa. Sinhala rule never reaches Jaffna peninsula.

1200 – The reign of Arya Chakravarthi dynasty begins. Pandi Mallavan from Jaffna asks Pandyans to appoint a King for Jaffna and Prince Singai Aryan arrives in Jaffna in 1200 (circa). He founds the Arya Chakravarthi dynasty, which lasted 403 years
Arya Chakravarthi Dynasty


Arya Chakravarthi Dynasty

Kulasekara Singai Aryan 1240-1256
Kulatunga Singai Aryan 1256-1279
Vikkrama Singai Aryan P II 1279-1302
Varothaya Singai Aryan   S III 1302-1325
Marthanda Singai Aryan  P III 1325-1348
Kunapushana Singai Aryan  S IV 1348-1371
Virothaya Singai Aryan 1371-1380
Seyaveera Singai Aryan 1380-1410
Kunaveera Singai Aryan 1410-1440
Kanagasuriya Singai Aryan 1440-1450

1400 – Nallur becomes the capital of Jaffna Kingdom. Jaffna Kingdom was well established and included north, east, and the west down to Puttalam.

1450 – Sempaha Perumal, on behalf of Sinhala King Parakrama Bahu IV, captures Jaffna. Sempaha Perumal, called Sapumal Kumaraya by the Sinhalese, son of Pannikkan (a Tamil), was raised by Parakrama Bahu IV. King Kanagasuria withdraws to Thamil Nadu and Sempaha Perumal rules Jaffna Kingdom for 15 years (1450-1467), the only period Yalpana Kingdom was under ‘Sinhala dominion.’

1467 – King Kanagasuriya returns with an army and retakes Jaffna.

1478 – The reign of King Pararasasekaran (1478-1519), referred to as the Golden Era of the Jaffna Kingdom, begins. Learning and culture were encouraged and many new temples were built. Pararasasekaran had two sons by the first wife, another son by his second wife and Sangili by his third wife.

1519 – The reign of King Sangili (1519-1561) begins. He was the son of Pararasasekaran VI and Mangalath Ammal (3rd wife). He became king after the mysterious death of the two crown princes. Portuguese had by then invaded Ceylon, and when they attempted to capture Jaffna he went to war and seized their ship. He put to death 600 people who accepted conversion. He then escaped to India, later reconciled with the Portuguese and remained a King under Portuguese rule.
Kings of Jaffna – Under Portuguese Rule


Kings of Jaffna – Under Portuguese Rule
Puviraja Pandaram PVI 1561-1565
Periya Pillai S 1565-1582
Puviraja Pandaram 1582-1591
Ethirmanasingam PVII 1591-1615
Arasakesari (as Regent for the infant Crown Prince) 1615-1617

1617 – The short lived reign of Sangili Kumaran, the last king of Jaffna (1617-1618) begins. He assassinated Arasakesari and seized power. His rule was one of cruel deeds and atrocities. Portuguese army under Philip de Oliviera, with 2000 Sinhala mercenaries, marched into Jaffna. Kakkai Vannian helped with boats to cross Poonakari (Pooneryn) and to kidnap Sangili Kumaran to Goa in India. Sangili Kumaran was hanged in Goa, and with this the Jaffna kingdom came to an end.

1619-1658 – Portuguese rule Jaffna. Philip de Oliviera rules Jaffna kingdom as a separate entity. His rule was marred by extensive destruction and pillage of Hindu temples.

1658-1796 – Dutch rule of Jaffna. The Dutch capture Trincomalee and Colombo, but rule Jaffna as a separate entity. Thesavalamai Law was enacted during this period, giving legitimacy to the (customary) laws of the Jaffna kingdom.

1796-1948 – British rule. The British captured Trincomalee in 1795 and the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815. The three states (former kingdoms of Jaffna, Kandy and Kotte) were amalgamated into a single administrative unit in 1831.

1948 – Sinhala rule of Eelam begins. In the first year, the Sinhala majority parliament legislates to disenfranchise Tamils of recent Indian origin, and begins colonization of Thamil Eelam with Sinhala settlers.

1956 – Sinhala Language was legislated to be the only official language for the entire island. With this various measures were taken to deny Tamils equal access to education and employment.

1957 – Tamil resistance to Sinhala rule begins. A peaceful protest by Tamil representatives was broken up by organized thugs with the connivance of the Prime Minister Bandaranaike. Attempts at peaceful settlement with the Sinhalese – Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact (1958), Senanayake-Chelvanayakam Pact (1965), etc. – fail due to Sinhala intransigence.

1961 – Tamil resistance moves to Thamil Eelam (Jaffna Kingdom). Sinhala army sent to Jaffna to break up the non-violent protest led by the Tamil Federal Party.

1976 – All Tamil political parties unite under the leadership of S J V Chelvanayakam QC, to from the Tamil United Federation (TUF). The First National Convention of TUF declares:

“The Convention resolves that the restoration and reconstitution of the Free, Sovereign, Secular, Socialist state of Tamil Eelam based on the right of self-determination inherent to every nation has become inevitable in order to safeguard the very existence of the Tamil nation in this country.”

The resolution also called upon

“The Tamil youth in particular to come forward to throw themselves fully in the sacred fight for freedom and flinch not till the goal of a sovereign socialist state of Tamil Eelam is reached”.

1977 – The Historical mandate of the Tamil people. The Tamil United Liberation Front went to polls with the following and won with a clear mandate –

“The Tamil nation must take the decision to establish its sovereignty in its homeland on the basis of its right to self-determination. The only way to announce this decision to the Sinhalese Government and to the world is to vote for TULF. The Tamil-speaking representatives who get elected through these votes while being members of the National State Assembly of Tamil Eelam which will draft a constitution for the state of Tamil Eelam and establish the independence of Tamil Eelam by bringing that constitution into operation either by peaceful means or by direct action or struggle”.

1983 – War for independence of Eelam begins under the leadership of Velupillai Pirabakaran and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

2000 – At the turn of the Millennium-
bullet Most of the Vanni region of Thamil Eelam is under Tamil rule.
bullet The Sinhala army is engaged in a desperate war with the Tamil army (LTTE) to maintain its toehold on the rest of Eelam.
bullet The people of Tamil Eelam are undergoing tremendous hardships and deprivation at the hands of the intruding Sinhala army.
bullet The resilience and determination of the Tamil people have changed a distant dream of an independent Thamil Eelam into a distinct possibility in the new millennium.

Sangam Research
With M.S. Isweran


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