Freedom Struggle, 1818

Relations between the British and the chieftains who signed the Kandyan Convention deteriorated a year after the occupation. Discontent grew, and the struggle for freedom leading up to the events of 1818 had begun to sweep throughout the Kandyan regions in 1817.

In a letter from Governor Brownrigg to the Colonial Secretary's Office in London, he jubilantly recalls the capture and imprisonment of the two main leaders of the rebellion, Keppetipola and Pilimatalawa.

The tooth relic played a central role in this rebellion. The letter states that when the Kandyan chieftain Madugalle was captured by the British, villagers informed the soldiers about a suspicious monk in the forest. It was later revealed that this monk was Ven. Wāriyapola Sumangala, the Anunayake of the Asgiriya Chapter, who was found with the tooth relic, removed from the palace in May 1818.

Governor Brownrigg implies in the letter that the rebellion ended because the Tooth Relic fell into British hands, thereby providing legitimacy to British rule in the eyes of the people. However, ruthless suppression also played a clear role in ending the rebellion. Nineteen chieftains were officially branded as ‘traitors’ by Governor Robert Brownrigg in the Gazette of January 10, 1818, a proclamation invalidated almost two hundred years later by Gazette No. 1998/25 of December 21, 2016.

LK-NA/5/10, Gazette No. 896, 10.01.1818.

Department of National Archives Sri Lanka

Department of
National Archives
Sri Lanka

Last Modified: 2024-05-29 09:58:09~ Server Time: 2024-07-15 01:48:25