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Ehelepola, Molligoda and Kapuvatta with D'Oyly

Dissava was a feudal title associated with high office in the Kandyan and central regions of Sri Lanka. Persons were appointed to the title and office by the King during the Kingdom of Kandy, these appointees headed the administration of a large province of the Kingdom known as a Dissava and was the king's personal representative, tax collector in that area. In modern terms the post was similar to a combination of the post of Chief Minister and Governor of a province of Sri Lanka. There was no time limit for the officer holder as he held the post at the pleasure of the King, which meant throughout his life, if not incurred the displeasure of the King. It was not hereditary, although members of the same family have been appointed.

As king's personal representative in a province they held much power, controlled the civil administration, taxation, judicial, law enforcement and military matters of the province. Many close relatives of the King being commonly appointed. They received a portion of the taxation as pay and also large land grants from the King, some being hereditary. Along with Adigars and a few others high officials of the kingdom they made up the Radala caste, who were referred to as the Chieftains of Kandy by the British. Many were instrumental in the surrender of the Kandyan Kingdom to the British and were signatories to the Kandyan Convention in 1815.

Following the expansion of British rule into the provinces of the former Kandyan Kingdom since 1815, the British retained the office of Dissava appointing Kandyans loyal to the British Crown. Following the Uva Rebellion in 1818 and changers to the administrative divisions of the island with the creation of Districts, British Government Agents took over the duties of the Dissava, with the remaining and newly appointed Dissavas being mere honorary titles. After Ceylon gained independence in 1947 these appointments were never made.

Ten Dissavas of the Kandyan Kingdom[edit]

  • Dissava of Wellassa & Bintenna
  • Dissava of Matale
  • Dissava of Uda-Palatha
  • Dissava of Nuwara Kalawiya
  • Dissava of Sath Korles
  • Dissava of Thun Korles
  • Dissava of Sabaragamuwa
  • Dissava of Hathra Korles
  • Dissava of Uva
  • Dissava of Tamankaduwa

Notable appointees[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]