Vimaladharmasuriya I of Kandy

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Vimaladharmasuriya I
King of Kandy
King Vimaladharmasuriya I.jpg
Reign 1592–1604
Predecessor Rajasinha I of Sitawaka
Successor Senarat of Kandy
Born Konappu Bandara
Sri Lanka
Died 1604
Sri Lanka
Burial Sri Lanka
Spouse Kusmasana Devi (Dona Catherina)
Issue Prince Mahastenne (died 1612)
Suriya Devi (died 1617)
Sama Devi
House House of Dinajara
Father Vijayasundara Bandara

Vimaladharmasuriya I, also known as Konappu Bandara before Coronation and Dom Joan of Austria or Don Jhon Appuhamy,[1] was a king of Sri Lanka who ruled the country from 1590 to 1604. He was a late 16th-century to early 17th-century king of the Kingdom of Kandy, located in the central hills of the present-day island nation of Sri Lanka. His reputation was built when he successfully repulsed two major Portuguese offensives in to Kandy, the Campaign of Danture in 1594 and the Battle of Balana in 1602, in both of which the Portuguese were humiliatingly defeated.


Vimaladharmasuriya meeting with the Dutch explorer Joris van Spilbergen in 1602.

King Vimaladharmasuriya is regarded by some historians as the Kandyan Kingdom's second founder, responsible for its revival. Born Konnappu Bandara, he was baptized under the Portuguese name of Don João da Austria. In 1594 he married Princess Kusmasana Devi who, as Dona Catherina, was put forward by the Portuguese as the rightful claimant to the throne and became king. After renouncing Christianity and embracing Buddhism, Vimaladharmasuriya constructed a two-tiered shrine close to his palace in order to sanctify his capital, Kandy, and accommodate the politically-important relic of the tooth of the Buddha.[2][3]

The Dutch explorer Joris van Spilbergen offered an alliance to fight off the Portuguese. Following these negotiations, Sebald de Weert was sent officially by Admiral Wybrand van Warwijck to mount a joint counter-attack against the Portuguese. The alliance ended in disaster however during a drinking party, where the Dutch became rowdy, De Weert according to François Valentijn insulted the queen, and De Weert and all 47 Dutchmen accompanying him consequently were killed. An alliance would not be possible again until 1612, when a new Dutch envoy, Marcellus de Boschouwer, established a treaty with Senarat of Kandy, ultimately leading to the eviction of the Portuguese from the island, and about one century of Dutch rule, until the British in turn took the island.


At the time of his coronation Buddhism was on the verge of disappearing from the island. The king learned that ordained Buddhist monks no longer existed on the island so he sent one of his ministers to Lower Burma and reestablished Buddhism in the island. By this time, the relic of the tooth of the Buddha was hidden in Delgamuwa Rajamaha Viharaya in Sabaragamuwa Province. The king brought the tooth relic to Kandy and built a two-storied Temple of the Tooth near the Royal Palace of Kandy to house the relic. He also repaired many ruined Buddhist temples throughout his kingdom.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wimalananda, Prof.Tennakoon (2008). Udarata Maha Karalla. 
  2. ^ Pilimatalavuva, Ananda (March 4, 2007). "A kingdom is born, a kingdom is lost". Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  3. ^ Buddhist Monastic Architecture in Sri Lanka: The Woodland Shrines. Anuradha Seneviratna. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  4. ^ Culavamsa
Vimaladharmasuriya I of Kandy
Born: ? ? Died: ? 1604
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Rajasimha I
King of Kandy
1592 –1604
Succeeded by