Kings of Lanka (77 BC – 62 AD)

Choranaga: (63 BC – 51 BC)

After the death of Mahachuli, Choranaga became the King of the country.

Destruction of Buddhist Temples:
After becoming the ruler, Choranaga’s very first act was to destroy the eighteen Viharas that did not provide him refuge while in hiding.

(Author’s Note: Choranaga can be considered as the very first King to destroy Buddhist Viharas).

Baminitiya Saaya – (Baminitiya Famine)
According to Rajavaliya, major famine known as “Baminitiya saaya” occurred in the country. Many people died from it. Mahavamsa is silent on Baminitiya famine.

Story of Anula Devi (Queen Anula):
Choranaga’s first wife was Anula Devi. She poisoned Choranaga to death.


Tissa:(51 BC – 48 BC)

After the death of Choranaga, his nephew, Tissa became the King.


Anula Devi: (48 BC – 42 BC) – (First Woman Ruler)

Tissa was also poisoned by Anula and had the kingdom turned over to her secret lover Siva. Siva ruled the country for one year and two months. He was also poisoned by Anula and had the kingdom transferred to a Damila named Vatuka. Vatuka ruled the country for one year. Anula poisoned him as well and had the country transferred to Dharubatika Tissa. Dharubatika Tissa did not rule for too long, since Anula poisoned him as well. She transferred the kingdom to another Damila named Niliya. Anula poisoned Niliya and became the ruler of the country.

(Author’s Note: Anula Devi is the very first woman to become the ruler of the country. Mahavamsa paints Anula Devi as a sex addicted woman. There could be another side to the story. Anula was trying to capture power for herself from the very beginning by creating various alliances with other men. When she saw the opportunity to capture power she did not hesitate to do so.)


Kutakanna Tissa: (42 BC – 20 BC)

Anula Devi ruled the country for a period of four months. Mahachuli’s son Kutakanna Tissa came with an army and defeated Anula and became the King. Kutakanna Tissa ruled the country with justice for all.


Bathikabhaya: (20 BC – 8 AD)

After Kutakanna Tissa’s death his son Bathikabhaya became the ruler of the country. Bathikabhaya constructed an eight finger thick plaster on the Mahathupa. (Approximately 3 to 4 inches thick). King Bathikabhaya raised water from Abhaya wewa, using machines to bathe Mahathupa. (Author’s Note: Interestingly Mahavamsa provides an account of pumping machines used by King Bathikabhaya. One could imagine a pumping device powered by horses or buffalos. Further, King Bathikabhaya is credited with constructing a wide stairway to Mihintale. This wide stairway still exists in Mihintale at the bottom of the hill). King Bathikabhaya was a very pious King who constructed many Viharas. He conducted the great Vesak festival every year. Dancers, drummers and musicians participated in the festival held in honor of the great Bodhi tree.


Mahadathika Mahanaga: (8 AD – 20 AD)

After the death of King Bathikabhaya, his younger brother Mahadathika became the King. King Mahadathika built the Amabatthala Vihara in Mihintale.


Amanda Gamini Abhaya: (20 AD – 30 AD)

After Mahadathika’s death his son Amanda Gamini Abhaya became the ruler. King Amanda Gamini built the Ridhee Vihara.


Kaniraja Tissa: : (30 AD – 33 AD)

King Amanda Gamini Abhaya was overthrown by his younger brother Kaniraja Tissa.

Murder of Bhikkus: Kaniraja Tissa charged sixty bhikkus of treason and had them thrown from a mountain. (Chetiya Pabbatha). (Author’s Note: Kalani Tissa was the first King to kill a bhikku. As per Mahavamsa, Kaniraja Tissa was the second King to kill bhikkus. Mahavamsa states Choranaga destroyed Viharas but does not say whether he killed any bhikkus).


Chulabhaya: : (33 AD – 34 AD)

After Kaniraja Tissa’s death, previous King Amanda Gamini Abhaya’s son Chulabhaya came to power.


Sivali (Queen): (34 AD – 34 AD) (Second Woman Ruler)

After the death of Chulabhaya, his sister, Sivali came to power. (Author’s Note: Queen Sivali was the second woman to become the ruler of the country).


Ilanga: : (34 AD – 40 AD)

Queen Sivali was overthrown by her nephew Ilanga. King Ilanga had a problem with a powerful group of people known as “Lambakanna”. King had Lambakannas build a road to Mahathupa and had Chandalas as overseers.

(Author’s Note: This is the very first time Mahavamsa mentions the Lambakanna clan. Initially there was Sihala, who came along with Vijaya. Now Mahavamsa introduces this new group – Lambakanna. Later Lambakannas captured power from the Sihala and ruled the country for nearly 1,000 years).

Lambakannas were angry with King Ilanga for this insult and plotted against him. They conducted a coup and held the King in hostage inside the castle. Kings people had the royal elephant breakthrough the castle and saved the King. King Ilanga fled the capital and spent three years in hiding. King gathered a large army and came to the capital and captured the power.


Chandha Mukaseeva: (Sandha Muhunu) : (40 AD – 49 AD)

After the death of Ilanga, his son Chandha Mukaseeva became the King.


Yasalalaka Tissa: : (49AD – 56 AD)

Chandha Mukaseeva was overthrown by his brother Yasalalaka Tissa.

Subha and Yasa Story: King Yasalalaka Tissa had a gate keeper named Subha, who had similar features as the King. King decided to play a practical joke on his ministers. King had the gate keeper dress as the King and he himself dressed as the gate keeper. The ministers came and paid homage to the gate keeper believing him to be the real King. Seeing this, King Yasalalaka Tissa (now disguised as the gate keeper) could not stop laughing. At this point Subha asked the ministers why that gate keeper is laughing. Ministers said they do not know. Then Subha ordered to put Yasalalaka Tissa to death. After the death of Yasalalaka Tissa, Subha the gate keeper became the King.


Subha: : (56 AD – 62 AD)

During Subha’s reign, a fortune teller predicted that a Lambakanna man named Vasabha would become the next ruler of the country. Fearful of this prophecy, Subha ordered that all the men with the name “Vasabha” to be killed. The real Vasabha never got caught. Vasabha raised an army and defeated Subha.

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