History, Foreign Control
Tamil kings, Chinese forces, sphere of influence, trading post, friendly relations
From the late 3rd century ad to the middle of the 12th century, Sinhala was dominated by Tamil kings and by a succession of invaders from southern India. Native princes regained power briefly in the late 12th century and again in the 13th century. From 1408 to 1438 Chinese forces occupied the island of Sinhala, which had been partitioned into a number of petty kingdoms.
In 1517 the Portuguese, having established friendly relations with one of the native monarchs, founded a fort and trading post at Colombo. Their sphere of influence expanded steadily thereafter, mainly as a result of successful wars of conquest, and by the end of the 16th century they controlled large sections of the island. Consequently, in 1638 and 1639, when the Dutch launched the first of a series of attacks on Portuguese strongholds in the island, they found numerous allies among the natives. The struggle ended in 1658 with the Dutch gaining control of most of the island, although the kingdom of Kandy remained an independent entity.
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