Portuguese Ceylon

Portuguese Ceylon

Portuguese Ceylon
Ceilão Português
Portuguese colony




Flag Coat of arms
Maximum extent of Portuguese rule in Ceylon in blue
Capital Colombo
Languages Portuguese, Tamil, Sinhala
Political structure Colony
 •  1518-1518 João da Silveira
 •  1522-1524 Fernão Gomes de Lemos
 •  1551-1552 João Henriques
 •  1591-1594 Pedro Homem Pereira
 •  1594-1594 Pedro Lopes de Sousa
 •  1656-1658 António de Amaral de Meneses
Historical era Colonialism
 •  Contact and trade with the Kotte Kingdom 15 August 1505
 •  Fall of Portuguese Ceylon 14 January 1658
Currency Portuguese Tanga (TCP)

Portuguese Ceylon (Portuguese: Ceilão Português, Sinhala: පෘතුගීසි ලංකාව Patugisi Lankava) was a Portuguese territory in present-day Sri Lanka, representing a period in Sri Lankan history from 1505–1658. The Portuguese first encountered the Ceylonese kingdom of Kotte, with whom they signed a treaty. Portuguese Ceylon was established through the occupation of Kotte and the conquest of surrounding Sinhalese kingdoms. In 1565 the capital of Portuguese Ceylon was moved from Kotte to Colombo. Christianization attempts by the Portuguese furthered friction with the Sinhalese people.

Eventually, the Ceylonese sought help from the Dutch Empire in their struggle for liberation. The Dutch Empire initially entered into agreement with the Kingdom of Kandy. After the collapse of the Iberian economy in 1627, the Dutch-Portuguese War saw the Dutch conquest of most of Portugal's Asian colonies. Eventually, Portugal's Ceylonese territories were ceded to the Netherlands. Nevertheless, there remain elements of Portuguese culture in Sri Lanka today from this colonial period.
Year Leader Place
1562 Lasrda Mulleria
1594 Sousa Danthure
1602 Castro Balana
1630 Consthathenu Randeniwala
1638 Melo Gannoruwa


Portuguese Captains of Ceilão (1518–1551)

Portuguese Captain-majors of Ceilão (1551–1594)

Portuguese Governors of Ceilão (1594–1658)

See also


  • Ceylon and the Portuguese, 1505-1658 (1920). Author: Pieris, P. E. (Paulus Edward), 1874-; Naish, Richard Bryant, 1891- Subject: Sri Lanka -- History
  • Portuguese History in Ceylon
  • C. Gaston Pereira, Kandy fights the Portuguese. Sri Lanka: Vijitha Yapa Publications, July 2007. ISBN 978-955-1266-77-6
  • Channa Wicremasekera, Kandy at War. Sri Lanka: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2004. ISBN 955-8095-52-4
  • Michael Roberts, Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period. Sri Lanka: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2004. ISBN 955-8095-31-1,
  • Senaka Weeraratna, Repression of Buddhism in Sri Lanka by the Portuguese (1505 - 1658)(http://vgweb.org/unethicalconversion/port_rep.htm)2005