HISTORY OF SRILANKA 4 Gyan Fernando's revision of history.... The days of the "hated" Portuguese are coming to an end only to be replaced by the "hated" Dutch.... Links and the serious bits are at the bottom of the page...
ESTABLISHED SINCE 1505 ANNO DOMINI
IN GOD WE TRVST!
|16 October 1655 anno domini||Volvme 150, No: 39|
|Pvblished by Associated Newspapers of Ceelan, Lake Hovse, Colvmbo. Price: Two Pieces of Eight|
KILL A OLLANDESI IN GOD'S NAME AND WIN 100 GOLD COINS!
|WE HAVE GOT THEM ON THE RVN! GO BACK TO BATAVIA! GO BACK TO HOLLANDAI!..... AND STAY THERE! THIS ISLAND IS OVRS! GOD IS ON OVR SIDE!|
war news has been svbjected to censorship by the Portvgvese
WE MAY HAVE LOST A FEW BATTLES BVT WE ARE WINNING THE WAR! ...that was the cheering message from the battle fronts yesterday! Well, yes we did lose the Battle of Caltvra bvt we did get the enemy on the rvn at Angvrvwatota and we are definitely winning. We of course never wanted Trincomalee and never wanted Batticaloa either! The Ollandesi are welcome to those godforsaken forts. We are now ready to meet the invaders on ovr terms, on the banks of Bolgoda Lake at Panatvra! The Battle of Panatvra promises to be a battle to end all battles according to military sources. Ovr troops are in good spirits! They are reported to be raring to have a go at the Olandesi and it was with considerable dissapointment that they learnt that a crossing of the lake had to be postponed dve to minor logistical difficvlties
We will fight them on the beaches...
A senior military spokesman said today that "There are enough miles of sandy beaches between Panatvr and Colvmbo. The Defenders of this island will fight the Ollandesi every inch of the way if they dared cross the Bolgoda Lake".
Meanwhile in a Administration Gazette the Ministry of Defence warned that deserters wovld be shot on sight. The same gazette warned that looters will be hanged and black marketeers will have their property confiscated. Meanwhile the Diocese of Colvmbo announced that special prayers were being said for ovr boys in all the chvrches in the free zone.
Vnconfirmed reports emerged that the eight pounder cannon were unreliable, with the barrels having a tendency to fall off the gvn carriages after a few rounds had been fired.
RAJASINGHE! GET LOST!
King Rajasinghe II! King of Candea! Yov dirty little rat! So yov have strvck a dirty deal with those sneaky Ollandesi of Batavia have you?! Well we here at the Observer hope that yov will enjoy the hospitality of those dirty dealers of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Campagnie.
Mark ovr words: Before long yov'll be glad we are here to protect yov...Don't say that we didn't warn yov! Give them a fort and yov'll lose yovr kingdom.... Yov'll find that yov have jvmped from the frying pan to the fire!...Enjoy playing king in yovr stvpid little kingdom of Candea. Enjoy it while it lasts! Time is rvnning out for yov.
Get rid of vs the loyal Portvgvese and yov'll be getting rid of yovrself!
THE OBSERVER SAYS:
The natives of the occvpied zones insist that the Ollandesi are stinkers..... in more ways than one! Ha! Ha! We already knew that! The locals refer to us as the "Beloved Portvgvese" or "PARABALLO"!..but they have started derisively referring to the Ollandesi invaders as "Lansi"!
THE OBSERVER asks:
Who's is the Real God?
We, the Portvgvese introduced the real God to this Island of Pagans! Thousands have seen the light and embraced the Catholic way of life! Now we have the "stinkers" from Ollandai trying to tell us that their God is the true God! We ask: Does God support the Portugvese Catholic Church or the Ollandaise Reformed Church.!!! Is God Dutch?
Two soldiers were reported to have drowned in the Bolgoda Lake yesterday. It is vnderstood that their deaths had nothing to do with an enemy attack. The soldiers are vnderstood to have consvmed a large qvantity of Ra that they had confiscated from the natives, before going for a midnight swim across the lake in the hope of single handedly attacking the Ollandesi.
"REST HOVSE" RAIDED
by our Lvnawa correspondent
A brothel operating vnder the name of "The Rest Hovse" at Lvnawa was raided yesterday by the military police and several local women were taken back to the barracks. It has been reported that a top military commander and a senior government administrator had been fovnd hiding vnder the beds bvt this report was later denied by an official spokesman.
The average market prices for the month (seasonally adjusted) released by the Administration show that prices were coming down and that inflation was low. Meanwhile at St John's Fish Market in the Pettah yesterday a single seer fish was selling for 12 pieces of eight. This is a fovrfold increase on Jvly prices.
BUILD RIVAL CHVRCH!
by ovr Calvtara correspondent
It has been reported by our Caltvra correspondent that The Lansi presently occvpying our fort at Calvtara have set about building "a sort of a church", close to the fort, which they call the Ollandaise Reformed Church. The local Catholic fisherfolk however insist that their God is the trve God and that the Ollandesi have no bvsiness distorting the teachings of the Bible.
An vgly incident took place when a drvnken Catholic native by the name of Jeramias of Paiyagala tried to attack the so called chvrch. He svstained minor injvries.
Meanwhile local Bvddhists complained that the Ollandesi had cvt down a sacred Bo tree bvt the Ollandesi blamed it on the local Catholics.
|A few small
by ovr Galle correspondent
Fishermen fishing off the sovthern coast have reported seeing several Ollandesi war ships sailing in a north-easterly direction just to the sovth of the Maldives. There is specvlation that these may be the long-awaited reinforcements for the Ollandesi and that they may be vnder the command of General Hvlft. The Ministry of Defence dismissed them as a few Moormen poaching fish in the Indian Ocean and svggested that the fishermen who spotted them were probably drvnk.
SHIPS SET SAIL
A few ships carrying drvnken Ollandesi sailors and other misfits set off from the Hoek of Olland a few weeks ago in the general direction of the Indian Ocean bvt are not considered to pose a seriovs threat.
A small herd of wild elephants, inclvding several tvskers have been terrorising late-night revellers near the Poorte Reina and St John's River waterfront area. By daytime the elephants hide in the Colvmbo marshes and jungles bvt emerge at night close to hvman habitation attracted by the smells of the Pettah markets. Local traders are asking for action complaining that, following the latest rampage, late night bvsiness has dwindled.
HANWELLA ROBBERY: Svspects arrested.
by ovr Hanwella correspondent
Four suspects of Portvgvese origin have been arrested in connection with the Hanwella highway robbery. The Ministry of Defence denied that the suspects were soldiers.
A new bakery has been opened at Caltvra by a local bvsinessman called Salgado. The bakery is said to make the best Malv-Paan this side of Moratva. (see ovr Recipe Page for a recipe for Malv-Paan)
|THE HISTORICAL BASIS,
BIBILIOGRAPHY AND DATES |
The above account is based on the standard historical texts and on my own knowledge of that part of the country, including its culture. Obviously, my experiences are those of the late fifties, sixties and the seventies which I have used freely to colour the above account. The more I read the history of the old country the more I am convinced that nothing has changed and nothing ever will.
As this is a non-political webpage I will say no more..
THE DATE OF "THE PORTUGUESE OBSERVER"
The date of "The Portuguese Observer" is the 16th of October 1655. By this time the Portuguese had lost the fort at Kalutara and were on the Moratuwa bank of the Bolgoda lake facing the Dutch (or running away from the Dutch?). The Dutch were on the Panadura side "near where the Bolgoda lake falls into the sea at Panadura." General Hulft and his troops had already landed at Galle having arrived in 16 ships with 2500 men. (Brohier) This is therefore at odds with my account of the reinforcements still being several days away. (But then the Military Authorities must have censored the news!)
THE FORT AT KALUTARA
As a schoolboy in the fifties and early sixties I can remember the remains of the fort which stood near the southern end of the bridge across the Kalu Ganga, opposite the bo tree and the Buddhist temple. The Chaitya (Stupa) was built on the site totally obscuring the remains.
THE BATTLE OF KALUTARA
The Portuguese lost the fort to the Dutch at an earlier date but regained it in March 1654. The Dutch were probably not unduly worried about this loss as they knew that General Hulft was on his way from Galle. The Portuguese finally lost Kalutara on the 14th of October 1655 (two days before "The Portuguese Observer" was published!). They then retreated towards Colombo and crossed the Bolgoda Lake (Brohier)
THE BATTLE OF PANADURA
The Portuguese consisting of 700 soldiers were overwhelmed by the Dutch who numbered 3000 men. Apparently running battles took place along the spit of sand between the lake and the sea--that is along the course of the present day New Galle Road between Moratuwa and Panadure (and past the present day site of the Rest House at Lunawa!). Only 200 Portuguese soldiers survived the experience. The Portuguese then retreated in to the Colombo Fort and the Siege of Colombo then commenced. Hulft was killed before the seige ended in victory for the Dutch (Brohier)
BATTICALOA AND TRINCOMALEE
The Portuguese had lost both these forts to the Dutch previously--Batticaloa on the 18th of May 1638 and Trinco on the 2nd of May 1639. King Rajasingha ll's men took part in these battles in the sense that they arrived at the battle scene after the Dutch had done the dirty work and had already entered the fort!(Codrington)
In 1653 i.e. two years before Kalutara was lost, the Portuguese managed to rout the Dutch at Anguruwatota. (Codrington) This may sound like an odd place for a battle unless one remembers that Anguruwatota was one of the few places where the river (Kalu Ganga) could be crossed as there was no bridge at Kalutara then. To this day there is a ferry at Anguruwatota which is approx 10 miles upstream from Kalutara.
KING RAJASINGHE ll
By all acounts Rajasingha appears to have been a shifty character- to say the least. He first poisoned one of his half-brothers and forced another to leave the country. He originally invited the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Campagnie) to help him get rid of the Portuguese but later regretted this decision. It could be said that the equally shifty and double-dealing Dutch met their match in him. There is also no doubt that Rajasingha met his match in the Dutch. For instance, at least on two occasions the Dutch drew up a treaty with the king, with one copy of the treaty written in Portuguese and one copy in Dutch. Unfortunately the Dutch version included clauses which did not appear in the Portuguese version and the king apparently fell for it! (One can therefore assume that the king or someone in his retinue could read Portuguese but not Dutch.)(Codrington)
According to Brohier, during the Seige of Colombo, the Portuguese guns proved unreliable. Due to neglect, the gun carriages had rotted and when fired there was a tendency for the barrels to fall off.
Pieces of Eight were used as currency during the Portuguese period. Coins (Stuivers) of the Dutch East India Company (bearing the letters VOC) are still easy to come by.
THE DUTCH CHURCH AT KALUTARA
There still exists a Dutch Reformed Church at Kalutara but this was built in 1765. I am not aware of a previous church on this site. The church is in close proximity to the fort and to the Buddhist temple.
There was very little love lost between the Dutch and the Portuguese even when it came to religion. "The Catholics, harried and proscribed by the Dutch, had found a refuge in the Kandyan country, where they had been protected or at least tolerated by the Sinhalese kings......" (Codrington). A number of Portuguse churches in Colombo were destroyed by the Dutch, according to Brohier.
WILD ELEPHANTS IN THE PETTAH
Brohier mentions an incident which suggests that as late as 1751 (that is, almost a century after the date of "The Portuguese Observer") there were wild elephants in Colombo. At 2 o'clock in the morning, on the 27th of November 1751 a wild tusker crashed into the fort!
The Portuguese never used elephants in warfare although the Sinhala kings employed the beasts regularly. The Portuguese presumably lacked the skill to control the animals, there being no elephants in Lisbon.
LUNAWA REST HOUSE
In the early sixties (1960s, that is!) the police raided the government Rest House at Lunawa and arrested prostitutes and their clients. Several important government officials were discovered among the clientele including one hiding under a bed!
SALGADO BAKERY AT KALUTARA
Salgado Bakery was opened in the 1960s and is only a few yards from the Dutch church. As schoolboys we used to patronise the place. Malu paan was one of their staples. Even today it is one of the relatively hygienic eating houses in Kalutara.
S.T. ALVARES & SONS OF KALUTARA
The main liquor outlet at Kalutara is the establishment of S.T. Alvares & Sons which is more or less opposite the Salgado Bakery. It had a 100 year license which was renewed recently. It can therefore be assumed that the establishment is at least 100 years old. Although they only have a license to sell liquor to be consumed off the premises, the local drunks can be seen standing just outside the premises and drinking Arrack (local spirits) straight out of the bottle! It is presently owned and managed by Vincent ("Vincy") Alvares and his older brother Terence, both old boys of my old school.
According to Codrington the Portuguese soldiers were an ill-disciplined lot and were known to take part in highway robbery.
NOTE: All wars have a sameness about them and therefore any resemblance of my account of the Portuguese-Dutch conflict to the present war in Srilanka is unintentional.
© Gyan Fernando 2001 First published on the 2nd of March 2001A Stuvier of the Dutch East India Company
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