The Crisis of the Sixteenth Century was the later part of the Transitional period of Sri Lanka, that began with the decline of the Kingdom of Kotte, with the Vijayabā Kollaya in 1521, culminated in the collapse of the Kingdom of Sitawaka, and with Portuguese dominance, if not control by 1597, over two of three kingdoms that had existed at the start of the century.[1] The Kingdom of Kandy was the only independent Sinhalese kingdom to survive.[2] The period was characterised by the fragmentation of the Sinhalese polity, intervention of foreign forces and constant military conflict.


Periodization of Sri Lanka history:

Dates Period Period Span (years) Subperiod Span (years) Main government
300,000 BP–~1000 BC Prehistoric Sri Lanka Stone Age   300,000 Unknown
Bronze Age  
~1000 BC–543 BC Iron Age 457
543 BC–437 BC Ancient Sri Lanka Pre Anuradhapura   106 Monarchy
437 BC–463 AD Anuradhapura 1454 Early Anuradhapura 900
463–691 Middle Anuradhapura 228
691–1017 Post-classical
"Medieval" Sri Lanka
Late Anuradhapura 326
1017–1070 Polonnaruwa 215 Chola conquest 53
1055–1232   177
1232–1521 Transitional 365   289
1521–1597 Early Modern Sri Lanka Crisis of the Sixteenth Century 76
1597–1815 Kandyan   218
1815–1948 Modern Sri Lanka British Ceylon 133 British Colonial Government
1948–1972 Contemporary Sri Lanka Sri Lanka since 1948 72 years ago Dominion 24 Constitutional monarchy
1972–Present Republic 48 years ago Unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic

Political history

Vijayabā Kollaya

Wars of Kotte Succession

Sinhalese–Portuguese War

Portuguese conquest of the Jaffna kingdom

See also



  1. ^ De Silva 2014, p. 161.
  2. ^ De Silva 2014, p. 162.


  • De Silva, K. M. (2014). A history of Sri Lanka ([Revised.] ed.). Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications. ISBN 978-955-8095-92-8.