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Kandy at War

Channa Wickremesekera (Author)
Synopsis The kingdom of Kandy in the central highlands of Sri Lanka presents one of the finest examples of effective military resistance to European expansion by a small, economically backward state in the South Asian region, and perhaps, in a subsistence economy, few material resources and a sparse population by regional standards, has the unique distinction of resisting European expansion for over two centuries. Between 1594 and 1818 Kandy battled against the armies of three European powers established in the coast: the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British and preserved its independence until the kingdom was betrayed by disgruntled nobles in 1815. The Europeans suffered heavily in their wars with the Kandyans. Three large Portuguese armies were completely destroyed and one badly mauled in their attempts to invade and ravage Kandyan territory, resulting in the death and capture of nearly 2,000 Portuguese soldiers. Two Dutch attempts (in 1764 and 1765) to invade and occupy Knady failed the invaders having to retreat with loss. In 1803-4 two British armies entered Kandy. One was trapped and massacred while the other escaped with heavy losses. Resisting invasion was not the only way in which the Kandyans fought the Europeans. They occasionally took the fight to the enemy, invading and devastating his lands in the law country. From the perspective of small state resistance to European arms this was serious and significant resistance, perhaps the most significant of its kind in the region. Yet it has so far received little attention from scholars working on Asian military history or on Sri Lankan history. This study is the first serious attempt to fill this void.
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About the author

Channa Wickremesekera

Channa Wickremesekera obtained his Ph.D. in History from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia in 1998. He is currently based at Monash University and is engaged in post-doctoral research into Sri Lankan military history.

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Bibliographic information

Title Kandy at War
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 817304547X
length 228p., Notes; Glossary; Bibliography; Index; 23cm.