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Vijaya (c. 543–505 BCE) was the first recorded king in Sri Lanka, according to the Mahāvaṃsa and other traditional accounts. However, there is no archaeological evidence these accounts.

According to tradition, Vijaya along with several hundred followers arrived in Sri Lanka after they were banished from their homeland of Sinhapura (believed to be somewhere in India). In Sri Lanka, Vijaya and his settlers defeated a yaksha near "Thammena" (believed to be in the central or western part of the island), eventually displacing the island's previous inhabitants from their city of Sirisavatthu.

H.R. Perera states:

According to the early chronicles relating the historical traditions of Sri Lanka, a prince named Vijaya and his followers who came from India and landed in Lanka on the day of the Parinibbaana of the Buddha were the first human inhabitants of this island. When they came the island was occupied by "yakkhas" (sprites, demons). "Yakkhas" and "nāgas" are also said to have inhabited Lanka in the time of the Buddha. A legend relating the existence of a great civilization before this time, under a king named Raavana, is also current though the early chronicles make no mention of it.
The Vijaya legend of these chronicles is taken by modern historians as a poetic expression of the actual aryanization of Sri Lanka in about the sixth century BCE. The term "yakkhas and naagas" may refer to the aborigines who occupied the island before their arrival. No traces of an advanced civilization, however, have yet been discovered to support the Raavana legend. Archaeologists have discovered chert and quartz implements and tools at various sites, believed to have been used by aborigines of Sri Lanka, and they indicate that these people were a primitive tribe who lived by hunting. These aborigines have not left traces of a strong political organization or an advanced culture. The present Veddas are believed to be their descendants.[1]
Further reading

32px-Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg.png Prince Vijaya, Wikipedia


  1. Access to insight icon 50px.png H.R. Perera (2007), Buddhism in Sri Lanka: A Short History, Access to Insight

External links