Dutch Regime (1640 – 1796 AD) – Galle Heritage

Dutch Regime (1640 – 1796 AD)

Although Dutch instituted their power in Galle in 1640 AD, it appears that both parties were active in establishing powers earlier. Admiral Joris Fun Spilburcheon took aboard from Netherland in 1601 AD had arrived in Ceylon on 31st May, 1602 AD to convey the blessing of the king of Netherland and the prince Morishes Nasso. It was the year the Dutch East India Company was established as a multi lateral Company.

Arrival of Joris Fun Spilburcheon with men from Linskortain was a great consolation to the king of Kandy who was fed up with the governance of Portuguese at that time. After three months that followed the arrival of Joris Fun Spilburcheon  , Danish national Sebald De Vaat came to formulate affinities with Ceylon. Vaat came for the first time on 28th November, 1602 AD and several times thereafter as well. As a result of a misunderstanding between the missions accompanied him and the king, he was murdered by Sinhalese.

King Wimaladharmasooriya- I (1592 – 1604 AD)  died in 1604 AD and his cousin who succeded him in the kingship ruled from 1605 AD up to 1636 AD. Marsheles De Bushover, the then Junior Merchant of the Company was sent to Ceylon on 08th March , 1612 AD to promote relationships with king Senarath and prince Morishes and the Cabinet of Netherland. Bushover did an ample service in establishing the relationships between the king of Ceylon and Netherland. A group of delegates that arrived in Ceylon from Denmarkin May, 1620 AD expressed their consent to support in evicting Portuguese but the king did not agree on the proposal. Some sources iterate that Bushover played the pioneering role in establishing the connection between Ceylon and Denmark. Bushover had gone to Denmark and signed Agreements on behalf of the king. The Danish national Ove Guede and thereafter Danish national Rowland Crepe came to Ceylon. During that time Portuguese invaded the boundaries of hill country affecting Kandyan kingdom in 1630 AD violating the Agreement they had entered into with the Kandyan king. After the deaths of king Senarath and the eldest son of Wimaladharmasooriya- I (1592-1604 AD), Second son of king Senarath became the king of Kandyin the name Rajasingha –II. (1635 – 1687 AD)

Although king Rajasingha took over the power over Kandyan kingdom in 1635 AD, Portuguese were able to monopolize the trading and control other dealings the king had with the outside world as Portuguese during that time had constructed fortresses in the coastal zone. They did not have the entire coastal area under their power but they had the control over through big fortresses they had in Colombo, Galle, Jaffna and Trincomalee. Since there was the dire need of a powerful naval force to countermand the Portuguese influence, king Rajasingha dispatched a letter on 09th September, 1936 Carral Reginius, the Governor of Paliacat requesting assistance. In a several severe collusions during that time between Portuguese and Rajasingha- II (1635 -1687 AD) Portuguese suffered extreme defeat. Among those battles was the famous “Gannoruwa battle” which displayed the expertise of Guerilla war techniques of natives.

Dutch Governor consented to provide the support of the Dutch to suppress the ruling powers of Portuguese and the Westerwald – Rajasingha Agreement was signed on 23rd May, 1638 AD. The signatories thereto were King Rajasingha on one party and Adam Westerwald and William Jacob Coater for the other party.

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