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In the beginning of the 16th century, modern Europe first came in contact with Sri Lanka, which was then referred to as Ceylon.In 1505 a Portuguese fleet, while operating in the Indian seas against Arab traders, was blown off course and landed at Galle, on the southern coast of the island.Much like the Portuguese, they did not employ locals in their military, and preferred to live in isolation, pursuing their interests in trade and commerce.Like the Portuguese, they defended their forts with their own forces, but unlike the Portuguese, Dutch forces employed Swiss and Malay mercenaries.
Although the known epigraphical records do not indicate that the Sri Lankan rulers had a full-time standing army at their disposal, there is evidence supported by legend, designation, name, place and tradition that prove there were 'stand-by' equestrian, elephant, and infantry divisions to ensure royal authority at all times.
The Dutch Forts in Jaffna, Galle, Matara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee were sturdily built and are considered a tribute to their military engineering skills.
Also, like the Portuguese, the Dutch focussed on maritime power and although they had the capability to develop and use local forces, they chose to isolate themselves from the local population.
He also had the foresight to cover his defences with artillery.
Vijayabâhu I (1001) was another warrior king who dislodged Indian invaders and united the country.