The following is a list of Sri Lankan monarchs since 543 BC. The main source for many of these monarchs are the chronicles of the island maintained by monks, known as the Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa, Chulavamsa and the Rajaveliya. This list should be used with the following factors kept in mind. Firstly the dates provided for the earliest monarchs are difficult to objectively verify; those which are particularly difficult to know have been denoted with a (?) mark. Secondly in terms of succession it is difficult to divide the monarchs into 'houses' or 'dynasties' as often the throne was passed around amongst related individuals within a particular clan; especially in medieval times there were no articulated rules of succession and whoever was in possession of the sacred Tooth Relic had a good claim to being called king, which was around the times of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa to the Kingdom of Kandy. Thirdly the list only includes monarchs who had possession of most of the island and the power at any one time, therefore monarchs from kingdoms and sub kingdoms such as Ruhuna, Maya Rata, Dhakkinadesa and the Jaffna kingdom are not on this list. Also the island of Sri Lanka has been invaded by many foreign powers over its 2500 year history, mainly from South India, and some even seizing the throne making the island part of its empire. Most notable is the Cholas in 985 and British in 1815. The Portuguese and the Dutch however did not seize the Kandyan throne but only occupied territory within the island.
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