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However, when ever the King of Lanka was weak, the three "kingdoms" functioned as quasi-independent units fighting each other for hegemony, often allying with Indian regional princes in the Chola, Pandyan or Northern India.The Hill country, or Malaya rata, and large parts of the wet zone effectively remained inaccessible to the ancients until they acquired steel implements circa 10-12 century and even began to make high quality steel.
The early Pali writings of Sri Lanka also mention similar names for kingdoms located in the subcontinent.The Dutch replaced the Portuguese as the Colonial power, due to events in Europe and as a consequence of treaties made by the Sinhalese king who hoped to use the Dutch to displace the Portuguese.The Dutch did not honour the treaties, tricked the king and in their hay day ruled most of the maritime provinces of Sri Lanka.The Jaffna Peninsula was finally recaptured in 1921 from Sinhalese rule by the Portuguese General Constantino de Sa de Noronha.
Although Denmark had signed a treaty with the King of Kandy for building a fort in Batticaloa, the Dutch overcame them.
The Romans used names like Salendiv (Cerendiv) closely related to the Greek name Salaka.