In one famous encounter, Sinhalese King Dutugemunu (200 BC) raised an army of eleven thousand inhabitants in his battle against the Chola invader King Elara, whom he eventually defeated.King Dutugemunu's organisational skills, bravery and chivalry are famous and his battles have gone down in history as outstanding offensive operations.
Prince Vijaya and his followers occupied the lands of the native Veddah people.
Repeated incursions by South Indians, particularly the Cholas, into Sri Lankan territory occurred throughout the next few centuries and led to the engagement of the rival forces in battle.
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.
In 1517 the Portuguese re-appeared, and with the consent of the Sinhalese King established a trading post in Colombo.
Other Sri Lankan rulers whose military achievements stand out include King Gajabâhu (113 AD), who sailed to India to bring back his captured soldiers, and King Dhatusena (433) who is credited with repulsing numerous Indian invasions and for organising a naval build-up to deter seaborne attacks.