The following is a chronological overview of the history of the Karavas and Karaiyars caste of Sri Lanka and India. Both communities were historically also known as Kurukulam, meaning Kuru clan.
The caste systems in Sri Lanka are social stratification systems found among the ethnic groups of the island since ancient times. The models are similar to those found in Continental India, but are less extensive and important for various reasons, although the caste systems still play an important and at least symbolic role in religion and politics. Sri Lanka is often considered to be a casteless or caste-blind society by Indians.
Koneswaram Temple of Trincomalee or Thirukonamalai Konesar Temple – The Temple of the Thousand Pillars and Dakshina-Then Kailasam is a classical-medieval Hindu temple complex in Trincomalee, a Hindu religious pilgrimage centre in Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. The most sacred of the Pancha Ishwarams of Sri Lanka, it was built significantly during the ancient period on top of Konesar Malai, a promontory overlooking Trincomalee District, Gokarna bay and the Indian Ocean. The monument contains its main shrine to Shiva in the form Kona-Eiswara, shortened to Konesar.
The Jaffna Kingdom, also known as Kingdom of Aryachakravarti, was a historical kingdom of what today is northern Sri Lanka. It came into existence around the town of Jaffna on the Jaffna peninsula and was traditionally thought to have been established after the invasion of Kalinga Magha from Kalinga in India. Established as a powerful force in the north, northeast and west of the island, it eventually became a tribute-paying feudatory of the Pandyan Empire in modern South India in 1258, gaining independence when the last Pandyan ruler of Madurai was defeated and expelled in 1323 by Malik Kafur, the army general of the Delhi Sultanate. For a brief period in the early to mid-14th century it was an ascendant power in the island of Sri Lanka, to which all regional kingdoms accepted subordination. However, the kingdom was overpowered by the rival Kotte Kingdom around 1450 when it was invaded by Prince Sapumal under the orders of Parakramabahu VI.
Sri Lankan Tamils, also known as Ceylon Tamils or Eelam Tamils, are Tamils native to the South Asian island state of Sri Lanka. Today, they constitute a majority in the Northern Province, form the plurality in the Eastern Province and are in the minority throughout the rest of the country. 70% of Sri Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka live in the Northern and Eastern provinces.
Sri Lankan Mukkuvar is a Tamil speaking ethnic group found in the Western and Eastern coastal regions of Sri Lanka. They are primarily concentrated in the districts of Batticaloa, Ampara and Puttalam. They are also related to "Sri Lankan Moors". Sri Lankan Mukkuvars along with Eastern Muslims of Sri Lankan claim their origin from Kerala and matrilineal in practice. Recent studies show their habits and clan structure, as well as dialects, show affinity towards the Northern Kerala regions.
Karaiyar is a Sri Lankan Tamil caste found mainly on the northern and eastern coastal areas of Sri Lanka, and globally among the Tamil diaspora.
Karava is a Sinhalese speaking ethnic group of Sri Lanka, whose ancestors migrated throughout history from the Coromandel coast, claiming lineage to the Kaurava royalty of the old Kingdom of Kuru in Northern India. The Tamil equivalent is Karaiyar. Both groups are also known as the Kurukula.
Kayts, is one of the important small island off the coast of the Jaffna Peninsula in northern Sri Lanka. There are number of other villages within the Kayts Island such as Allaippiddi, Mankumpan, Velanai, Saravanai, Puliyankoodal, Suruvil, Naranthanai, Karampon and Melinchimunai.
The Mukkara Hatana is a 17th-century palm-leaf manuscript from Sri Lanka. Written in Sinhalese, the work celebrates the victory of the Karaiyars, also known as Karavas, over the Mukkuvars, who battled for the dominance of the western coast of Sri Lanka. The manuscript is now preserved in the Hugh Nevill collection at the British Museum.
Sri Lankan Vellalar is a caste in Sri Lanka, predominantly found in the Jaffna peninsula and adjacent Vanni region, who comprise about half of the Sri Lankan Tamil population. They were traditionally involved in agriculture, but also included merchants, landowners and temple patrons. They also form part of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora.
Vanniar or Vanniyar was a title borne by chiefs in medieval Sri Lanka who ruled in the Chiefdom of Vavuni regions as tribute payers to the Jaffna vassal state. There are a number of origin theories for the feudal chiefs, coming from an indigenous formation. The most famous of the Vavni chieftains was Pandara Vannian, known for his resistance against the British colonial power.
The Vanni chieftaincies or Vanni principalities was a region between Anuradhapura and Jaffna, but also extending to along the eastern coast to Panama and Yala, during the Transitional and Kandyan periods of Sri Lanka. The heavily forested land was a collection of chieftaincies of principalities that were a collective buffer zone between the Jaffna Kingdom, in the north of Sri Lanka, and the Sinhalese kingdoms in the south. Traditionally the forest regions were ruled by Vedda rulers. Later on, the emergence of these chieftaincies was a direct result of the breakdown of central authority and the collapse of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa in the 13th century, as well as the establishment of the Jaffna Kingdom in the Jaffna Peninsula. Control of this area was taken over by dispossessed Sinhalese nobles and chiefs of the South Indian military of Māgha of Kalinga (1215–1236), whose 1215 invasion of Polonnaruwa led to the kingdom's downfall. Sinhalese chieftaincies would lay on the northern border of the Sinhalese kingdom while the Tamil chieftaincies would border the Jaffna Kingdom and the remoter areas of the eastern coast, north western coast outside of the control of either kingdom.
Migapulle Arachchi also known as Chinna Migapillai, was a feudal lord from the Jaffna Kingdom who became a rebel leader just after its annexation by the Portuguese Empire in 1619. His title Arachchi, is a title given to the commanders of Lascarins or native military forces.
The Portuguese conquest of the Jaffna Kingdom occurred after Portuguese traders arrived at the rival Kotte Kingdom in the southwest of modern Sri Lanka in 1505. Many kings of Jaffna, such as Cankili I, initially confronted the Portuguese in their attempts at converting the locals to Roman Catholicism, but eventually made peace with them.
Karunakara Tondaiman was a general of Chola Emperor Kulottunga I. He is renowned for leading the Chola invasion of Kalinga during the reign of Kulottunga I and is the hero of Jayamkondar's poem Kalinkkattuparani In the Parani poem he is referred to as the lord of Vandai. while in the Draksharamam inscription of Kulottunga I, he is called as Vanduvaraja and Pallavaraja. He also served as a minister under Kulothunga Chola's son and successor, Vikrama Chola.
Kudiramalai is a cape and ancient port town on the west coast of Sri Lanka.
When to date the start of the history of the Jaffna kingdom is debated among historians.
Manthai is a coastal town and an ancient harbor situated in the Mannar district, of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Manthai functioned as the main port of the Anuradhapura Kingdom throughout its history.
Gurunagar is a coastal village in Jaffna city in northern Sri Lanka. Gurunagar is also known as Karaiyur.
Varunakulattan was a 17th-century feudal lord and military commander from the Jaffna Kingdom. He led a rebellion as the military commander of Thanjavur Nayak against the Portuguese in their conquest of the Jaffna kingdom in 1619. Although the nominal king was Cankili II, Varunakulattan was described as the king of Karaiyars, and wield the real power in the Jaffna Peninsula.