Vedda people

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Vedda language, Sinhala, Tamil

Animism, Buddhism, Hindu

Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils

The Wanniyala-Aetto, or "forest people", more commonly known as Veddas or Veddahs (Sinhala වැද්දා [ˈvædːaː]), are an indigenous people of Sri Lanka, an island nation in the Indian Ocean; they were never numerous and are now few in number.

Contents

Roots

According to Early Man and the Rise of Civilisation in Sri Lanka: the Archaeological Evidence by S. U. Deraniyagala, by about 125,000 BP it is certain that there were prehistoric settlements in Sri Lanka . From as early as 18,000 BC a genetic continuum is shown with present-day Veddas.[2]

According to the genesis myth of the Sinhala "race"/people, recorded in the ancient chronicle of the Sinhalese royalty, the Mahavansa, the Pulindas also called Veddas are descended from Prince Vijaya (6th-5th century BC), the founding father of the Sinhalese nation, through Kuveni, a woman of the Yakkha clan whom he had espoused. The Mahavansa relates that following the repudiation of Kuveni by Vijaya, in favour of a "Kshatriya" princess from the "Pandya" country, their two children, a boy and a girl, departed to the region of "Sumanakuta" (Adam's Peak in the Ratnapura District), where they multiplied, giving rise to the Veddhas. Anthropologists such as the Seligmanns (The Veddhas 1911) believe the Veddhas to be identical with the "Yakkhas" of yore.

Veddas are also mentioned in Robert Knox's history of his captivity by the King of Kandy in the 17th century. Knox described them as "wild men," but also said there was a "tamer sort," and that the latter sometimes served in the king's army.[3]

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