The Battle of Mulleriyawa was a battle of the Sinhalese Portuguese War. It was one of the most decisive battles in Sri Lankan history. At the time, it was the worst ever defeat of a colonial power on eastern soil. Local chronicles say that the marshlands of Mulleriyawa turned red with blood after the annihilation of the Portuguese. By winning this battle, the Kingdom of Sitawaka emerged all-powerful, able to challenge the Portuguese who lost the opportunity to ensure their total control of the island.
`Rajasinha, hastened up in person and a powerful body of expert target-men, supported by elephants and cavalry and the bravest soldiers of Aturugiri Korale and Koratota, were hurled at the Portuguese. The great tract of low land lying between Mulleriyawa and Kaduwela, twelve miles from Colombo, was this day the scene of a terrible fight.
Rajasinha himself attacked the Portuguese in front, while the Koratota and Hewagama Arachchis took them in the rear. The carnage was terrible, but though the Sinhalese were mown down by the firearms of their opponents, they still pressed on reckless of life, clinging to the tails of the elephants in their efforts to get within striking distance of the enemy. In the thickest of the fight was to be seen Rajasinha on his horse, commanding, exhorting, encouraging his men by word and deed. The battle was like a show of fireworks and the smoke from the discharge of the muskets resembled mists in early Duruta. Blood flowed like water on the field of Mulleriyawa. The Portuguese were attacked in such wise that not one foot could they retire.
At last the Portuguese turned in flight. De Meneses seized the Banner of Christ which they were abandoning and tried to rally his men round it, but his voice was lost in the din of the battle. Rajasinha, perceiving that victory was in his grasp, pursued them vigorously as they fled across the field towards a narrow passage in the line of their retreat. This they found already occupied by the Sinhalese who had blocked the way by cutting down trees, and here as they laboured desperately to clear the road they were brought to a stand. The war elephants were now thundering down upon them, and one of the beasts rushed at de Meneses with uplifted trunk as he again tried to rally his men, but a fortunate shot turned it back and he had time to escape. The elephant Viradareya- the Mighty of Strength- hurled the Ensign Luis de Lacerda through the air and captured the Banner of Christ, but still the Portuguese fought on with teeth and nails, for their powder was now exhausted.
Their complete destruction seemed assured, when a soldier fired a berco which they were abandoning right into the midst of the men who crowded round the passage, with fearful effect. The Sinhalese opened out their ranks and gave the Portuguese an opportunity of reaching the river and getting on board the vessels which were waiting there. Only a demoralized and weary handful succeeded in reaching the camp, where de Meneses threw himself on the ground, cursing himself in the depths of his despair.`