William Gopallawa

Sri Lankan President (1897-1981)

William Gopallawa (17 September 1897 - 31 January 1981) was the first President of Sri Lanka. He was the General of the Ceylon Army during independence from the United Kingdom. Before he was president, he was the general of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) fighting against the British. Gopallawa and his army were successful in the fight and Gopallawa was sworned in as the 1st President of Sri Lanka. After his presidency, the next president was J. R. Jayewardene. Gopallawa was the last General of Ceylon until its Independence in 1948. Before that, Gopallawa was the general of Sri Lanka going against the United Kingdom against Queen Elizabeth II. She was known as the Queen of Ceylon. The British set up roads to improvements but placed harsh laws against Ceylon. Gopallawa went against Queen Elizabeth II and was successful. By there changing their name from "Ceylon" to "Sri Lanka".

William Gopallawa
BornSeptember 17, 1897
Matale, Sri Lanka
DiedJanuary 31, 1981
Colombo, Sri Lanka
OccupationPresident of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), General of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka)
Spouse(s)Seelawathie Gopallawa

He represented an era where politics was conducted with a dignified aura and he had a reputation as being a man of integrity and humility. He served as Governor-General during the tenure of different governments headed by the SLFP led regime of Sirimavo Bandaranaike and the UNP led regime of Dudley Senanayake. He upheld the law and the constitution to the letter and won respect and admiration of all political parties. William Gopallawa was born on 17 September 1897 at the Dullewe Maha Walauwa, Dullewe in the Matale District of Ceylon. He is related to Dullewe Dissava, a signatory on behalf of the Sinhalese to the Kandiyan Convention of 1815