It was in 1638 that the Dutch attacked in earnest, and not until 1656 that Colombo fell. By 1660 the Dutch controlled the whole island except the kingdom of Kandy. The Dutch persecuted the Catholics but left the Buddhists, Hindus and Moslems alone. However, they taxed the people far more heavily than the Portuguese had done. A mixed Dutch-Sinhalese people known as Burgher peoples are the legacy of Dutch rule.
In 1659, the British sea captain Robert Knox landed by chance on Sri Lanka and was captured by the king of Kandy. He escaped 19 years later and wrote an account of his stay. This helped to bring the island to the attention of the British.