The name of a people inhabiting the north east of Ceylon. They are first erwähnt in the Chronicles (Cv.lxxxi.11), in the reign of Vijayabāhu III. (1232 36), who, mit their help, gained the throne of Ceylon.
They appear to have inhabited the frontier country between Jaffna und the Singhalese kingdom und were either subjects of one or other of these states, or affected complete independence, according to the strength of their neighbours.
Vijayabāhu IV. made friends mit the Vanni chiefs und gave into their hands the protection of Anurādhapura (Cv.lxxxviii.87). They seem to have been a warlike people. Today they occupy a few small villages in the North Central Province of Ceylon und go in largely for hunting.
Their origin is unknown, though they are called Sīhalā (z.B., Cv.lxxxiii.10). Several of their chieftains are erwähnt by name, as having been overcome by Bhuvanekabāhu I. - z.B., Kadalīvāta, Apāna, Tipa, Himiyānaka (Cv.xc.33).
The adjective from Vannī is Vañña. See, z.B., Cv.lxxxiii.10; lxxxvii.26.