The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent.

An island nation in South Asia, it was until 1972 known as Ceylon. Sri Lanka is surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar, the Palk Strait and lies in the vicinity of India and Maldives. Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state which is governed by a semi-presidential system with its official seat of government in Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte, the capital. As a result of its location in the path of major sea routes, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia. It has also been a center of the Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times and is one of the few remaining abodes of Buddhism in South Asia along with Ladakh, Bhutan and the Chittagong hill tractsThe Sinhalese community forms the majority of the population; Tamils, who are concentrated in the north and east of the island, form the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include Moors, Burghers, Kaffirs, Malays and the aboriginal Vedda people. The country is famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, coconuts, rubber and cinnamon, the latter which is native to the country. The natural beauty Sri Lanka has led to the title The Pearl of the Indian Ocean, it is full of lush tropical forests, white beaches and diverse landscape throughout along with a rich biodiversity. The country lays claim to a long and colorful history of over three thousand years, having one of the longest documented histories in the world. Sri Lanka's rich culture can be attributed to the many different communities in the island. Sri Lanka is a founding member state of SAARC and a member United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, G77 and Non-Aligned Movement. Name In ancient times, Sri Lanka was known by a variety of names: ancient Greek geographers called it Taprobane and Arabs referred to it as Serendib (the origin of the word "serendipity"). Ceilão was the name given to Sri Lanka by the Portuguese when they arrived in 1505, which was transliterated into English as Ceylon. As a British crown colony, the island was known as Ceylon, and achieved independence under the name Dominion of Ceylon in 1948. In Sinhala the country is known as ශ‍ර ලංකා śrī laṃkā, IPA: [ʃɾiːˈlaŋkaː], and the island itself as ලංකාව laṃkāva, IPA: [laŋˈkaːʋə]. In Tamil they are both இலஙைக ilaṅkai, IPA: [iˈlaŋɡai]. The name derives from the Sanskrit शी लंका śrī (venerable) and lankā (island), the name of the island in the ancient Indian epics Mahabharata and the Ramayana. In 1972, the official name of the country was changed to "Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka". In 1978 it was changed to the "Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka". The name Ceylon is still in use in the names of a number of organisations; in 2011, the Sri Lankan government announced a plan to rename all of those for which it is responsible.

Geography and climate

Topographic map of Sri Lanka. The island of Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean, to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal. It lies between latitudes 5° and 10°N, and longitudes 79° and 82°E. Sri Lanka is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. According to Hindu mythology, a land bridge to the Indian mainland, known as Rama's Bridge, was constructed during the time of Rama by the vanara architect Nala. Often referred to as Adam's Bridge, it now amounts to only a chain of limestone shoals remaining above sea level. According to colonial British reports, this is a natural causeway which was formerly complete, but was breached by a violent storm in 1480. The island consists mostly of flat-to-rolling coastal plains, with mountains rising only in the south-central part. Amongst these is the highest point Pidurutalagala, reaching 2,524 metres (8,281 ft) above sea level. The climate of Sri Lanka can be described as tropical and warm. Its position between 5 and 10 north latitude endows the country with a warm climate moderated by ocean winds and considerable moisture. The mean temperature ranges from about 16 °C (60.8 °F) in the Central Highlands, where frost may occur for several days in the winter, to a maximum of approximately 33 °C (91.4 °F) in other low-altitude areas. The average yearly temperature ranges from 28 °C (82.4 °F) to nearly 31 °C (87.8 °F). Day and night temperatures may vary by 4 °C (7.20 °F) to 7 °C (12.60 °F). During the coldest days of January, many people wear coats and sweaters in the highlands and elsewhere. May, the hottest period, precedes the summer monsoon rains. The rainfall pattern is influenced by monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal: as the winds encounter the mountain slopes of the Central Highlands, they unload heavy rains on the slopes and the southwestern areas of the island. Some of the windward slopes receive up to 2,500 millimetres (98.4 in) of rain each month, but the leeward slopes in the east and northeast receive little rain.

200 mm (47 in) and 1. The arid northwest and southeast coasts receive the least amount of rain at 600 mm (24 in) to 1. Flora and fauna Horton Plains National Park represents Sri Lanka mountain rain forests Sri Lanka hosts several wild elephants herds.900 km2 . The mountains and the southwestern part of the country. rising to almost 90% during the monsoon season in June. and spoonbills. the dominant vegetation of the lowlands is a tropical evergreen forest. and eastern parts of the island. and the Wilpattu National Park in the northwest preserves the habitats of many water birds. ironwood. northeast. Anuradhapura experiences a daytime low of 60% during the monsoon month of March. broad foliage. which receives between 1. Humidity is typically higher in the southwest and mountainous areas and depends on the seasonal patterns of rainfall. bringing moisture from the Bay of Bengal. receive ample rainfall at an average of 2.500 mm (98 in). Much of the rain in these areas falls from October to January. known as the "wet zone". and a dense undergrowth of vines and creepers. Between December and March. and places like Colombo experience daytime humidity above 70% all year round. In the wet zone. deer. ibis. Kandy's daytime humidity usually ranges between 70% and 79%.Periodic squalls occur and sometimes tropical cyclones bring overcast skies and rains to the southwest. Varieties of flowering acacias are well adapted to the arid conditions and flourish on the Jaffna Peninsula. monsoon winds come from the northeast. are some valuable species such as satinwood. Subtropical evergreen forests resembling those of temperate climates flourish in the higher altitudes. mahogany and teak. During the Mahaweli Ganga Program of the 1970s and 1980s in northern Sri Lanka. the government set aside four areas of land totalling 1. but a high of 79% during the November and December rains. Forests at one time covered nearly the entire island. and peacocks. southeast. In the highlands. pelicans. Most of the east. ebony. and northern parts of the country comprise the "dry zone". during the rest of the year there is very little precipitation.900 mm (75 in) of rain annually.200 mm (47 in) per year. such as storks. The Yala National Park in the southeast protects herds of elephant. with tall trees. but by the late 20th century lands classified as forests and forest reserves covered around ⅓ of the land. Among the trees of the dry-land forests.

which was exported to Egypt as early as 1400 BCE. Anthropologists believe that some discovered burial rites and certain decorative artefacts exhibit similarities between the first inhabitants of the island and the early inhabitants of Southern India. . One of the first written references to the island is found in the Indian epic Ramayana. was the ancient seaport of Tarshish from which King Solomon is said to have drawn ivory. Sri Lanka was also the first Asian nation to have a female ruler in Queen Anula (47–42 BC). Ancient Sri Lanka was also the first in the world to have established a dedicated hospital in Mihintale in the 4th century BCE. also known as Veddahs and numbering roughly 3. and Sinharaja. which was created by the divine sculptor Vishwakarma for Kubera.(730 sq mi) as national parks. important for conserving water in a climate that alternates rainy seasons with dry times. Bundala. the so-called "Fortress in the Sky". The national flower of Sri Lanka is the Nymphaea stellata (Sinhalese Nil Mahanel). the national tree is the Ironwood (Sinhalese Na). Paleolithic human settlements have been discovered at excavations in several cave sites in the Western Plains region and the South-western face of the Central Hills region. Ancient Sri Lanka was also the world's leading exporter of cinnamon.000. Among the latter are large "tanks" or reservoirs. which is endemic to the country. some with a slope as finely calibrated as one inch to the mile. and the national bird is the Sri Lanka Junglefowl. a southern city in Sri Lanka. The earliest-known inhabitants of the island now known as Sri Lanka were probably the ancestors of the Wanniyala-Aetto people. History Pre-historic Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Linguistic analysis has found a correlation of the Sinhalese language with the languages of the Sindh and Gujarat. and huge public works. English historian James Emerson Tennent also theorised Galle. the Kanneliya-Dediyagala-Nakiyadeniya. although most historians believe that the Sinhala community emerged well after the assimilation of various ethnic groups. The main written accounts of the country's history are the Buddhist chronicles of Mahavansa and Dipavamsa. The island has four biosphere reserves. Hurulu Forest Reserve. and elaborate aqueducts. peacocks and other valuables. the treasurer of the Gods. From the ancient period date some remarkable archaeological sites including the ruins of Sigiriya. which described the emperor Ravana as monarch of the powerful kingdom of Lanka.

Ancient Sri Lanka A Buddhist statue in the ancient capital city Polonnaruwa. who is believed to have been the son of Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. who embraced the faith and propagated it throughout the Sinhalese population. . brought by Bhikkhu Mahinda. and was increasingly frequented by merchant ships from the Middle East. Thailand. most notably of the Sinha royal dynasties that lasted over 2000 years. the Chera dynasty and the Pallava dynasty. Burma. Buddhism arrived from India in the 3rd century BCE. Since ancient times Sri Lanka was ruled by monarchs. The island was invaded by South Indian kingdoms on a few occasions and parts of the island were ruled briefly by the Chola dynasty. The Buddhist kingdoms of Sri Lanka would maintain a large number of Buddhist schools and monasteries. and support the propagation of Buddhism into Southeast Asia. There had been incursions by the kingdoms of Kalinga (modern Orissa) and some from the Malay Peninsula. the Pandya dynasty. Persia. circa 1200AD. Mahinda's mission won over the Sinhalese monarch Devanampiyatissa of Mihintale. Colonial era Colonial Coat of arms of British Ceylon Sri Lanka had always been an important port and trading post in the ancient world.

Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. A Portuguese colonial mission arrived on the island in 1505 headed by Lourenço de Almeida. Buddhist scholars and the Teetotalist Movement also played a vital role in this time. The city of Colombo was developed as the administrative centre and commercial heart with its harbor. Although much of the coastal regions of the island came under the domain of European powers. coffee. At that point the island consisted of three kingdoms. The island enjoyed good relations with the United Kingdom and had the . The British East India Company took over the coastal regions island controlled by the Dutch in 1796. Kotte at the Western coast. unified the island under British rule. Don Stephen Senanayake being the first prime minister. in 1802 these provinces were declaring a crown colony under direct rule of the British government. sugar. and Yarlpanam (Anglicised Jaffna) in the north. During World War II. A large segment of the British and American fleet were deployed on the island. The islands were known to the first European explorers of South Asia and settled by many groups of Arab and Malay merchants. popular pressure for independence intensified. The Dutch arrived in the 17th century. On 4 February 1948 the country gained its independence as the Dominion of Ceylon. European colonists established a series of cinnamon. as were tens of thousands of soldiers committed to the war against Japan in Southeast Asia. when the youth leagues opposed the "Ministers' Memorandum. therefore the island was not part of the British Raj. and the British established modern schools. There was a plan to transport them to Ceylon by submarine. namely Kandy in the central hills.Malaysia. Independence The formal ceremony marking the start of self rule. mistreatment and abuse of natives by colonial authorities gave rise to a struggle for independence in the 1930s. colleges. with the opening of the first parliament at Independence Square. Majority of Ceylonese forget the war as part of British Commonwealth Forces. the son of Francisco de Almeida." which asked the colonial authority to increase the powers of the board of ministers without granting popular representation or civil freedoms. The British also brought a large number of indentured workers from Tamil Nadu to work in the plantation economy. The annexation of the Kingdom of Kandy in 1815 by the Kandyan convention. and some Ceylonese expatriates in the Far east joined to form a Lanka Regiment in the Indian National Army. Following the war. to lead a liberation struggle there. but this was aborted. indigo cultivation followed by tea and rubber plantations and graphite mining. the island served as an important Allied military base. roads and churches that brought Western-style education and culture to the native people. the interior. hilly region of the island remained independent. with its capital in Kandy. The office of Prime Minister of Ceylon was created in advance of independence on 14 October 1947. Increasing grievances over the denial of civil rights.

in response to this deliberate marginalisation. Government and politics . to the exclusion of Hindu and Islam.British Royal Navy stationed at Trincomalee until 1956. Both the Sri Lankan government and LTTE have been accused of various human rights violations. as the sole official language of Sri Lanka. However in 1971. An attempt to make Buddhism the national religion. On 21 July 1960 Sirimavo Bandaranaike took office as prime minister. and it is seen by many Tamil as a symbol of their marginalization In 1956. During her second term as prime minister. following the death of Velupillai Prabhakaran and much of the LTTE's other senior leadership. to the Sinhalese majority. The immediate (and intended) consequence of this act was to force large numbers of Tamil who worked in the civil service. her government instituted socialist economic polices and strengthened ties with the USSR and later China. with the adaptation of a new constitution. was also made. and who could not meet this language requirement. The final stages of the war left some 300. to resign. the government of Sri Lanka called for redevelopment of the nation. came to believe that they deserved a separate nation-state for themselves. the country became a republic changing its name to Sri Lanka and remained a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Ceylon experienced a Marxist insurrection. Supporters of the law saw it as an attempt by a community that had just gained independence to distance themselves from their colonial masters. the Official Language Act (commonly referred to as The Sinhala Only Act) was enacted. ostensibly to reverse colonial discrimination against Sinhalese in favour of Tamil. is a symbol of their fight against British colonialism. With Solomon Bandaranaike elected as prime minister. Ceylon began moving towards links with the communist bloc. One single strip of orange on the left part of the flag represents the Tamil population. Post War With the end of the war. 214. which was quickly suppressed with international support. Many Tamil [who?].000 people displaced. which. On 19 May 2009. In 1972. The lion in the national flag is derived from the banner of the last Sinhalese Kingdom. The law mandated Sinhala. Affirmative action in favour of Sinhalese was also instituted.227 IDPs (74%) had been released or returned to their places of origin. the President of Sri Lanka officially claimed an end to the insurgency and the defeat of the LTTE. while promoting a policy of non-alignment. there was an on-and-off civil war against the government by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). the Sinhalese majority attempted to remodel Sri Lanka as a Sinhalese nation-state. Civil war One of the aspects of the independence movement was that it was very much a Sinhalese movement. the language of Sri Lanka's majority Sinhalese community. As a result. From 1983 to 2009. and became the world's first female prime minister and the first female head of government in post-colonial Asia. which is spoken by over 70% of Sri Lanka's population. By 2 May 2010. a separatist militant organisation who fought to create an independent state named Tamil Eelam in the North and East of the island.

The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. is Mahinda Rajapaksa. and is popularly elected for a six-year term. Members of parliament are elected by universal (adult) suffrage based on a modified proportional representation system by district to a six-year term. The Constitution of Sri Lanka establishes a democratic. the Colombo Plan. took office on 21 April 2010. Jayaratne. The parliament reserves the power to make all laws. the President is responsible to the Parliament of Sri Lanka. In the exercise of duties. Current politics in Sri Lanka are controlled by rival coalitions led by the left-wing Sri Lanka Freedom Party. During 1971 and 1989 the army assisted the police in government response against the Marxist militants of the JVP and fought the LTTE from 1983 to 2009. It is also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. the party that receives the largest number of valid votes in each constituency gains a unique "bonus seat. M. The military of Sri Lanka comprises the Sri Lankan Army. the comparatively right-wing United National Party led by former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Through the Cold Warera. The President of Sri Lanka is the head of state. which is also a unitary state. which is a unicameral 225-member legislature. suspend. the Sri Lankan Navy and the Sri Lankan Air Force. Sri Lanka has been a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations. Colombo. . There are also many smaller Buddhist. or end a legislative session and dissolve Parliament any time after it has served for one year. who took office on 21 November 2005. socialist and Tamil nationalist political parties that oppose the separatism of the LTTE but demand regional autonomy and increased civil rights. The government is a mixture of the presidential system and the parliamentary system." The president may summon. Since 1948. The President appoints and heads a cabinet of ministers composed of elected members of parliament. the commander in chief of the armed forces. The President's deputy is the Prime Minister. as well as head of government. The primary modification is that. Sri Lanka followed a foreign policy of non-alignment but has remained closer to the United States and Western Europe. On 1 July 1960 the people of Sri Lanka appointed the first-ever female head of government in Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Sri Lanka has enjoyed democracy with universal suffrage since 1931. Sri Lanka receives considerable military assistance from Pakistan and China. These are administered by the Ministry of Defence. mainly in domestic affairs. who leads the ruling party in parliament and shares many executive responsibilities. Her daughter Chandrika Kumaratunga served for a short period as the prime minister between August and December 1994 before being elected as the first female president of the country from 1994 to 2005 for 2 consecutive terms. D. headed by President Rajapaksa. and has been elected for two consecutive terms. socialist republic in Sri Lanka. The current president. The current prime minister.

Administrative divisions Bay of Bengal Palk Strait Northern Province Gulf of Mannar North Central Province North Western Province Eastern Province Central Province Uva Province Western Province Sabaragamuwa Province Southern Province Indian Ocean Provinces The Provinces of Sri Lanka (Sinhala: පළාත Tamil: மாகாணம) have existed since the 19th century but they didn't have any legal status until 1987 when the 13th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka established provincial councils following several decades of increasing demand for a decentralisation of the Government of Sri Lanka.71 1. Sri Lanka is divided into 9 provinces and 25 districts. Between 1988 and 2006 the Northern and Eastern provinces were temporarily merged to form the North-East Province. Prior to 1987. all administration was handled by a district-based civil service which had been in place since colonial times.966 Eastern Trincomalee 9.674 2.939 North Central Anuradhapu 10.664 . Each province is administered by a directly elected provincial council: Administrative Divisions of Sri Lanka Area Populatio province Capital (km²) n Central Kandy 5.460.104.423.996 1.

the korales and ratas. The districts are further subdivided into divisional secretariats. They were formerly known as 'D.361.488 1. who is known as District Secretary.R. which is elected. and are known as a 'D.331 5.812 2.177.A.O.R.S.278. and these in turn to Grama Niladharis. administers a district. notably Matale and Uva.S. the Divisions are administered by a 'Divisional Secretary'. Divisions' after the 'Divisional Revenue Officer'.Northern North Western Sabaragamu wa Southern Uva Western Districts ra Jaffna 4 8. Divisions'. Currently. Each district is administered under a District Secretariat. The Districts are known in Sinhala as Disa and in Tamil as Maawaddam.884 1. Divisions'.271 8. දසත‍රකකය Tamil: மாவட்டம).559 2. The Government Agent.892 Ratnapura Galle Badulla Colombo 4.709 5. Divisions are also administered by a 'Pradeshiya Sabha' and 'Pradesha Sabhai' (Sinhala and Tamil for 'Regional Council').G.169.801.358 3. Later the D. These were originally based on the feudal counties. Cities Cities by population Provin Populati Ran City ce on k Wester 682 046 11 Galle n 12 Batticaloa 13 Katunayake Ran k 1 2 3 4 5 Kandy 6 7 Trincomal ee 8 9 City Colombo Colombo DehiwalaWester Mount 232 220 n Lavinia Moratuw Wester 202 021 a n Wester Negombo 142 451 n Trincomal Eastern 131 954 ee Wester Kotte 125 914 n Kandy Central 119 186 Provin Populati ce on Souther 97 209 n view · talk · edit Eastern 95 489 90 231 84 200 75 290 74 129 74 117 71 879 70 273 66 951 Galle Jaffna Kotte Wester n Battaramull Wester 14 a n 15 Dambulla 16 Dalugama Maharagam 17 a 18 Kotikawatta Chavakachc heri Anuradhapu 20 ra 19 Central Wester n Wester n Wester n Norther n North Central Kalmunai Eastern 103 879 Vavuniya Norther 101 143 n Norther 98 193 n 10 Jaffna .O.s became 'Assistant Government Agents' and the Divisions were known as 'A. Rural D.902 1.200 The provinces of Sri Lanka are divided into 25 districts (Sinhala: දසත‍ර‌ක‌ක sing.776 Kurunegala 7.311. Originally a Disa (usually rendered into English as Dissavony) was a duchy.

Members of the Burgher community speak variant forms of Portuguese Creole and Dutch with varying proficiency.9% of the total population. and is widely used for education. Tamils are concentrated in the North. Religions .49 deaths per 1. There are also small ethnic groups such as the Burghers (of mixed European descent) and Malays from Southeast Asia. especially in and around the capital. with an annual population growth rate of 0. are called "Indian Origin" Tamils. while members of the Malay community speak a form of creole Malay that is unique to the island. Central and Western provinces of the country. East. There is a significant population (8. According to 2001 census data Indian Tamils makeup 5. Language Sinhalese and Tamil are the two official languages of Sri Lanka. There is a small population on the island of the Vedda people. nearly 50% of whom were repatriated following independence in 1948. The World Factbook states that Sri Lankan Tamils make up 14% of the population. scientific and commercial purposes.3% but this figure only accounted for Sri Lankan Tamils in governmentcontrolled areas.79%. Indian Tamils who were brought as indentured labourers from India by British colonists to work on estate plantations. The Sinhalese people form the largest ethnic group in the nation. Sri Lanka has a birth rate of 15. They are distinguished from the native Tamil population that has resided in Sri Lanka since ancient times. composing approximately 81. Sri Lankan Tamils are the second major ethnic group on the island and have called it home for generations. Sri Lankan Tamils 4. Population density is highest in western Sri Lanka. who trace their lineage to Arab traders and immigrants from the Middle East. They are believed to be the original indigenous group to inhabit the island.63 births per 1.1% of the Sri Lankan population and.000 people. Their presence is concentrated in the cities and the central and eastern provinces. not accounting for those in rebel-held territories.2009 estimation Demographics Population growth in Sri Lanka Sri Lanka is the 53rd most populated nation in the world.0%) of Moors.000 people and a death rate of 6. English is fluently spoken by approximately 10% of the population.

Buddhism constitutes the religious faith of about 70% of the population of the island. having previously been preserved as an oral tradition. the Sri Lankan monastic lineage was revived through contact with Thailand and Burma. Sri Lanka has the longest continuous history of Buddhism of any predominately Buddhist nation. Jaffna is an important place for Hinduism in Sri Lanka. During periods of decline. the son of the Emperor Ashoka. Sri Lanka religiosity religion Buddhism Hinduism Islam Christianity Source: David. Periods of Mahayana influence. most of whom follow the Theravada school of Buddhism. 1993 percent         69% 15% 8% 8% . According to traditional Sri Lankan chronicles. Buddhism was introduced into Sri Lanka in the 2nd century BCE by Venerable Mahinda. most Hindus are Tamil and they constitute a majority in Northern Sri Lanka. The Pali Canon (Thripitakaya). Sri Lanka has a multi ethnic and multi religious population. During this time.Temple of the Tooth is the focal point of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. as well as official neglect under colonial rule. a sapling of the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment was brought to Sri Lanka and the first monasteries were established under the sponsorship of the Sri Lankan king. was first committed to writing in Sri Lanka around 30 BCE. with the Sangha having existed in a largely unbroken lineage since its introduction in the 2nd century BCE. Hinduism the second most prevalent religion in Sri Lanka and it also arrived from India. created great challenges for Theravada Buddhist institutions in Sri Lanka. but repeated revivals and resurgences—most recently in the 19th century—have kept the Theravada tradition alive for over 2000 years. Today. The Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil. during the reign of Sri Lanka's King Devanampiyatissa.

All religious communities are represented in the western province and in other urban centres in sizeable numbers. particularly at the United Nations. the World Bank. There are many Buddhist temples spread throughout the island in addition to numerous mosques. It also is a member of the Commonwealth. Other famous Parsi families in Sri Lanka include the Captain family and the Pestongee family. Religion plays an important part in the life and culture of Sri Lankans. . once per month according to the Lunar calendar. Buddhists are distributed across most parts of the island except in the north. and the religion has been adopted by around six percent of the population. having been brought to the island by Arab traders over the course of many centuries. with 99% of Sri Lankans saying religion is an important part of their daily life. Hindu temples and churches. few remain. and the Colombo Plan. independence. particularly Roman Catholics are mainly concentrated along the western coastal belt. while also stressing the importance it places on regionalism by playing a strong role in SAARC. The former finance minister of Sri Lanka. east. International Monetary Fund.Religions which today exist in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist majority observe Poya Days. Hindus are concentrated in north. and development in the developing world. European colonists introduced Christianity to the country in the 16th century. Sri Lanka was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). most are Sunni who follow the Shafi'i school. Asian Development Bank. Foreign relations and military Foreign relations Sri Lanka traditionally follows a nonaligned foreign policy but has been seeking closer relations with the United States since December 1977. where it seeks to promote sovereignty. As a result of emigration. in addition to Buddhism and Hinduism include Islam as well as different churches of Christianity. and central high lands. Christians. There also was a small population of Zoroastrian immigrants from India (Parsis) who settled in Ceylon during the period of British rule. It participates in multilateral diplomacy. was a Parsi. yet they have played a significant role in the growth of the country. Sri Lanka was ranked the 3rd most religious country in the world by a 2008 Gallup poll. Nariman Choksy. the SAARC. Hinduism was primarily established in Sri Lanka by migrants and often invaders from southern India. Hindus constitute just over 7 percent of the population. The Hindus and Muslims also observe their own holidays. Followers of Islam comprise nearly eight percent of the population. though high populations also exists in the capital city of Colombo and in the surrounding suburbs. Muslims are concentrated in several pockets along the coast and in theinterior. Sri Lanka continues its active participation in the NAM. especially in areas where respective communities are concentrated. mostly of the Shaivite school.

Sri Lanka contributed with forces in international missions organised by the United Nations. The total strength of the three services is around 230. Peace keeping Even though its armed forces were then engaged in an internal conflict. comprising the Sri Lanka Army. Sri Lanka does not use a military draft. On 21 October 2009 another group of two hundred Sri Lankan troops including nine officers from all three branches of the armed forces were added to the current deployment in a passing-out parade. this was a low intensity conflict which progressed into a bloody conflict which included elements of conventional warfare as well as classic guerrilla and asymmetric warfare. due to three major insurgencies. which are the Special Task Force. Since 2002 the Sri Lankan armed forces have also taken part in several peace keeping missions with the UN. ended by a military outcome with a comprehensively defeat of the LTTE May 2009. Economy . halted several times briefly by failed peace overtures. comes under the purview of the Ministry of Defence (MoD). China).Military Sri Lanka Air Force IAI Kfir fighter aircraft The Sri Lanka Armed Forces. In support of the armed forces there are three paramilitary units functioning under purview of the Ministry of Defence.000-100. including a 30 year long conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam which was proscribed as a terrorist organisation by 32 countries. with pitch battles taking place in land and at sea. Unique in modern military history. the primary focus of the armed forces has been on internal security. later briefly moving to the air and unprecedented use of suicide attacks by a violent nonstate actor.000 active personnel. it resulted in the deaths of 80.000 people. the Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Air Force. the Civil Security Force and the Sri Lanka Coast Guard Since independence from Britain in 1948. In a rare occurrence in modern history the conflict that had 30 years of constant fighting. notably the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti and continue to contribute their forces to the United Nations. the conflict itself did not result in any territorial or constitutional changes. Due to this conflict the armed forces had expanded to its current size and where in a continuous mobilized state for the last 30 years. Although it drew in other regional countries into the conflict directly (India) or indirectly (Pakistan. The two hundred troops are scheduled to leave for Haiti on 8 November 2009.

and today Sri Lanka has the highest per capita income in South Asia.3%. While the production and export of tea. and continuing civil strife. while textiles and garments have reached 63%. slow growth and lack of foreign investment From 1977 the UNP government began incorporating privatisation. The development of modern ports under British rule raised the strategic importance of the island as a centre of trade. the plantation economy aggravated poverty and economic inequality.The Colombo World Trade Center in Colombo.8% in 1996. During World War II. About 14% of the population live on less than US$ 1. While the standard of living and literacy improved significantly. In the 19th and 20th centuries. sugar and other agricultural commodities remains important. Sri Lanka's most widely known export. industries were nationalised and a welfare state established. and further declined to 16. The year of 2001 saw the first recession in the country's history. the nation's economy suffered from inefficiency. until a drought and a deteriorating security situation lowered growth to 3. The economy rebounded in 1997–2000. rubber and Ceylon tea.25 per day. textiles. the global slowdown. . budgetary problems. From 1948 to 1977 socialism strongly influenced the government's economic policies. Since the separatist war ended in May 2009 the Sri Lankan stock market has shown marked gains to be among the 3 best performing markets in the world. Sri Lanka became a plantation economy. the island hosted important military installations and Allied forces. The GDP grew at an average annual rate of 5. as a result of power shortages.8% in 2005 (compared with 93% in 1970). famous for its production and export of cinnamon. telecommunications and finance. However. coffee. deregulation and the promotion of private enterprise. Colonial plantations were dismantled. with average growth of 5. By 1996 plantation crops made up only 20% of export. Ceylon tea. rubber. The Colombo Stock Exchange reported the highest growth in the world for 2003. the nation has moved steadily towards an industrialised economy with the development of food processing.5% during the early 1990s. which remains a trademark national export. Signs of recovery appeared after the 2002 ceasefire which died away following the beginning of war.

In April 2004. Education University of Colombo . but this was disrupted with the reemergence of the civil war resulting in increased lawlessness in the country and a sharp decline in tourism.972. New York Times has placed Sri Lanka Number 1 in 31 places to go in 2010. Its main theme to support the rural and suburban SMEs and protect the domestic economy from external influences. Health Life expectancy was 69 for males and 76 for females in 2006.9 physicians per 100. particularly the South and East coast. and embarked on a subsidy program called the Rata Perata economic program. The economy was briefly buoyed by an influx of foreign aid and tourists. Government expenditure on health care was aprox. The Médecins Sans Frontières are active in Sri Lanka. with an income per head of US$1. while inflation reached 20%. such as oil prices. the economy was estimated to have grown by 7% last year. Also the end of war has ensured the rule of law in the whole of the island. were devastated by the 2004 Asian Tsunami. there was a sharp reversal in economic policy after the government headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe of the United National Party was defeated by a coalition made up of Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the leftist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna called the United People's Freedom Alliance. But following the end of the 3 decade long separatist war in May 2009 tourism has seen a steep uptick. Recently. The new government stopped the privatisation of state enterprises and reforms of state utilities such as power and petroleum. Parts of Sri Lanka. the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. According to the Sri Lankan central bank statistics. US$ 105 (PPP) in 2006.000 people. Its economy grew by an average of 5% during the 1990s during the 'War for Peace' era. Sri Lanka. still lags behind some of its neighbours including Maldives but is ahead of its giant neighbour India. Sri Lanka has about 48.

which provide specialised education in a variety of fields. with 99% of the children entering the first grade. but a number of private schools do exist. These schools are modelled on British colleges. Many of the schools offer subjects in Sinhala and Tamil languages with regionally leading schools offering subjects in English medium also. the University of Jaffna. the University of Kelaniya. the University of Ruhuna. the University of Peradeniya. However in the 1980s changers to this system saw the separation the of administration of schools between the central government and the provincial government. The free education system ensures that primary to tertiary education is provided free of charge to its citizens.Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology With a literacy rate of 92%. such as computer science. A majority of them are public. An education system which dictates 9 years of Compulsory Schooling for every child is in place. W. However the lack of space in these institutions and the unwillingness to establish private universities has led to a large number of students been denied entry into formal universities as well as high undergraduate unemployment. W. In recent decades. As a result. Sri Lanka has one of the most literate populations amongst developing nations. the Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka and the Wayamba University of Sri Lanka. In these schools General Certificate of Secondary Education. These include the government owned Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology and the Institute of Technological Studies. In 1942 a special education committee proposed extensive reforms to establish an efficient and quality education system for the people. Transport . They include the University of Colombo. the Eastern University of Sri Lanka. conducted by the Department of Examinations. a large number of international schools have been established across the nation. Thus the elite National Schools are controlled directly by the Ministry of Education and the provincial schools by the provincial government. a former minister of education. Kannangara. the University of Moratuwa. Students sit for the GCE Ordinary Level Examination (O/Levels) in grade 11 and the GCE Advanced Level Examination (A/levels) in grade 13. a number of public and private institutions have emerged. business administration and law. has greatly contributed to this. International Baccalaureate and Cambridge International Examinations are popular education programs. Most schools in Sri Lanka provide education from grades 1 to 13 in the same institution. rural provincial schools tend to be coeducational. A free education system initiated in 1945 by Dr. While most reputed National and Private Schools centred around large cities are usually single-sex institutions. Dr. Kannangara led the establishment of the Madhya Maha Vidyalayas (Central Schools) in different parts of the country in order to provide education to Sri Lanka's rural population. C. and 83% of the total population having had Secondary Education. Sri Lanka has around 16 public universities. the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

A second international airport is under construction in Mattala. abductions and armed clashes created a climate of fear in the east. The Bandaranaike International Airport. In its 2007 report. spreading to the north by the end of the year". The government has launched several highway projects to bolster the economy and national transport system. however. handling over 4. 22 kilometres (14 mi) north of Colombo. child recruitment. Both the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government of Sri Lanka are accused of violating human rights. the Colombo-Kandy (Kadugannawa) Expressway. SriLankan Airlines is the official national carrier. domestic arm of the national carrier. with a vast majority of them being paved. There are also plans to build a major bridge connecting Jaffna to the Indian city of Chennai. Amnesty International stated that "escalating political killings. There are twelve paved airports and two unpaved airstrips in the country. It was voted the best airline in South Asia by Skytrax. The total length of Sri Lankan roads exceeds 11. shallower harbour at Kankesanturai. linking Colombo with Kandy. The human rights situation in Sri Lanka has come under criticism by human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The first railway line was inaugurated on 26 April 1867. Human rights Human rights as ratified by the United Nations are guaranteed by the constitution of Sri Lanka. The Ceylon Transport Board is the state-run agency responsible for operating public bus services across the island. while Expo Aviation and Lankair are private airline companies. as well as the United States Department of State and the European Union. .840 mi). partly owned and operated by Emirates Airline. whilst also outlining concerns with violence against women. is located in Katunayaka. in the south of the island.000 kilometres (6. However. It has three deep-water ports at Colombo.GM EMD G12 . The new Port of Hambantota is currently under construction. north of Jaffna. and due to begin operations in November 2010.ALBERTA diesel locomotive used for transportation Most Sri Lankan cities and towns are connected by the Sri Lanka Railways. have expressed concern about the state of human rights in Sri Lanka. the Colombo-Padeniya Expressway and the Outer Circular Highway to ease Colombo's traffic congestion. the report also stated that the ceasefire between government and LTTE remained in place despite numerous violations. including the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway.1 million TEUs annually. SriLankan Air Taxi is the smaller. Trincomalee and Galle. Sri Lanka also maintains 430 kilometres (270 mi) of inland waterways. the state-run national railway operator. currently the country's only international airport. There is also a smaller. The Port of Colombo is the largest port in Sri Lanka. the death penalty and "numerous reports of torture in police custody".

However. and lately Sri Lanka. Until recently. Hindu Devotess engaing in 'Kavadi' at a Vavuniya temple. the Sri Lankan minister for HR said "We regret one or two statements made here. Traditional food . But economic growth and intense economic competition in developed countries has spilled over to most of Sri Lanka. westernisation or a loss of identity and assimilation. has experienced a dramatic makeover in the western mould. engaged in traditional crafts and expressed themselves through traditional arts. have eaten traditional food. particularly in the urban areas. producing changes that might variously be identified as progress. The island is the home of two main traditional cultures: the Sinhalese (centred in the ancient cities of Kandy and Anuradhapura) and the Tamil (centred in the city of Jaffna). In more recent times a British colonial culture was added. that fly in the face of all concrete evidence. innuendo and vituperative exaggerations. for example. the report presents a distorted view of the actual situation in Sri Lanka during the year 2007 and is a litany of unsubstantiated allegations. with far-less damage to civilians. certainly those in the villages. most Sri Lankans. than in any comparative situation. that the situation in Sri Lanka is deteriorating." Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said. when we have dealt more firmly with terrorism. Culture and arts The Buddha statue at Mihintale.

Esala Perahera (A-suh-luh peh-ruh-ha-ruh) is the grand festival of Esala held in Sri Lanka. accompanied by eggs. such as Nidhanaya. Afterwards there were many Sinhalese movies produced in Sri Lanka and some of them. it has become a unique symbol of Sri Lanka. His latest film. jaggery.Traditional dish of Kiribath with lunumiris Sri Lankans have added western influences to the customary diet such as rice and curry. The elephant is paraded around the city bearing the tooth of Buddha. . pittu (mixture of fresh rice meal. While Dutch and Portuguese influences are found with the island's Burgher community preserving their culture through traditional favourites such as Lamprais (rice cooked in stock and baked in a banana leaf). Festivals Elephants at the Esala Perahera Every year on or about 13 April Sinhala and Tamil people celebrate Sinhalese and Tamil New Year Festival. kollywood of Indian cinema. Many films are in the Sinhalese language and the Sri Lankan cinematic style is similar to bollywood. kottu. milk or savouries. Happening in July or August in Kandy. batter cooked rapidly in a hot curved pan. The festival ends with the traditional 'diyakepeema'. very lightly roasted and mixed with fresh grated coconut. Kiribath (cooked in thick coconut cream for this unsweetened ricepudding which is accompanied by a sharp chili relish called "lunumiris"). love stories and the years of conflict between the military and Tamil Tiger rebels. Breudher (Dutch Christmas cake) and Bolo Fiado (Portuguese-style layer cake). The first film to be produced and shown in Sri Lanka was Kadawunu Poronduwa (The Broken Promise) which was released in 1947. It is very grand with elegant costumes. Cinema Sri Lankan cinema in past years has featured subjects such as family relationships. It is a Buddhist festival consisting of dances and richly decorated elephants. and various spices including cinnamon cloves and nutmeg). The first colour film of Sri Lanka was Ranmuthu Duwa. Kandian dances and various other cultural dances. There are fire-dances. The most influential filmmaker in the history of Sri Lankan cinema is Lester James Peiris who has directed many movies of excellent quality which led to global acclaim. cashew nuts. and hoppers ("appa"). The elephants are usually adorned with lavish garments. However the new year for tamils have been established as being on 14 January from this year. Middle Eastern influences and practices are found in traditional Moor dishes. wattalapam (rich pudding of Malay origin made of coconut milk. Wekande Walauwa ("Mansion by the Lake") became the first movie to be submitted from Sri Lanka for the Best Foreign Language film award at the Academy Awards. and Muslims celebrate Ramadan. received several international film awards. eggs. then steamed in a bamboo mould). whip-dances.

Controversial filmmaker Asoka Handagama's films are considered by many in the Sri Lankan film world to be the best films of honest response to the ethnic conflict raged in the country for many years. Jothipala. Nurthi. D. Tamil language movies are also filmed in Sri Lanka but they are part of Kollywood which is Indian Tamil cinema. Indian music in films greatly influenced Sri Lankan music and later Sri Lankan stars like Sunil Shantha found greater popularity among Indian people. was released through Radio Ceylon. a large number of private radio stations have also being introduced. Europe and the United States are also widely popular.S. 'Samanala thatu'. It is also known as Sri Lankan Tamil cinema in Sri Lanka. Radio Ceylon had more Indian listeners than Sri Lankan ones. Sri Lankan Literature Sports . In 1903 the first music album. Initially all Television stations were state controlled. and cable and satellite television is gaining in popularity with Sri Lanka's middleclass. with its programming reaching neighbouring Asian nations. Annesley Malewana and Clarence Wijewardene did great work. Broadcast television was introduced to the country in 1979 when the Independent Television Network was launched. A very popular type of music is the so-called Baila. M. at the Cannes Film Festival for his Sinhalese language film Sulanga Enu Pinisa (The Forsaken Land). Lankadeepa and Lakbima in Sinhalese and the Tamil publications Dinakaran and Uthayan. Also Vernon Corea introduced Sri Lankan music in the English Service of Radio Ceylon. Divayina. and they have gained commercial popularity and success. Radio Ceylon is the oldest-running radio station in Asia. It was established in 1923 by Edward Harper just three years after broadcasting was launched in Europe. However some Kollywood films are based in Sri Lanka as well. Southeast Asia. The station is managed by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and broadcasts services in Sinhalese. English and Hindi. Prasanna Vithanage is one of Sri Lanka's most notable filmmakers. It remains one of the most popular stations in Asia. Media The national radio station radio. but private television networks began broadcasts in 1992. H. both local and international. Global television networks from India. The notable songwriters Mahagama Sekara and Ananda Samarakoon made a Sri Lankan music revolution. Music The earliest music came from the theatre at a time when the traditional open-air drama (referred to in Sinhala as Kolam. Sokari and Nadagam). Fernando. and 'Hiripoda wessa' have attracted Sri Lankans to cinemas. Tamil. Sri Lankan films are usually in the Sinhalese language. Amaradeva. In the early 1960s. His films have won many awards. By 1963. Recent releases like 'Sooriya Arana'. Since the 1980s.R. At the peak of this revolution. or any award for that matter. Milton Mallawarachchi. musicians such as W. Popular publications include the English language Daily Mirror and The Sunday Observer and The Sunday Times.In 2005 the director Vimukthi Jayasundara became the first Sri Lankan to win the prestigious Camera d’Or award for Best First Film. a kind of dance music that originated from Portuguese music introduced to the island in colonial times.

1997. The country cohosted the 1996 Cricket World Cup with India and Pakistan. March 2001. and has hosted the Asia Cup tournament on numerous occasions. football (soccer) and tennis. Cheena di and Angampora. athletics. The Sri Lanka national cricket team achieved considerable success beginning in the 1990s. surfing. swimming and scuba diving on the coast. 2004 and 2008.A Test match between Sri Lanka and England at the SCC Ground. the beaches and backwaters attract a large number of Sri Lankans and foreign tourists. Sri Lankan cricket team reached the finals of the 2007 Cricket World Cup. competing on provincial and national levels. Rugby union also enjoys extensive popularity. Aquatic sports such as boating. by far the most popular sport in the country is cricket. It will also co-host the 2011 Cricket World Cup. the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium. . The national cricket team of Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup in 1986. Sri Lanka has a large number of sports stadiums. the R. Sri Lanka's schools and colleges regularly organise sports and athletics teams. rising from underdog status to winning the 1996 Cricket World Cup. While the national sport in Sri Lanka is volleyball. where they lost to Australia. Colombo. as do as do aquatic sports. Premadasa Stadium and the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium in Dambulla as well as the Galle International Stadium. There are two styles of martial arts native to Sri Lanka. including the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground.

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