MAP – Sri Lanka

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Brief History of Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka is an island nation off the southern coast of India. It was once known as the country of Ceylon. The first inhabitants arrived around 500 BC.

Buddhism came to Sri Lanka in the mid-third century BC and had a large impact on the culture. The first great civilization to develop was at the city of Anuradhapura which ruled from 200 BC to 1000 AD. This was followed by Polonnaruwa until 1200. The island had contact over the years with many civilizations including the Romans and the Arabs.

In the 16th century the Portuguese arrived. They made settlements along the coast.The Dutch followed around 100 years later. In 1796 the British arrived and kicked out the Dutch. They made the island the British colony of Ceylon in 1815. The island was under British control until 1948 when Ceylon became an independent nation. Ceylon began to adopt communism and made ties to the Soviet Union, however in 1972 it adopted a new constitution and became a republic. This was when the name of the country changed to Sri Lanka.

Type of Government: republic

Languages which Spoken: Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%

Independence: 4 February 1948 (from UK)

Currency: Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)

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