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World > Asia > Sri Lanka

   flag of Sri Lanka
   Sri Lanka

Introduction:
The Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C. probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced beginning in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty seized power in the north and established a Tamil kingdom. Occupied by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century, the island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in 1983. Tens of thousands have died in the ethnic conflict that continues to fester. After two decades of fighting, the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) formalized a cease-fire in February 2002 with Norway brokering peace negotiations. Violence between the LTTE and government forces intensified in 2006, but neither side has formally withdrawn from the cease-fire.


Official name: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Capital: name: Colombo
geographic coordinates: 6 56 N, 79 51 E
time difference: UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital)
Government type: republic
Population: 20,926,315
note: since the outbreak of hostilities between the government and armed Tamil separatists in the mid-1980s, several hundred thousand Tamil civilians have fled the island and more than 200,000 Tamils have sought refuge in the West (July 2007 est.)
Languages: Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%
note: English is commonly used in government and is spoken competently by about 10% of the population
Official Currency: Sri Lanka Rupee (LKR)

Current Sri Lanka Rupee Exchange Rates
Historical Sri Lanka Rupee Exchange Rates
Chart Sri Lanka Rupee Exchange Rates
Currency code: LKR
Area: total: 65,610 sq km
land: 64,740 sq km
water: 870 sq km
Climate: tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon (December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October)


Map of Sri Lanka
map of Sri Lanka


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Sri Lanka Rupee Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Sri Lanka Rupee Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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