About Sri Lanka


Flag of Sri Lanka

Emblem of Sri Lanka

Capitals: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo

Currency: Sri Lankan rupee

National anthem: Sri Lanka Matha

Population: 20.33 million (2012) World Bank

Official languages: Sinhala Language, Tamil Language

Overview

Sri Lanka officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in the northern Indian Ocean off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent in South Asia; known until 1972 as Ceylon. Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest.

Sri Lanka has a documented history that spans over 3000 years. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to World War II. Sri Lanka is a diverse country, home to many religions, ethnicities and languages. It is the land of the Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils, Moors, Indian Tamils, Burghers, Malays, Kaffirs and the aboriginal Vedda.Sri Lanka has a rich Buddhist heritage, and the first known Buddhist writings were composed on the island. The country's recent history has been marred by a thirty-year civil war which decisively but controversially ended in a military victory in 2009.

Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state governed by a presidential system. The capital, Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte, is a suburb of the largest city, Colombo. An important producer of tea, coffee, gemstones, coconuts, rubber, and the native cinnamon,Sri Lanka is known as "the Pearl of the Indian Ocean" because of its natural beauty, its shape and location, and "the nation of smiling people".The island contains tropical forests and diverse landscapes with high biodiversity

(REF : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lanka)


History

The history of Sri Lanka begins around 30,000 years ago when the island was first inhabited. Chronicles, including the Mahawansa, the Dipavamsa, the Culavamsa and the Rajaveliya, record events from the beginnings of the Sinhalese monarchy in the 6th century BC; through the arrival of European Colonialists in the 16th century; and to the disestablishment of the monarchy in 1815. Some mentions of the country are found in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Lankavatara Sutra Mahayana Buddhism texts of Gautama Buddha's teachings. Buddhism was introduced in the 3rd century BC by Arhath Mahinda (son of the Indian emperor Ashoka the Great)

From the 16th century, some coastal areas of the country were ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. Sri Lanka was ruled by 181 Kings and Queens from the Anuradhapura to Kandy periods. After 1815 the entire nation was under British colonial rule and armed uprisings against the British took place in the 1818 Uva Rebellion and the 1848 Matale Rebellion. Independence was finally granted in 1948 but the country remained a Dominion of the British Empire.

In 1972 Sri Lanka assumed the status of a Republic. A constitution was introduced in 1978 which made the Executive President the head of state. The Sri Lankan Civil War began in 1983, including an armed youth uprising in 1987–1989, with the 25 year-long civil war ending in 2009.

(REF : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lanka)


Geography

Sri Lanka lies on the Indian tectonic plate, a minor plate within the Indo-Australian Plate.It is in the Indian Ocean southwest of the Bay of Bengal, 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 Palk Strait. According to Hindu mythology, a land bridge existed between the Indian mainland and Sri Lanka. It now amounts to only a chain of limestone shoals remaining above sea level. It was reportedly passable on foot up to 1480 AD, until cyclones deepened the channel.

The island consists mostly of flat to rolling coastal plains, with mountains rising only in the south-central part. The highest point is Pidurutalagala, reaching 2,524 metres (8,281 ft) above sea level. The climate is tropical and warm, due to the moderating effects of ocean winds. Mean temperature ranges from 17 °C (62.6 °F) in the central highlands, where frost may occur for several days in the winter, to a maximum of 33 °C (91.4 °F) in other low-altitude areas. Average yearly temperature ranges from 28 °C (82.4 °F) to nearly 31 °C (87.8 °F). Day and night temperatures may vary by 14 °C (25.2 °F) to 18 °C (32.4 °F).

Rainfall pattern is influenced by monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. The "wet zone" and some of the windward slopes of the central highlands 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. Most of the east, southeast, and northern parts of the country comprise the "dry zone", which receives between 1,200 mm (47 in) and 1,900 mm (75 in) of rain annually.The arid northwest and southeast coasts receive the least amount of rain at 800 mm (31 in) to 1,200 mm (47 in) per year. Periodic squalls occur and sometimes tropical cyclones bring overcast skies and rains to the southwest, northeast, and eastern parts of the island. Humidity is typically higher in the southwest and mountainous areas and depends on the seasonal patterns of rainfall.

(REF : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lanka)


Politics

Sri Lanka is the oldest democracy in South Asia.The Donoughmore Constitution, drafted by the Donoughmore Commission in 1931, enabled general elections with adult universal suffrage (universal adult franchise) in the country.It was the first time a non-white country within the empires of Western Europe which was given one man, one vote and the power to control domestic affairs. The first election under the universal adult franchise, held in June 1931, was for the Ceylon State Council. Sir D. B. Jayatilaka was elected as Leader of the House.In 1944, the Soulbury Commission was appointed to draft a new constitution. During this time, struggle for independence was fought on "constitutionalist" lines under the leadership of D. S. Senanayake.The draft constitution was enacted in the same year, and Senanayake was appointed Prime Minister following the parliamentary election in 1947. The Soulbury constitution ushered in Dominion status and granted independence to Sri Lanka in 1948.

Current politics in Sri Lanka is a contest between two rival coalitions led by the centre-leftist and progressivist United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), an offspring of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), and the comparatively right-wing and pro-capitalist United National Party (UNP).Sri Lanka is essentially a multi-party democracy with many smaller Buddhist, socialist and Tamil nationalist political parties. As of July 2011, the number of registered political parties in the country is 67.Of these, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), established in 1935, is the oldest.The UNP, established by D. S. Senanayake in 1946, was until recently the largest single political party .It is the only political group which had representation in all parliaments since independence.SLFP was founded by S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, who was the Cabinet minister of Local Administration before he left the UNP in July 1951.SLFP registered its first victory in 1956, defeating the ruling UNP in 1956 Parliamentary election.Following the parliamentary election in July 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the prime minister and the world's first elected female head of state.

(REF : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lanka)


Culture

The culture of Sri Lanka has been influenced by many factors, but has managed to retain much of its ancient aspects. Mostly it has been influenced by its long history and its Buddhist heritage. The country has a rich artistic tradition, embracing the fine arts, including music, dance, and visual arts. The Sri Lankan lifestyle is reflected in the cuisine, festivals, and sports. South Indian influences are visible in many aspects. There is also some influences from colonization by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British. Sri Lankan culture is best known abroad for its cricket, food, holistic medicine, religious icons like the Buddhist flag, and cultural exports such as tea, cinnamon and gems. Sri Lankan culture is diverse, as it varies from region to region.Sri Lanka has had ties with Indian subcontinent from ancient times.Demographics: Sinhalese 74.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 9.23%, Indian Tamil 4.16%, Sri Lankan Tamil 11.21%, Other 0.6%.

(REF : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lanka)