The Sri Lanka Portal
Sri Lanka (, ; Sinhala: ශ්රී ලංකා Śrī Laṃkā; Tamil: இலங்கை Ilaṅkai), officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean southwest of the Bay of Bengal and southeast of the Arabian Sea. It is geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is its legislative capital, and Colombo is its largest city and centre of commerce.
Sri Lanka's documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of prehistoric human settlements dating back at least 125,000 years. It has a rich cultural heritage, and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, the Pāli Canon, date back to the Fourth Buddhist council in 29 BC. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to the modern Maritime Silk Road. Its location as a major trading hub made it known to both the far East as well as the European continent from as far back as the Anuradhapura period. The country's trade in luxury goods and spices attracted traders of many nations, creating Sri Lanka's diverse population. During a period of great political crisis the Portuguese, whose arrival in Sri Lanka was largely accidental, sought to control the island's maritime regions and its lucrative external trade. The Portuguese possessions were later taken over by the Dutch. The Dutch possessions were then taken by the British, who later extended their control over the whole island, colonising it from 1815 to 1948. Resistance to the British was immediate. A national movement for political independence arose in the early 20th century, and in 1948, Ceylon became a republic and adopted its current name in 1972. Sri Lanka's recent history has been marred by a 26-year civil war, which ended decisively when the Sri Lanka Armed Forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009.
Sri Lanka's current constitution stipulates it as a republic and unitary state governed by a semi-presidential system. It has had a long history of international engagement, as a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the G77, and the Non-Aligned Movement. Sri Lanka is rated "high" on the Human Development Index (HDI), with its HDI rating and per capita income the highest among South Asian nations. The Sri Lankan constitution accords Buddhism the "foremost place", and although it does not identify it as a state religion, Buddhism is given special privileges in the Sri Lankan constitution.
Sri Lanka is home to many cultures, languages and ethnicities. The majority of the population are from the Sinhalese ethnicity, while a large minority of Tamils have also played an influential role in the island's history. Moors, Burghers, Malays, Chinese, and the indigenous Vedda are also established groups.
Selected article -
The Coast Veddas (Tamil: கரையோர வேடர்கள், lit. 'Karaiyōra Vēṭarkaḷ', Sinhala: වෙරළේ වැද්දන්, lit. 'Veraḷē Væddan'), by self-designation, form a social group within the minority Sri Lankan Tamil ethnic group of the Eastern province of Sri Lanka. They are primarily found in small coastal villages from the eastern township of Trincomalee to Batticalao. Nevertheless, they also inhabit a few villages south of Batticalao as well. They make a living by fishing, slash and burn agriculture, paddy cultivation of rice, basket weaving for market and occasional wage labor. Anthropologists consider them to be partly descended from the indigenous Vedda people, as well as local Tamils. Residents of the Eastern province consider their Vedar (Tamil for "hunter") neighbors to have been part of the local social structure from earliest times, whereas some Vedar elders believe that their ancestors may have migrated from the interior at some time in the past.
They speak a dialect
of Sri Lankan Tamil
that is used in the region. During religious festivals, people who enter a trance
or spirit possession
sometimes use a mixed language that contains words from the Vedda language
. Most Vedar are Hindu Saivites
and worship a plethora of folk deities
, as well as the main Hindu deities such as Murugan
. They also maintain the ancestor worship
tradition of the interior Veddas. Clan divisions, if they still exist, do not play an important role in choosing of marriage partners or place of domicile. Most identify themselves as a caste
among the Tamils as opposed to a separate ethnic group. Their economic conditions have been impacted by the Sri Lankan civil war
. Read more...
The following are images from various Sri Lanka-related articles on Wikipedia.
A Buddhist statue in the ancient capital city of Polonnaruwa, 12th century
Tea plantation near Kandy
A Low Country drummer playing the traditional Yak Béra
The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, Colombo
A 17th-century engraving of Dutch explorer Joris van Spilbergen meeting with King Vimaladharmasuriya in 1602
The formal ceremony marking the start of self-rule, with the opening of the first parliament at Independence Square
Sri Lankan rice and curry
Sri Lanka's most widely known export, Ceylon tea, which ISO considers the cleanest tea in the world in terms of pesticide residues. Sri Lanka is also the world's 2nd largest exporter of tea.
Topographic map of Sri Lanka
Traditional Sri Lankan harvesting dance
British appointed Kandyan chiefs, 1905
Sri Lanka map of Köppen climate classification
Gilded bronze statue of the Bodhisattva Tara, from the Anuradhapura period, 8th century
Sri Lanka's population, (1871–2001)
Kandy women performing the Peacock Dance
Esala Perehera festival, around 1885
Sri Lanka aborigines vedda at work
Selected biography -
Photo credit:Bernard Gagnon
Church in Negombo where the majority is Roman Catholic.
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Anuradhapura Kingdom, Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera,
1971 JVP Insurrection (Sri Lanka), 1987–89 JVP Insurrection (Sri Lanka),
Trincomalee campus, University of Kelaniya, More...
Agriculture in Sri Lanka, Wildlife of Sri Lanka, Sri Lankabhimanya,
Sri Lanka Portal,
Sri Lankan Wikipedians,
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Wikipedias in Sri Lankan languages