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History of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s history dates back more than 2500 years and as a result contains a fascinating culture. It is an island that is home to ruins of ancient kingdoms and archaeological findings. These findings provide insights into a sophisticated ancient society that possessed advanced knowledge of science/technology, town planning/design and valued the aesthetic beauty of the arts. Sri Lanka has had many names in the past such as Thambapanni, Taprobane, Serendib and Ceylon. Many European nations still recognise Sri Lanka by the name of Ceylon.

During the 5th century B.C the Indo-Aryan migrated from India and formed what is known as the Sinhalese community (predominantly Buddhist). In the 3 rd century B.C the Tamil people migrated from the Southern Indian region were predominantly Hindus. Sinhalese and Tamils have ruled the country time to time where Tamils claiming the Northern section of the country and the Sinhalese acquiring the Southern part of the country.

Sri Lanka has had many kingdoms, the first being Anuradhapura, then Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Yapahuva, Kurunagala, Gampola, Kotte and Kandy. During the Kandy era the Portuguese invaded Sri Lanka and ruled the country between 1505 and 1658. Then the Dutch expelled the Portuguese and ruled Sri Lanka until 1796, before the powerful British took over from the Dutch. The British ruled the country between 1815 and 1948. On February 04, 1948 Sri Lanka gained full independence from Britain after pressure from Ceylonese Nationalist leaders (which briefly unified the Tamil and Sinhalese). Since 1948 Sri Lanka has been governed by many local Prime Ministers and Presidents.

As a result of these foreign influences and the rich ancient history, Sri Lanka’s is also an ideal destination for that enthusiastic traveller.

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