No wind serves him who addresses his voyage to no certain port.
— Michel de Montaigne, 1533 - 1592
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Sri Lanka

Background

Sri Lanka

The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C. probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced 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 established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The coastal areas of the island were controlled 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. 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 and the government regained control of the Eastern Province in 2007. In May 2009, the government announced that its military had finally defeated the remnants of the LTTE and that its leader, Velupillai PRABHAKARAN, had been killed.

About

Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is in Southern Asia. It is an island country in the Indian Ocean, south of India.

Read more about Sri Lanka in our Sri Lanka travel guide »

Featured journals from

Sri Lanka

The essence of travel is keeping a heart of darkness that no one can sense...The way of the PJ - lost in the rush to be digital tourists...or not?

by hagakure

How to hide in the white rush! Top ten tips for hiding and being seen! What is left for us all? Journeys to the East, do you Hesse? Who are you in the picture a caller or a sweeper, did you ask her?

Jul 2012 - Jun 1992  »  Sri Lanka | United States

Sri Lanka Nursing

by Beth97

My elective placement in Sri Lanka

Nov 2016 - Apr 2017  »  United Kingdom | Sri Lanka | United Arab Emirates

Featured hotels in

Sri Lanka

Sri LankaCasa Colombo Hotel 

231, Galle Road
Colombo 04
Sri Lanka

Price (US$): $266 - $267 / night

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Location. Casa Colombo Hotel is located in central Colombo, close to University of Colombo, Sinhalese Sports Club, and Sri Lanka National Museum. Nearby points of interest also include National Art Gallery and Colombo Town Hall. Hotel Features. Casa Colombo Hotel's restaurant serves dinner and drinks. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, an indoor pool, a spa tub,… more »

Sri LankaAMANWELLA 

Bodhi Mawatha
Wella Wathuara
Sri Lanka
Godellawela
Sri Lanka

Price (US$): $750 - $850 / night

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This is one of the most beautiful beach locations in the world. It was not peaceful in October with powerfull waves operating all day and night but combined with an empty crescent beach, palm groves, view of simple amanvillas on the hill and their tile roofs and local villagers chatting by the boats the Amanwellas location exceedes expectations and leaves a long lasting impression of a perfect place to which one would like to return every year. more »

Sri LankaHeritance Ahungalla 

Galle Road
Ahungalla 54041
Sri Lanka

Price (US$): $225 - $303 / night

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Location. Heritance Ahungalla is located on the beach in Ahungalla's South Sri Lanka Coast neighborhood and attractions in the region include Bentota Beach, Kande Vihare Temple, and Beruwela Harbour. Hotel Features. Dining options at Heritance Ahungalla include 2 restaurants. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves breakfast each morning in the restaurant (surcharges apply). Recreational amenities include a spa tub, a sauna, and a 24 hour fitness facility. The property's… more »

Sri LankaUlagalla Resorts 

Dambulla Anuradhapura Road
Thirappane
Anuradhapura
Sri Lanka

Price (US$): $378 - $972 / night

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Location. Ulagalla Resorts is located in Anuradhapura's Central Sri Lanka neighborhood. Resort Features. Ulagalla Resorts's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The resort serves a complimentary cooked to order breakfast each morning in the dining room. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a children's pool, a fitness facility, and complimentary bicycles. The property's full service health spa… more »

Sri LankaWeligama Bay Resort 

Matara Road
Pelena
Weligama 81700
Sri Lanka

Price (US$): $221 - $274 / night

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Location. Weligama Bay Resort is a beachfront luxury hotel located in Weligama's South Sri Lanka Coast neighborhood. Hotel Features. Weligama Bay Resort features a poolside bar and a bar/lounge. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves a complimentary continental breakfast. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool and a children's pool. The property's full service health spa has body treatments, massage/treatment rooms, and facials. Complimentary wireless and… more »

Browse more hotels in Sri Lanka »

Sri Lanka

Full name
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Capital
Colombo
Location

Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of India

Geographic coordinates

7 00 N, 81 00 E

Area comparative

slightly larger than West Virginia

Coastline

1,340 km

Climate

tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon (December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October)

Terrain

mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior

Lowest point

Indian Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Pidurutalagala 2,524 m

Natural resources

limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower

Population

21,513,990

Ethnic groups

Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)

Religions

Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)

Languages

Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%

Government type

republic

Independence

4 February 1948 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 4 February (1948)

Chief of state

President Mahinda Percy RAJAPAKSA (since 19 November 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; Dissanayake Mudiyanselage JAYARATNE holds the largely ceremonial title of prime minister (since 21 April 2010)

Head of government

President Mahinda Percy RAJAPAKSA (since 19 November 2005)

Internet country code

.lk

Internet users

1.777 million (2009)

Airports

18 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Colombo

Other countries in the region