Sri Lanka

island country in South Asia
(Redirected from Sinhalese people)

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (ශ්‍රී ලංකා in Sinhala, இலங்கை in Tamil) is a tropical island nation off the southeast coast of the Indian subcontinent. The capital of the country is Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte while the largest city is Colombo. Sri Lanka shares a sea boundary with the Maldives in the south-west part and India in the north-west.

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
  • ශ්‍රී ලංකා ප්‍රජාතාන්ත්‍රික සමාජවාදී ජනරජය (Sinhala)
  • இலங்கை சனநாயக சோசலிசக் குடியரசு (Tamil)
  • Sinhala:Śrī Laṅkā Prajātāntrika Samājavādī Janarajaya
    Tamil:Ilaṅkai Jaṉanāyaka Sōsalisak Kuṭiyarasu
Emblem of Sri Lanka
Anthem: "Sri Lanka Matha"
(English: "Mother Sri Lanka")
Location of Sri Lanka
CapitalSri Jayawardenepura Kotte (legislative)[1]
Colombo (executive and judicial)[2]
6°56′N 79°52′E / 6.933°N 79.867°E / 6.933; 79.867
Largest cityColombo
Official languagesSinhala
Recognised languagesEnglish
Ethnic groups
74.9% Sinhalese
11.2% Sri Lankan Tamils
9.2% Sri Lankan Moors
4.2% Indian Tamils
0.5% Others (incl. Burghers, Malays, Veddas, Chinese,
70.2% Buddhism (official)[5]
12.6% Hinduism
9.7% Islam
7.4% Christianity
0.1% Other/None
Demonym(s)Sri Lankan
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional republic
• President
Ranil Wickremesinghe
Dinesh Gunawardena
Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena[6]
Jayantha Jayasuriya
• Dominion
4 February 1948
• Republic
22 May 1972
7 September 1978
• Total
65,610 km2 (25,330 sq mi) (120th)
• Water (%)
• 2019 estimate
Increase21,803,000[7] (58th)
• 2012 census
• Density
327/km2 (846.9/sq mi) (43rd)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
Increase$321.856 billion[9] (58th)
• Per capita
Increase$14,509[9] (91st)
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
Increase$92.111 billion[9] (65th)
• Per capita
Increase$4,152[9] (109th)
Gini (2016)39.8[10]
HDI (2019)Increase 0.782[11]
high · 72nd
CurrencySri Lankan rupee (Rs) (LKR)
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (SLST)
Date format
  • dd-mm-yyyy
  • yyyy-mm-dd
Driving sideleft
Calling code+94
ISO 3166 codeLK
Internet TLD

It was known as Ceylon before 1972, and Serendib and Sinhale, among other names, before that. It was South Asia's oldest democracy.

Ethnic make-up


Sri Lanka has three main ethnic groups. They differ in their religions and origins, and there has often been difficulties between the groups. The total population of the island is over 20 million people, and rapidly expanding.

The largest of the three groups is the population of Sinhalese people. Most of them are Buddhist. Their language is Sinhala. They make up about 75% of the population.

The second largest group is the Tamil people. They are mostly Hindu and most live in the north. There are about 2,271,000 Tamils in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Civil War against Tamil separatists lasted 28 years.

The third largest group is the Sri Lankan Moors. They are Muslim. There are over one and a half million people in this group. They use Tamil as their language today.

Other than these three main groups, there are burghers (descendants of colonial ancestors), Malays and Chinese.

In areas such as Dabana, Mahiyangaya ; lives the indigenous group called 'veddas' who are said to descend from Kuweni and Vijaya's son 'Jeewahaththa'.



Buddhist missionaries arrived from India in 250 BC during the time period of King Devanampiyatissa. The kings of the island, and eventually most of the Sinhalese people, became Buddhists. Legend has it that Buddha visited the island three times.

The island was subject to waves of European settlement and eventually colonisation. The Portuguese in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries, and lastly the British from 1796 to 1948. The British traded as the others had done, but also developed plantations of coffee and tea. Tea was planted after a fungus destroyed the coffee plantations in 1869. The tea plantations were the basis of Sri Lankan prosperity for a hundred years. Lastly, rubber plantations were started in the early 20th century. In 1965, Ceylon became the world's leading exporter of tea, with 200,000 tonnes of tea being shipped internationally annually.[12]

Independence from the British was got in 1948, together with Dominion status in the British Commonwealth of Nations. In 1972, Ceylon changed its name officially to the Republic of Sri Lanka, and is still a member of the Commonwealth.[13]

In 2009 came the end of a long Sri Lankan Civil War between Sinhalese and Tamils. In the 2010s, tourism rapidly grew as a source of foreign investment and currency. An economic crisis in the early 2020s led to political violence.

National symbols of Sri Lanka


The Sri Lanka flag is also known as the Lion flag because of the Lion on it. The Lion is holding a sword in its right paw. There is a crimson background with four leaves in each corner. There is a yellow border. On the left of the flag, there are the colors green and saffron.

The lion represents bravery. The four leaves represent Karuna, Meththa, Muditha and Upeksha. The orange stripe represents the Sri Lankan Tamils and the green stripe represents the Sri Lankan Moors.



Sri Lanka has 9 provinces.



  1. "Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  2. "Colombo". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  3. "Department of Official Languages". Archived from the original on 2016-09-06. Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  4. "South Asia: Sri Lanka". CIA. 8 March 2022.
  5. "Ashik v Bandula And Others (Noise Pollution Case)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 March 2020. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  6. "Hon. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena elected as the New Speaker". Parliament of Sri Lanka. 20 August 2020. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  7. "Mid-year population projection" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 November 2017. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  8. "Census of Population and Housing 2011 Enumeration Stage February–March 2012" (PDF). Department of Census and Statistics – Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 December 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2019". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  10. "Gini Index". World Bank.
  11. Human Development Report 2020 The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 15 December 2020. pp. 343–346. ISBN 978-92-1-126442-5. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  12. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2015-01-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. Dominion of Ceylon: definition of Dominion of Ceylon in the Free Online Encyclopedia. [1]

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