Sri Lanka
current time and date
currency: Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)
Official languages
Life expectancy
Literacy rate
National anthem
Internet TLD & calling code:
Coat of arms
Sri Lanka profile
strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes
Sri Lanka history
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 formally 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, but the government regained control of the Eastern Province in 2007. By May 2009, the government announced that its military had defeated the remnants of the LTTE. Since the end of the conflict, the government has enacted an ambitious program of economic development projects, many of which are financed by loans from the Government of China. In addition to efforts to reconstruct its economy, the government has resettled more than 95% of those civilians who were displaced during the final phase of the conflict and released the vast majority of former LTTE combatants captured by Government Security Forces. At the same time, there has been little progress on more contentious and politically difficult issues such as reaching a political settlement with Tamil elected representatives and holding accountable those alleged to have been involved in human rights violations at the end of the war.
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Conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Conventional short form: Sri Lanka
Local long form: Shri Lanka Prajatantrika Samajavadi Janarajaya/Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu
Local short form: Shri Lanka/Ilankai
Formerly known as: Serendib, Ceylon
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Sri Lanka's capital city is Colombo
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Sri Lanka Constitution:
adopted 16 August 1978, certified 31 August 1978
amended many times, most recently in 2010
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Sri Lanka population growth rate: 0.913%
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Sri Lanka highest point: Pidurutalagala 2,524 m
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Sri Lanka lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
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About 14% of Sri Lanka's land is arable.
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Mahaweli River is the Longest River in Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka birth rate is 17 births/1,000 population
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Sri Lanka infant mortality rate is 9 deaths/1,000 live births
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Sri Lanka fertility rate is 2.15 children born/woman
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Sri Lanka climate:
tropical monsoon;
northeast monsoon (December to March);
southwest monsoon (June to October)
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Top 10 cities of Sri Lanka with populations (2012 est.) are:
1. Colombo: 685,246
2. Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia: 234,559
3. Moratuwa: 204,849
4. Negombo: 144,995
5. Trincomalee: 126,902
6. Kotte: 126,872
7. Kandy: 120,087
8. Vavuniya: 108,834
9. Kalmunai: 104,985
10. Galle: 97,807
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Sri Lanka ethnic groups:
Sinhalese - 73.8%
Sri Lankan Moors - 7.2%
Indian Tamil - 4.6%
Sri Lankan Tamil - 3.9%
other - 0.5%
unspecified - 10%
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Sri Lanka Exports:
textiles and apparel, tea and spices; rubber manufactures; precious stones; coconut products, fish
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Sri Lanka Imports:
petroleum, textiles, machinery and transportation equipment, building materials, mineral products, foodstuffs
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unicameral Parliament (225 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of an open-list, proportional representation system by electoral district to serve six-year terms)

Administrative Divisions:
9 provinces
1. Central
2. Eastern
3. North Central
4. Northern
5. North Western
6. Sabaragamuwa
7. Southern
8. Uva
9. Western
Political parties and leaders:
Coalitions and leaders:
Democratic National Alliance, led by General (Retired) Sarath FONSEKA
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) - Somawansa AMARASINGHE
Tamil National Alliance led by Illandai Tamil Arasu Kachchi - R. SAMPANTHAN
United National Front led by United National Party - Ranil WICKREMESINGHE
United People's Freedom Alliance led by Sri Lanka Freedom Party - Mahinda RAJAPAKSA