Sri Lanka (officially, The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka) (i //, //, or //; Template:Lang-si, Tamil: இலங்கை) is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon ( //, //, or //), Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the Maldives. It is part of South Asia.
As a result of its location in the path of major sea routes, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia. It was an important stop on the ancient Silk Road. Sri Lanka has also been a center of the Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times and is one of the few remaining abodes of Buddhism in South Asia along with Ladakh, Bhutan and the Chittagong hill tracts. The Sinhalese community forms the majority of the population; Tamils, who are concentrated in the north and east of the island, form the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include Moors, Burghers, Kaffirs, Malays and the aboriginal Vedda people.
Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state which is governed by a semi-presidential system with its official seat of government in Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte, the capital. The country is famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, coconuts, rubber and cinnamon, the last of which is native to the country. The natural beauty of Sri Lanka has led to the title The Pearl of the Indian Ocean. The island is laden with lush tropical forests, white beaches and diverse landscapes with rich biodiversity. The country lays claim to a long and colorful history of over three thousand years, having one of the longest documented histories in the world. Sri Lanka's rich culture can be attributed to the many different communities on the island.
Sri Lanka is a founding member state of SAARC and a member United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, G77 and Non-Aligned Movement. As of 2010, Sri Lanka was one of the fastest growing economies of the world. Its stock exchange was Asia's best performing stock market during 2009 and 2010.
In ancient times, Sri Lanka was known by a variety of names: Known in India as Lanka or Singhala, ancient Greek geographers called it Taprobane ( //) and Arabs referred to it as Serendib (the origin of the word "serendipity"). Ceilão was the name given to Sri Lanka by the Portuguese when they arrived in 1505, which was transliterated into English as Ceylon. As a British crown colony, the island was known as Ceylon, and achieved independence under the name Dominion of Ceylon in 1948.
In Sinhala the country is known as ශ්රී ලංකා śrī laṃkā, Template:IPA-si, and the island itself as ලංකාව laṃkāva, Template:IPA-si. In Tamil they are both இலங்கை ilaṅkai, IPA: [iˈlaŋɡai]. The name derives from the Sanskrit श्री लंका śrī (venerable) and lankā (island), the name of the island in the ancient Indian epics Mahabharata and the Ramayana. In 1972, the official name of the country was changed to "Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka". In 1978 it was changed to the "Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka". The name Ceylon is still in use in the names of a number of organisations; in 2011, the Sri Lankan government announced a plan to rename all of those for which it is responsible.
Pre-historic Sri LankaEdit
The Prehistory of Sri Lanka dates back to about 125,000 years Before Present (BP) and possibly even as early as 500,000 BP. It covers the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and early Iron ages. Anthropologists believe that some burial rites and certain decorative artefacts discovered by the excavations in Sri Lanka exhibit similarities between the first inhabitants of the island and the early inhabitants of Southern India. Among the most important Paleolithic (Homo Erectus) human settlements discovered in Sri Lanka are, Pahiyangala (named after the Chinese monk Faxian, who visited the cave in the 5th century), which dates back to 37,000 BP, Batadombalena, which dates back to 28,500 BP and Belilena, 12,000 BP. One of the most important archaeological findings from these caves is the Balangoda Man, who first appeared in Sri Lanka about 34,000 BP.
One of the first written references to the island is found in the Indian epic Ramayana, which describes the kingdom of Lanka had been created by the divine sculptor named Vishwakarma, for Kubera, the lord of wealth and the god-king of the semi-divine Yakshas. Later, Kubera was overthrown by his demon stepbrother Ravana, the powerful Emperor who built a mythical flying machiene named Dandu Monara. The modern city of Wariyapola is described as Ravana's airport.
Template:Contains Indic text Historical records show that the earliest settlements were formed by the combination of four Hela tribes named Naga, Yaksha, Deva and Gandhabba. They all were related to the Maha Rishi Pulasthi’s family, described in Ramayana. These earliest-known inhabitants of Sri Lanka were probably the ancestors of the Vedda people people, an indigenous community living in present-day Sri Lanka, that numbers approximately 3,000. Irish historian James Emerson Tennent theorised Galle, a southern city in Sri Lanka, was the ancient seaport of Tarshish from which King Solomon is said to have drawn ivory, peacocks and other valuables. Early inhabitats of Sri Lanka spoke the Elu language, which was the early form of modern Sinhala language.
Ancient Sri LankaEdit
According to the Mahavamsa, a chronicle written in the Pali language, the ancient period of Sri Lanka begins in 543 BC. It is marked by the landing of Vijaya, a semi-legendary king who arrived in the country with 700 followers. After consolidating the power, he established the Kingdom of Tambapanni, near modern day Mannar. Vijaya is the first of the approximately 189 native monarchs of Sri Lanka, described in various chronicles like Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa, Chulavamsa and Rajaveliya. (see List of Sri Lankan monarchs) Sri Lankan dynasty spanned over a period of 2359 years, from 543 BC to 1815 AD, until it came under rule of British Empire.
The Kingdom of Sri Lanka moved to Anuradhapura in 380 BC, during the reign of King Pandukabhaya. Since then, Anuradhapura served as the capital of the country for nearly 1400 years. Pandukabhaya built the first irrigation scheme in ancient Sri Lanka, the Abhaya tank. Ancient Sri Lankans excelled in various constructions such as tanks, dagobas and palaces. The Sri Lankan society was revolutionized during the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa, with the arrival of Buddhism from India. Around 3rd century BC, Bhikkhu Mahinda, who is believed to have been the son of the great Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, arrived in Mihintale, in a mission to spread Buddhism. Mahinda's mission won over the monarch, who embraced the faith and propagated it throughout the Sinhalese population. The succeeding kingdoms of Sri Lanka would maintain a large number of Buddhist schools and monasteries, and support the propagation of Buddhism into other countries in Southeast Asia as well. In 288 BC, Bhikkhuni Sangamitta arrived in Sri Lanka with the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree, which is considered to be a sapling from the historical Bodhi tree under which Gautama Buddha became enlightened. It exists upto now, and considered as the oldest tree in the world, with a historical record.
Sri Lanka underwent the first foreign invasion during the reign of King Suratissa, who was defeated by Sena and Guttika from South India. The next invasion came in 205 BC by a Chola King named Elara. He ruled the country for 44 years. Dutugemunu (161-137 BC) – eldest son of King Kavan Tissa, the regional sub-king of Ruhuna defeated Elara in the Battle of Vijithapura. King Dutugemunu created the second stupa in Sri Lanka, Ruwanwelisaya and the Lovamahapaya. (first one was Thuparamaya). During its two and half millenias of existence, kingdom of Sri Lanka was invaded at least 17 times by neighbouring South Asian dynastys such as Chola, Pandya, Chera and Pallava. There had also been incursions by the kingdoms of Kalinga (modern Orissa) and from Malay Peninsula as well. King Dhatusena built the massive reservoir Kala Wewa and Avukana Buddha statue.
Sri Lanka was the first Asian country to have a female ruler, Queen Anula who reigned from 47–42 BC. Sri Lankan monarchs have attained some remarkable construction achievements like Sigiriya, the so-called "Fortress in the Sky". It was a construction of King Kashyapa. Sigiriya is a rock fortress surrounded by an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. The fifth century palace is also renowned for marvellous paintings (frescos) that it contains. It has been declared by the UNESCO as the 8th Wonder of the world. Among the other constructions, large reservoirs, important for conserving water in a climate that alternates rainy seasons with dry times, and elaborate aqueducts, some with a slope as finely calibrated as one inch to the mile are dominant. Biso Kotuwa, a peculiar construction inside a dam, is a technological marvel, based on precise mathematics, allowing water to flow outside the dam keeping the pressure to a minimum. Ancient Sri Lanka was the first country in the world to have established a dedicated hospital, in Mihintale in the 4th century BC. It was also the world's leading exporter of cinnamon, which was exported to Egypt as early as 1400 BCE. Sri Lanka also maintained close ties with European civilizations including Roman Empire. For example, King Bhatika Abhaya (BC 22 - 7 AD) had sent an embassy to Rome and got down coral for a net to be cast over the Ruwanwelisaya. Naval links had been established between Sri Lanka and China as early as 8th century AD.
Medieval Sri LankaEdit
Medieval period of Sri Lanka begins with the fall of the Kingdom of Anuradhapura. In 993 AD, the invasion of Chola Emperor Rajaraja I forced the then Sri Lankan ruler Mahinda V to flee to the southern part of the country. Taking advantage of this situation, Rajendra I son of Rajaraja I, launched a large invasion in 1017 AD. Mahinda V was captured and taken to India, and the Cholas sacked the city of Anuradhapura. They moved the capital to Polonnaruwa This also marked the end of the two great houses of dynasties of ancient Sri Lanka, Moriya and the Lambakanna. Following a seventeen year long campaign, Vijayabahu I successfully drove the Chola out of Sri Lanka in 1070, reuniting the country for the first time in over a century. Upon his request, ordained monks were sent from Burma to Sri Lanka to re-establish Buddhism which had almost disappeared from the country during the Chola reign. During its medieval period, Sri Lanka was divided to three sub-territories, namely Ruhunu, Pihiti and Maya.
Sri Lanka's irrigation system was extensively expanded during the reign of king Parākramabāhu the Great (1153–1186 AD). This period is considered as a time when Sri Lanka was at the height of its power. He built 1470 reservoirs - highest number by a single ruler in the Lankan history, repaired 165 dams, 3910 canals, 163 major reservoirs, and 2376 mini reservoirs. His famous construction is the Parakrama Samudra, the largest irrigation project of medieval Sri Lanka. Parākramabāhu's reign is memorable for two major campaigns—in the south of India as part of a Pandyan war of succession, and a punitive strike against the kings of Ramanna (Myanmar) for various perceived insults to Sri Lanka.
After his demise, Sri Lanka gradually decayed in power. In the early 13th century, Sri Lanka came under the invasion of Parakrama Pandyan II, a Pandyan king. But the real threat came from Kalinga Magha, a South Indian with uncertain origins, who invaded and captured the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa with an army of 24,000 from Kalinga, in 1215 AD. Unlike the previous invaders, he looted, ransacked and destroyed everything in the ancient Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa Kingdoms beyond recovery. His priorities in ruling were to extract as much as possible from the land and overturn as many of the traditions of Rajarata as possible. His reign saw the massive migration of native Sinhalese people to the south and west of Sri Lanka, and into the mountainous interior, in a bid to escape his power. Sri Lanka never really recovered from the impact of Kalinga Magha's invasion. King Vijayabâhu III, who led the resistance, brought the kingdom to Dambadeniya. The north, in the meanwhile, eventually evolved into the Jaffna kingdom. Jaffna kingdom never came under the rule of the kingdom of south except one occasion, in 1450, due to a conquest led by king Parâkramabâhu VI's adopted son, Prince Sapumal. He ruled the North from 1450 to 1467 AD. The next three centuries stating from 1215 were marked by kaleidoscopically shifting collection of kingdoms in south and central Sri Lanka, including Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, Gampola, Raigama, Kotte, Sitawaka and finally, Kandy. However, this period is known for some groundbreaking Sinhala Literature feats like Sandesha Kaavya.
Early modern Sri LankaEdit
Early modern period of Sri Lanka begins with the arrival of Portuguese soldier and explorer Lorenzo de Almeida, the son of Francisco de Almeida in 1505. The Portuguese founded a fort at the port city of Colombo in 1517 and gradually extended their control over the coastal areas. In 1592 King Vimaladharmasuriya I moved the kingdom to the inland city of Kandy, a location more secure against attack from western invaders. Intermittent warfare continued through the 16th century. In 1619, due to the attacks of Portugese, independent existence of Jaffna kingdom, came to an end.
During the reign of the King Rajasinghe II, Dutch explorers arrived in the island. In 1638, the king signed a treaty with the Dutch East India Company to get rid of Portuguese who ruled most of the coastal area of the island by then. The following Dutch–Portuguese War resulted in the victory of Dutch. In 1656, Colombo fell into the hands of Dutch. Dutch remained in the areas they captured, violating the treaty. An ethnic group named Burgher people integrated into the Sri Lankan society as a result of Dutch rule. The Kingdom of Kandy was the last independent monarchy of Sri Lanka. In 1595, King Vimaladharmasurya brought the sacred Tooth Relic - the traditional symbol of royal and religious authority amongst the Sinhalese - to Kandy, and built the Temple of the Tooth. Even with intermittent warfare with Europeans, the kingdom was able to survive. A succession crisis emerged in Kandy, upon the King Vira Narendrasinha's death in 1739. He was married to a Telugu-speaking Nayakkar princess from South India and was childless by them. Eventually, with the support of bhikku Weliwita Sarankara, the crown passed to the brother of one of Narendrasinha's princess, overlooking the right of "Unambuwe Bandara", Narendrasinha's own son by a Sinhalese concubine.. The new king was crowned as Sri Vijaya Rajasinha later that year. Kings of Nayakkar dynasty, launched several attacks on Dutch controlled areas, which proved to be unsuccessful.
During the Napoleonic Wars Great Britain, fearing that French control of the Netherlands might deliver Sri Lanka to the French, occupied the coastal areas of the island (which they called Ceylon) with little difficulty in 1796. Two years later, in 1798, King Rajadhi Rajasinha, 3rd of the four Nayakkar kings of Sri Lanka died of a fever. Following the death, a nephew of Rajadhi Rajasinha, 18-year-old Konnasami came into power. The new king, Sri Vikrama Rajasinha faced a British invasion in 1803, but was able to retaliate successfully. By then, the entire coastal area was under the British East India Company, following the Treaty of Amiens. But on 14 February 1815, Kandy was occupied by British, in the second Kandyan War, finally ending Sri Lankan independence. Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, the last native monarch of Sri Lanka was exiled to India. Kandyan convention, formally ceded the entire country to the British Empire. Attempts of Sri Lankan noblemen to undermine the British power in 1818 during the Uva Rebellion were thwarted by Governor Robert Brownrigg. Another rebellion in 1848 was defeated by Governor Lord Torrington.
European colonists established a series of cinnamon, sugar, coffee, indigo cultivation followed by tea and rubber plantations and graphite mining. The city of Colombo was developed as the administrative centre and commercial heart with its harbor, and the British established modern schools, colleges, roads and churches that brought Western-style education and culture to the native people. Increasing grievances over civil rights, reports of mistreatment and abuse of natives by colonial authorities gave rise to a struggle for independence in the 1930s, when the youth leagues opposed the "Ministers' Memorandum," which asked the colonial authority to increase the powers of the board of ministers without granting popular representation or civil freedoms. During World War II, the Ceylon served as an important Allied military base. A large segment of the British and American fleet were deployed on the island, as were tens of thousands of soldiers committed to the war against Japan in Southeast Asia. Many Ceylonese fought as part of British Commonwealth Forces.
Modern Sri LankaEdit
Following the World War II, popular pressure for independence intensified. The office of Prime Minister of Ceylon was created in advance of independence on 14 October 1947, D. S. Senanayake being the first prime minister. On 4 February 1948 the country gained its independence as the Dominion of Ceylon. The island enjoyed good relations with the United Kingdom and had the British Royal Navy stationed at Trincomalee until 1956. With S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike elected as prime minister, Ceylon began moving towards links with the communist bloc. He introduced the controversial Sinhala Only Act, which was partially reveresd in 1958. Bandaranaike was assassinated in 1959.
On 21 July 1960 Sirimavo Bandaranaike took office as prime minister, and became the world's first female prime minister and the first female head of government in post-colonial Asia, however she faced an attempted military coup in 1962. During her second term as prime minister, her government instituted socialist economic polices and strengthened ties with the Soviet Union and later China, while promoting a policy of non-alignment. However in 1971, Ceylon experienced a Marxist insurrection, which was quickly suppressed with international support. In 1972, with the adoption of a new constitution, the country became a republic, repudating the previous Dominion status and changing its name to Sri Lanka. It remained a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Sinhala Only Act was driving forces behind Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict. The Sinhala Only Act was, curiously enough, not in agreement with the constitution of 1947, which forbade language discrimination. The designations of Sinhala, the language of the majority community, as the sole official language was the first major step in a process, which eventually destroyed the post-independence "ethnic status-quo". The Sinhala Only Act blocked the Tamil quest for continued socioeconomic progress and led to Tamil mobilisation against the State. When peaceful protests were suppressed, extremist actions were legitimized.
Equally important, the act led to ethnic out bidding and it legitimated Sinhalese jingoism, which only radicalized an otherwise culturally and politically conservative Tamil Community. Although other factors—such as the government's internal colonisation policies—played a significant role in Sri Lanka's ethnic relations, the language issue was the most important item on the agenda for both Sinhalese and Tamils. Indeed, the Federal Party's crucial contribution to Tamil politics was its emphasis on the role of language as the determinant of nationhood. This determination to attain Tamil nationhood was exemplified by a Tamil parliamentarian who prophetically claimed that "if the Sinhalese will not agree to federation the Tamils will have a fully autonomous Tamil linguistic state by whatever means they can get it, by all the methods of history: rebellion, guerrilla war fare or anything you please.
From 1983 to 2009, there was an on-and-off civil war between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a separatist militant organisation who fought to create an independent state named Tamil Eelam in the North and East of the island. On 19 May 2009, however, the President of Sri Lanka officially claimed an end to the insurgency and the defeat of the LTTE, following the death of Velupillai Prabhakaran and much of the LTTE's other senior leadership.
There were credible allegations and evidence that actions of war crime were committed by both parties, the Sri Lanka Armed Forces and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers), during the Sri Lankan Civil War, particularly during the final months of the conflict in 2009. The war crimes included attacks on civilians and civilian buildings by both sides; executions of combatants and prisoners by both sides; enforced disappearances by the Sri Lankan military and paramilitary groups backed by them; acute shortages of food, medicine, and clean water for civilians trapped in the war zone; and child recruitment by the Tamil Tigers.
With the end of the war, the government of Sri Lanka called for redevelopment of the nation. The final stages of the war left some 294,000 people displaced. On May 24, 2009, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, visited the Menik farm camp which was one of the IDP camps for Tamil civilians. He said "I have traveled around the world and visited similar places, but this is by far the most appalling scenes I have seen." Regarding the access to that camps that was denied to the NGOs and International aid agencies, Ban said "They should be given unimpeded access and freedom of movement within the camp. That is what I have asked the foreign minister and the president (for), and I was assured that the leaders of the Sri Lankan government will make sure (of this)".  The Ministry of Resettlement has stated that by August 2011, most of the displaced persons had been released or returned to their places of origin, and 7,440 remained in the camps.
Geography and climateEdit
The island of Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean, to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal. It lies between latitudes 5° and 10°N, and longitudes 79° and 82°E. Sri Lanka is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. According to Hindu mythology, a land bridge to the Indian mainland, known as Rama's Bridge, was constructed during the time of Rama by the vanara architect Nala. Often referred to as Adam's Bridge, it now amounts to only a chain of limestone shoals remaining above sea level. According to colonial British reports, this is a natural causeway which was formerly complete, but was breached by a violent storm in 1480.
The island consists mostly of flat-to-rolling coastal plains, with mountains rising only in the south-central part. Amongst these is the highest point Pidurutalagala, reaching 2,524 metres (8,281 ft) above sea level. The climate of Sri Lanka can be described as tropical and warm. Its position between 5 and 10 north latitude endows the country with a warm climate moderated by ocean winds and considerable moisture. The mean temperature ranges from about 17 °C (62.6 °F) in the Central Highlands, where frost may occur for several days in the winter, to a maximum of approximately 33 °C (91.4 °F) in other low-altitude areas. The average yearly temperature ranges from 28 °C (82.4 °F) to nearly 31 °C (87.8 °F). Day and night temperatures may vary by Template:Convert/°C-change to Template:Convert/°C-change. During the coldest days of January, many people wear coats and sweaters in the highlands and elsewhere.
May, the hottest period, precedes the summer monsoon rains. The rainfall pattern is influenced by monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal: as the winds encounter the mountain slopes of the Central Highlands, they unload heavy rains on the slopes and the southwestern areas of the island.The "wet zone" and some of the windward slopes receive up to 2,500 millimetres (98.4 in) of rain each month, but the leeward slopes in the east and northeast receive little rain. Most of the east, southeast, and northern parts of the country comprise the "dry zone", which receives between 1,200 mm (47 in) and 1,900 mm (75 in) of rain annually. Much of the rain in these areas falls from October to January; during the rest of the year there is very little precipitation. The arid northwest and southeast coasts receive the least amount of rain at 800 mm (31 in) to 1,200 mm (47 in) per year. Periodic squalls occur and sometimes tropical cyclones bring overcast skies and rains to the southwest, northeast, and eastern parts of the island. Between December and March, monsoon winds come from the northeast, bringing moisture from the Bay of Bengal. Humidity is typically higher in the southwest and mountainous areas and depends on the seasonal patterns of rainfall, and places like Colombo experience daytime humidity above 79% all year round, rising to almost 90% during the monsoon season in June. Anuradhapura experiences a daytime low of 60% during the monsoon month of March, but a high of 79% during the November and December rains. In the highlands, Kandy's daytime humidity usually ranges between 75% and 83%.
Sri Lanka's coastline is 1,585 km long. It also claims to an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending 200 nautical miles. This is 6.7 times the country’s land area. The coastline and adjacent waters support highly productive marine ecosystems such as fringing coral reefs, shallow beds of coastal and estuarine seagrasses. Sri Lanka inherits 45 estuaries and 40 lagoons too.
Flora and faunaEdit
Lying within the Indomalaya ecozone, Sri Lanka is one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world. Although the country is relatively small in size, it has the highest biodiversity per 10,000 square km in Asia. Remarkably high proportion of the species among its flora and fauna, 27% of the 3,210 flowering plants and 22% of the mammals (see List), are endemic. Sri Lanka has a wide range of topographic and climatic variation and this contributes to the special features of its biodiversity. It contains 24 wildlife reserves, which are home to a wide range of native species such as Asian elephants, leopards, sloth bears, the unique small loris, a verity of deer, the purple-faced langur, the endangered wild boar, porcupines and anteaters. Reptiles include Viperidae and marsh and saltwater crocodile. Among many amphibians (see List) endemic to the country are, the Nannophrys guentheri frogs in the hills. Most of the fish are river or marsh dwelling. The trout, introduced by the British are found in the cool streams of the Horton plains.
Varieties of flowering acacias are well adapted to the arid conditions and flourish on the Jaffna Peninsula. Among the trees of the dry-land forests, are some valuable species such as satinwood, ebony, ironwood, mahogany and teak. In the wet zone, the dominant vegetation of the lowlands is a tropical evergreen forest, with tall trees, broad foliage, and a dense undergrowth of vines and creepers. Subtropical evergreen forests resembling those of temperate climates flourish in the higher altitudes. Forests at one time covered nearly the entire island, but by the late 20th century lands classified as forests and forest reserves covered around ⅓ of the land.
The Yala National Park in the southeast protects herds of elephant, deer, and peacocks, and the Wilpattu National Park, the largest national park in Sri Lanka, in the northwest preserves the habitats of many water birds, such as storks, pelicans, ibis, and spoonbills. The island has four biosphere reserves, Bundala, Hurulu Forest Reserve, the Kanneliya-Dediyagala-Nakiyadeniya, and Sinharaja. Out of these, Sinharaja forest reserve is home to 26 endemic birds and 20 rainforest species, including the elusive Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal and Sri Lanka Blue Magpie. The untapped genetic potential of Sinharaja flora is enormous. Out of the 211 woody trees and lianas so far identified within the reserve, 139 (66%) are endemic. The Total vegetation density, including trees, shrubs, herbs and seedlings has been estimated to be around 240,000 individuals per hectare.
In addition, Sri Lanka is home to over 250 types of resident birds (see List). It contains several bird sanctuaries including Kumana. During the Mahaweli Program of the 1970s and 1980s in northern Sri Lanka, the government set aside four areas of land totalling 1,900 km2 (730 sq mi) as national parks. However the country's forest cover, which was around 49% in 1920, had been fallen to approximately 24% by 2009.
Sri Lanka is the oldest democracy in South Asia. The Donoughmore Constitution, created by the Donoughmore Commission in 1931 enabled general elections with adult universal suffrage (universal adult franchise) in the country. It was the first time, a non-caucasian country within the empires of Western Europe was given one man, one vote and the power to control domestic affairs. The first election under the universal adult franchise held in June 1931, for the Ceylon State Council. Sir D. B. Jayatilaka was elected as the Leader of the House. In 1944, the Soulbury Commission was appointed to draft a new constitution. During this time, struggle for Independence was fought on "constitutionalist" lines under the leadership of D. S. Senanayake. The draft constitution was enacted in the same year and Senanayake was appointed as the Prime Minister from the parliamentary election in 1947. The Soulbury constitution ushered in Dominion status and Independence to Sri Lanka in 1948.
Current politics in Sri Lanka is led by rival coalitions led by the centre-leftist, progressivist United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), an offspring of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), and the comparatively right-wing, pro-capitalist United National Party (UNP). Sri Lanka is essentially a multi-party democracy with many smaller Buddhist, socialist and Tamil nationalist political parties. As of July 2011, Sri Lanka had 67 registered political parties. Out of these, Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), established in 1935 is the oldest political party in Sri Lanka. UNP, established by D. S. Senanayake in 1946, was considered to be the largest single political party in Sri Lanka until recently. It is the only political group which had a representation in all parliaments since the independence. SLFP was founded by S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, who was the Cabinet minister of Local Administration when he left the UNP in July 1951. SLFP recorded its first victory in 1956, defeating the ruling UNP in 1956 Parliamentary election. Following the parliamentary election in July 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the prime minister and world's first elected female head of state.
The Tamil nationalist counterpart of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, G. G. Ponnambalam, founded the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) in 1944. Because of Ponnambalam's cooperation with D. S. Senanayake, a dissident group led by S.J.V. Chelvanayakam broke away in 1949 and formed the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) aka Federal Party. It was the main Tamil political party in Sri Lanka for next 2 decades. Federal party advocated a more aggressive stance vis-à-vis the Sinhalese. With the constitutional reforms of 1972, these parties created a common front, the Tamil United Front (later Tamil United Liberation Front). Tamil National Alliance, formed in October 2001 is the current successor of these Tamil political parties which had undergone much turbulences as Tamil militants' rise to power in late 1970s. Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, a Marxist-Leninist political party, founded by Rohana Wijeweera in 1965, serves as the 3rd force in the current political context. It endorses radical leftist policies, with respect to the traditionalist leftist politics of LSSP and Communist Party.
Template:Sri Lankan symbols Sri Lanka is a democratic, socialist republic and a unitary state which is governed by a semi-presidential system, with a mixture of a presidential system and a parliamentary system. It constitutes a parliamentary system governed under the Constitution of Sri Lanka. Most provisions of the Constitution of Sri Lanka can be amended by a two-thirds majority in Parliament of Sri Lanka. However, the amendment of certain basic features such as the clauses on language, religion, and reference to Sri Lanka as a unitary state require both a two-thirds majority and approval at a nation-wide referendum.
The Sri Lankan government has 3 branches:
- Executive: The President of Sri Lanka is the head of state, the commander in chief of the armed forces, as well as head of government, and is popularly elected for a six-year term. In the exercise of duties, the President is responsible to the parliament. The President appoints and heads a cabinet of ministers composed of elected members of parliament. President is immune from legal proceedings while in office in respect of any acts done or omitted to be done by him either in his official or private capacity. With the 18th amendment to the constitution in 2010, the President has no term limit, which previously stood at 2.
- Legislative: The Parliament of Sri Lanka, is a unicameral 225-member legislature with 196 members elected in multi-seat constituencies and 29 by proportional representation. Members are elected by universal (adult) suffrage based on a modified proportional representation system by district to a six-year term. The president may summon, suspend, or end a legislative session and dissolve Parliament any time after it has served for one year. The parliament reserves the power to make all laws. President's deputy, the Prime Minister, leads the ruling party in parliament and shares many executive responsibilities, mainly in domestic affairs.
- Judicial: Sri Lanka's judiciary consists of a Supreme Court - the highest and final superior court of record, a Court of Appeal, High Courts and a number of subordinate courts. Its highly complex legal system reflects diverse cultural influences. The Criminal law is almost entirely based on British law. Basic Civil law relates to the Roman law and Dutch law. Laws pertaining to marriage, divorce, and inheritance are communal. In addition Sinhala customary law and Sharia law too are practiced. The President appoints judges to the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, and the High Courts. A judicial service commission, composed of the Chief Justice and two Supreme Court judges, appoints, transfers, and dismisses lower court judges.
Administrative divisionsEditTemplate:Sri Lankan Provinces and districts
Provinces (Template:Lang-siTamil: மாகாணம்) have existed in Sri Lanka since the 19th century. But they didn't have any legal status until 1987 when the 13th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka established provincial councils following several decades of increasing demand for a decentralisation of the Government of Sri Lanka. The provincial council is an autonomous body and is not under any Ministry. It undertakes activities which had earlier been undertaken by the Central Government Ministries, Departments, Corporations and Statutory Authorities. But importantly, land and police authorities are not given to provincial councils in practice. Between 1988 and 2006 the Northern and Eastern provinces were temporarily merged to form the North-East Province. Prior to 1987, all administration was handled by a district-based civil service which had been in place since colonial times. Each province is administered by a directly elected provincial council:
|Administrative Divisions of Sri Lanka|
|Province||Capital||Area (km²)|| Area|
- Districts and local authorities
Sri Lanka is also divided into 25 districts (Template:Lang-siTamil: மாவட்டம்). Each district is administered under a District Secretariat. The districts are further subdivided into 256 divisional secretariats, and these in turn to approximately 14,008 Grama Niladhari divisions. The Districts are known in Sinhala as Disa and in Tamil as Maawaddam. Originally a Disa (usually rendered into English as Dissavony) was a duchy, notably Matale and Uva. The Government Agent, who is known as District Secretary, administers a district.
There are also 3 other types of local authorities. These are, Municipal Councils (18), Urban councils (13) and Pradeshiya Sabhas (aka Pradesha Sabhai) (256). Local authorities were originally based on the feudal counties, the korales and ratas. They were formerly known as 'D.R.O. Divisions' after the 'Divisional Revenue Officer'. Later the D.R.O.s became 'Assistant Government Agents' and the Divisions were known as 'A.G.A. Divisions'. Currently, the Divisions are administered by a 'Divisional Secretary', and are known as a Divisional Secretariat. Template:List of Sri Lankan cities by population
Foreign relations and militaryEdit
Since its independence in 1948, Sri Lanka has maintained and expanded relationships with most of the countries in the world. Analysis of its foreign relationships helps to recognise two most important traits. One is its commitment in principle to nonalignment, being a a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Second one is the attempt to preserve satisfactory relations with India without sacrificing its independence. It became a member of the United Nations in 1955. Sri Lanka also is a member of the Commonwealth, the SAARC, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank and the Colombo Plan. Sri Lanka continues its active participation in the NAM, while also stressing the importance it places on regionalism by playing a strong role in SAARC.
One of the two parties that have governed Sri Lanka since its independence, UNP, is traditionally biased towards the West, with respect to its left-leaning counterpart, SLFP. Sri Lankan Finance Minister J. R. Jayewardene, together with the then Australian Foreign Minister Sir Percy Spencer, proposed the Colombo Plan at Commonwealth Foreign Minister’s Conference held in Colombo in 1950. In a remarkable move, Sri Lanka spoke in defence for a free Japan, while many coutries were reluctant to allow a free Japan, at the San Francisco Peace Conference in 1951, and refused to accept the payment of reparations for that damage it had done to the country during World War II, that would harm Japan's economy. Sri Lanka-China relations started as soon as the PRC was formed in 1949. Two countries signed an important Rice-Rubber Pact in 1952. Sri Lanka played a vital role in Asian–African Conference in 1955, which was an important step toward the crystallization of the NAM.
The Bandaranaike government of 1956 took a sharp turn from the pro-western policies of UNP government. Sri Lanka immediately recognised the new Cuba under Fidel Castro in 1959. Shortly after, Cuba's legendary revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara paid a visit to Sri Lanka. The Sirima-Shastri Pact of 1964 and Sirima-Gandhi Pact of 1974 were signed between Sri Lankan and Indian leaders in an attempt to solve the long standing dispute over the status of plantation workers of Indian origin. In 1974, Kachchatheevu, a small island in Palk Strait was formally ceded to Sri Lanka. By this time, Sri Lanka was strongly involved in the NAM and Colombo held the fifth NAM summit of 1976. The relationship between Sri Lanka and India became tensed under the government of J. R. Jayawardene. As a result, India intervened in Sri Lankan Civil War and subsequently deployed the Indian Peace Keeping Force in 1987. In the present, Sri Lanka enjoys extensive relations with China, Russia and Pakistan.
The Sri Lanka Armed Forces, comprising the Sri Lanka Army, the Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Air Force, comes under the purview of the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The total strength of the three services is around 259,000 personnel, with nearly 36,000 reserves. Sri Lanka has not enforced military conscription. In support of the armed forces there are three paramilitary units functioning under purview of the Ministry of Defence, which are the Special Task Force, the Civil Security Force and the Sri Lanka Coast Guard
Since independence from Britain in 1948, the primary focus of the armed forces has been on internal security, due to three major insurgencies, two by Marxist militants of the JVP and a 30 year long conflict with the LTTE which has been proscribed as a terrorist organisation by 32 countries. Due to these conflicts, the armed forces had expanded to its current size and are in a continuous mobilized state for the last 30 years. Marking a rare occurrence in modern military history, Sri Lankan military was able to bring a decisive end to the Sri Lankan Civil War in May 2009. Sri Lanka claimed itself as the first country in the modern world to eradicate terrorism on its own soil. Sri Lanka receives considerable military assistance from Pakistan and China. Sri Lankan Armed Forces have engaged in United Nations peacekeeping operations since the early 1960s. Even though its armed forces were then engaged in an internal conflict, Sri Lanka, since 2002, contributed with forces as permanent contingents deployed in several UN peacekeeping missions in Chad, Lebanon and notably the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.
According to the International Monetary Fund, Sri Lanka claims to a US$50 billion economy as of 2010. It has a GDP of US$106.5 billion in terms of purchasing power parity. Sri Lanka is next only to Maldives in the South Asian region in terms of per capita income, with a nominal value of US$2,435 and PPP value of US$5,220. It recorded a GDP growth of 8.2% in 2010 and it is estimated that GDP will grow by 9.5% in 2011, becoming one of the fastest growing economies of the world. Colombo Stock Exchange was the best performing stock exchange in Asia in 2009 and 2010, by almost tripling in value during that time.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Sri Lanka became a plantation economy, famous for its production and export of cinnamon, rubber and Ceylon tea, which remains a trademark national export. The development of modern ports under British rule raised the strategic importance of the island as a centre of trade. From 1948 to 1977 socialism strongly influenced the government's economic policies. Colonial plantations were dismantled, industries were nationalised and a welfare state established. In 1977 the Free market economy was introduced to the country, incorporating privatisation, deregulation and the promotion of private enterprise.
While the production and export of tea, rubber, coffee, sugar and other agricultural commodities remains important, the nation has moved steadily towards an industrialised economy with the development of food processing, textiles, telecommunications and finance. Main economic sectors of the country are tourism, tea export, clothing, rice production and other agricultural products. In addition to these economic sectors, overseas employment contributes highly in foreign exchange, most of them from the Middle East. As of 2010, service sector makes up 60% of GDP, industial sector 28% and agriculture sector 12%. Private sector accounts for 85% of the economy. India is the largest trading partner of Sri Lanka. Economic disparies exist between the provinces, with Western province contributing to 45.1% of the GDP, Southern province and Central province, 10.7% and 10% respectively. With the end of the war, Northern province reported a record 22.9% GDP growth in 2010.
The per capita income of Sri Lanka has doubled since 2005. During the same period, proverty has dropped from 15.2% to 7.6%, unemployment has dropped from 7.2% to 4.9%, market capitalization of CSE has quadrupled and budget deficit has doubled. 90% of the households in Sri Lanka are electrified, 87.3% of the population have access to safe drinking water and 39% have access to pipe-borne water. Income inequality has also dropped in recent years, indicated by a gini coefficient of 0.36 in 2010. Sri Lanka's cellular subscriber base has shown a staggering 550% growth, from 2005 to 2010. Sri Lanka was the first country in the South Asian region to introduce 3G (Third Generation), 3.5G HSDPA, 3.75G HSUPA and 4G LTE mobile broadband Internet technologies.
The Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum has listed Sri Lanka as a transitive economy, from factor-driven stage to efficiency-driven stage, ranking 52nd in the global competitiveness. It also ranked 45th in health and primary education, 32nd in business sophistication, 42nd in innovation and 41st in goods market efficiency out of the 142 countries surveyed. Sri Lanka ranks 8th in the World Giving Index, registering high levels of contentment and charitable behaviour in its society. In 2010, The New York Times placed Sri Lanka at number 1 position in 31 places to visit. Dow Jones classified Sri Lanka as an emerging market in 2010, and Citigroup classified it as a 3G country in February 2011. Sri Lanka ranks well above other South Asian countries in Human Development Index (HDI) with 0.658 points.
Although poverty has reduced by 50% during last 5 years, malnutrition remains a problem among children. 29% of the children under 5 years of age are reported to be underweight. Nearly 58% of infants between 6 and 11 months and 38% of children between 12 and 23 months are anaemic. While Dengue remains the major infectious disease, non-communicable diseasees (NCDs) account for 85% of ill health, disability and early death in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans have a life expectancy of 77.9 years at birth, which is 10% higher than the world average. Infant mortality rate stands at 8.5 per 1000 births and maternal mortality rate at 0.39 per 1000 births, which is in par with figures of the developed countries. The universal, "pro-poor" health care system adopted by the country has contributed much towards these figures.
Sri Lanka has a A and B class road network exceeding 12,000 kilometres (7,460 mi). It consists of 35 A grade highways connecting major cities. In addition, several expressways are being built. The railway network, operated by the state-run national railway operator, Sri Lanka Railways, spans 1,447 kilometres (900 mi). Sri Lanka also has three deep-water ports, at Colombo, Galle, and Trincomalee, in addition to the newest port being built at Hambantota. Its flag carrier airline is the SriLankan Airlines.
Sri Lanka is the 53rd most populated nation in the world, with an annual population growth rate of 0.73%. Sri Lanka has a birth rate of 17.6 births per 1,000 people and a death rate of 6.2 deaths per 1,000 people. Population density is highest in western Sri Lanka, especially in and around the capital. Sinhalese constitue the largest ethnic group in the country, with 74% of the total population. Sri Lankan Tamils are the second major ethnic group in the island, with a percentage of 12.6. Sri Lankan Moors comprise 7.4%. Tamils of Indian origin were brought into the country as indentured labourers by British colonists to work on estate plantations. Nearly 50% of them were repatriated following independence in 1948, They are distinguished from the native Tamil population that has resided in Sri Lanka since ancient times. There are also small ethnic groups such as the Burghers (of mixed European descent) and Austronesian peoples from Southeast Asia. Moreover, there is a small population of Vedda people whom are believed to be the original indigenous group to inhabit the island.
Sinhalese and Tamil are the two official languages of Sri Lanka. Constitution defines English as the link language. English is widely used for education, scientific and commercial purposes. Members of the Burgher community speak variant forms of Portuguese Creole and Dutch with varying proficiency, while members of the Malay community speak a form of Creole Malay that is unique to the island. 
Sri Lanka is also a multi-religious country. Buddhism constitutes the religious faith of about 70% of the population of the island, most of whom follow the Theravada school of Buddhism. Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the 2nd century BCE by Venerable Mahinda. A sapling of the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment was brought to Sri Lanka during the same time. The Pali Canon (Thripitakaya), having previously been preserved as an oral tradition, was first committed to writing in Sri Lanka around 30 BCE. Sri Lanka has the longest continuous history of Buddhism of any predominately Buddhist nation, with the Sangha having existed in a largely unbroken lineage since its introduction in the 2nd century BCE. During periods of decline, the Sri Lankan monastic lineage was revived through contact with Thailand and Burma.
Hinduism is the second most prevalent religion in Sri Lanka which also arrived from India. Hinduism is dominant in Northern, Eastern and Central Sri Lanka. It was primarily established in Sri Lanka by migrants and often invaders from southern India, Islam is the third most dominant religion in the country, having been brought to the island by Arab traders over the course of many centuries, most are Sunni who follow the Shafi'i school.
|Sri Lanka religiosity|
|Source: David, 1993|
Christianity was also brought into the country by Western colonists in the early 16th century. Around 8% of the Sri Lankan population are Christians. Out of them, 88% are Roman Catholics, who trace their religious heritage directly to the Portuguese. Rest of the Christians are evenly split between the Anglican Church of Ceylon and other Protestant faiths. There is also a small population of Zoroastrian immigrants from India (Parsis) who settled in Ceylon during the period of British rule. But the community has steadily dwindled in recent years. Religion plays a prominent role in the life and culture of Sri Lankans. The Buddhist majority observe Poya Days, once per month according to the Lunar calendar. The Hindus and Muslims also observe their own holidays. Sri Lanka was ranked the 3rd most religious country in the world by a 2008 Gallup poll, with 99% of Sri Lankans saying religion is an important part of their daily life.
Culture of the island dates back over 2500 years. It is the home to two main traditional cultures: the Sinhalese (centred in the ancient cities of Kandy and Anuradhapura) and the Tamil (centred in the city of Jaffna). In more recent times, a British colonial culture was added, and lately Sri Lanka, particularly in the urban areas, has experienced a dramatic makeover in the western mould.
Food and festivalsEdit
The customary diet in Sri Lanka are rice and curry, pittu (mixture of fresh rice meal, lightly roasted and mixed with fresh grated coconut, then steamed in a bamboo mould), Kiribath (cooked in thick coconut cream for this unsweetened rice-pudding which is accompanied by a sharp chili relish called "lunumiris"), wattalapam (rich pudding of Malay origin made of coconut milk, jaggery, cashew nuts, eggs, and various spices including cinnamon cloves and nutmeg), kottu, hoppers ("appa"), etc.
Middle Eastern influences and practices are found in traditional Moor dishes. While Dutch and Portuguese influences are found with the island's Burgher community preserving their culture through traditional favourites such as Lamprais (rice cooked in stock and baked in a banana leaf), Breudher (Dutch Christmas cake) and Bolo Fiado (Portuguese-style layer cake).
Every year in mid April, Sinhalese and Tamils celebrate Sinhalese and Tamil new year festival. In addition, Esala Perahera, a Buddhist festival consisting of dances and richly decorated elephant, is also celebrated in grand scale. Taken place in July or August in Kandy, it has become a unique symbol of Sri Lanka. There are fire-dances, whip-dances, Kandian dances and various other cultural dances. The elephants are usually adorned with lavish garments. The festival ends with the traditional 'diya-kepeema'. The elephant is paraded around the city bearing the tooth of Gautama Buddha.
Cinema, music, dance, theatre and literatureEdit
Sri Lankan cinema in past years has featured subjects such as family relationships, love stories and the years of conflict between the military and Tamil Tiger rebels. Many films are in the Sinhalese language and the Sri Lankan cinematic style is similar to bollywood, kollywood of Indian cinema. The first film to be produced and shown in Sri Lanka was Kadawunu Poronduwa (The Broken Promise) which was released in 1947. The first colour film of Sri Lanka was Ranmuthu Duwa. Afterwards there were many Sinhalese movies produced in Sri Lanka and some of them, such as Nidhanaya, received several international film awards. The most influential filmmaker in the history of Sri Lankan cinema is Lester James Peiris who has directed many movies of excellent quality which led to global acclaim.
The earliest music in Sri Lanka came from the theatre at a time when the traditional open-air drama (referred to in Sinhala as Kolam, Sokari and Nadagam). In 1903 the first music album, Nurthi, was released through Radio Ceylon. In the early 1960s, Sri Lankan music was greatly influenced by Bollywood music. By 1963, Radio Ceylon had more Indian listeners than Sri Lankan ones. The notable songwriters like Mahagama Sekara and Ananda Samarakoon made a revolution in Sri Lankan music. This revolution was fuelled by musicians such as W. D. Amaradeva, H. R. Jothipala, Milton Mallawarachchi, M. S. Fernando, Annesley Malewana and Clarence Wijewardene. Another type of music named Baila is popular in the country.
The national radio station radio, Radio Ceylon is the oldest-running radio station in Asia. It was established in 1923 by Edward Harper just three years after broadcasting was launched in Europe. It remains one of the most popular stations in Asia, with its programming reaching neighbouring Asian nations. The station is managed by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and broadcasts services in Sinhalese, Tamil, English and Hindi. Since the 1980s, a large number of private radio stations have also being introduced, and they have gained commercial popularity and success. Broadcast television was introduced to the country in 1979 when the Independent Television Network was launched. Initially all Television stations were state controlled, but private television networks began broadcasts in 1992. Global television networks from India, Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States are also widely popular, and cable and satellite television is gaining in popularity with Sri Lanka's middle-class. Popular publications include the English language Daily Mirror and The Sunday Observer and The Sunday Times, Divayina, Lankadeepa and Lakbima in Sinhalese and the Tamil publications Dinakaran and Uthayan.
With a literacy rate of 92.5%, Sri Lanka has one of the most literate populations amongst developing nations. An education system which dictates 9 years of Compulsory Schooling for every child is in place, with 99% of the children entering the first grade. A free education system established in 1945, is a result of the initiative of C. W. W. Kannangara, a former minister of education.
Kannangara led the establishment of the Madhya Maha Vidyalayas (Central Schools) in different parts of the country in order to provide education to Sri Lanka's rural population. In 1942 a special education committee proposed extensive reforms to establish an efficient and quality education system for the people. However in the 1980s changers to this system saw the separation the of administration of schools between the central government and the provincial government. Thus the elite National Schools are controlled directly by the Ministry of Education and the provincial schools by the provincial government. Sri Lanka also has 15 public universities.
However the lack of space in these institutions and the unwillingness to establish private universities has led to a large number of students been denied entry into formal universities as well as high undergraduate unemployment. As a result, a number of public and private institutions have emerged, which provide specialised education in a variety of fields, such as computer science, business administration and law. These include the government owned Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology and the Institute of Technological Studies. The free education system ensures that primary to tertiary education is provided free of charge to its citizens.
Human rights as ratified by the United Nations are guaranteed by the constitution of Sri Lanka. The human rights situation in Sri Lanka has come under criticism by human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as the United States Department of State and the European Union, have expressed concern about the state of human rights in Sri Lanka. Both the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government of Sri Lanka are accused of violating human rights.
In its 2007 report, however, Amnesty International stated that "escalating political killings, child recruitment, abductions and armed clashes created a climate of fear in the east, spreading to the north by the end of the year", whilst also outlining concerns with violence against women, the death penalty and "numerous reports of torture in police custody". However, the report also stated that the ceasefire between government and LTTE remained in place despite numerous violations.
However, the Sri Lankan minister for HR said "We regret one or two statements made here, that fly in the face of all concrete evidence, that the situation in Sri Lanka is deteriorating, when we have dealt more firmly with terrorism, with far-less damage to civilians, than in any comparative situation." Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said, the report presents a distorted view of the actual situation in Sri Lanka during the year 2007 and is a litany of unsubstantiated allegations, innuendo and vituperative exaggerations.
While the national sport in Sri Lanka is volleyball, by far the most popular sport in the country is cricket. Rugby union also enjoys extensive popularity, as do aquatic sports, athletics, football (soccer) and tennis. Sri Lanka's schools and colleges regularly organise sports and athletics teams, competing on provincial and national levels.
The Sri Lanka national cricket team achieved considerable success beginning in the 1990s, rising from underdog status to winning the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Sri Lankan cricket team reached the finals of the 2007 Cricket World Cup, where they lost to Australia at the Kensington Oval, in Bridgetown, Barbados. After qualifying to play in the finals of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, Sri Lanka was beaten by India. The legendary Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan also ended his incredible career at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai which hosted the 2011 World Cup finals. The national cricket team of Sri Lanka has won the Asia Cup in 1986, 1997, 2004 and 2008.
Sri Lanka has a large number of sports stadiums, including the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium, the R. Premadasa Stadium and the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium in Dambulla as well as the Galle International Stadium. The country co-hosted the 1996 Cricket World Cup with India and Pakistan, 2011 Cricket World Cup with India and Bangladesh and has hosted the Asia Cup tournament on numerous occasions. Aquatic sports such as boating, surfing, swimming and scuba diving on the coast, the beaches and backwaters attract a large number of Sri Lankans and foreign tourists. There are two styles of martial arts native to Sri Lanka, Cheena di and Angampora.
See alsoEditAdditional, more specific, and related topics may be found at:
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