Name: The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka|
History: Sri Lanka is an island country and is recognised with popular slogan - The Pearl of the Indian Ocean. In 500 BC a Sinhalese prince from Indian origin conquered the Vedda people who were living on the island and called the country Sinhala. Then in AD 200 Tamil King of India invaded it. They drove Sinhalese into South and both struggled for control of the country until the Portuguese arrived in the 1500's. They were followed by the Dutch and then the British who ruled from 1802 and called it Ceylon till it became independent in 1948 and changed its name to Sri Lanka in 1972. The rich beauty of the island inspired its name Sri Lanka which means Shining Land.
Location: This pear shaped island lies in Indian Ocean, South west of the Bay of Bengal and is seperated from India by the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar.
Area: 65,610 sq km
Population: 1974,239 (2003) 20,743,000 (2005) est
Capital: Sri Jayawardenapura
Currency: Sri Lanka Rupee
Largest City: Colombo, it is also the largest port of Indian Ocean
Highest Point: Pidurntagala (2,524 m)
Language: Sinhala and Tamil are official language and English is the link language in present Constitution.
Life Expectancy: 69 years
Terrain: There are mountains in the centre and south of the island while the rest is low plain. The paddy fields of Balangoda are surrounded by coconut palms. Beyond that are heavy forests and its coasts provides rich fishing grounds.
Climate: Equatorial and tropical characterized by monsoons and sea breezes temper the heat. Rainfall is uneven and varies from 40 inches in the North to 200 inches in the mountains.
Ethnic Group: Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslims and Burghers.
Religion: Buddhism - 68%, Hinduism - 18%, Christianity - 7% and Islam - 6%.
Adult Literacy: Sri Lanka's population is highly educated with literacy rate of 96% is highest in South Asia.
Government: Multi-party republic called Democratic Socialist Republic.
Constitution: On 9 September 1978
Legislative & Executive Branch: The President of the republic is directly elected for 6 years term and serves as Head of State, Head of Government and Commander in Chief of the armed forces. He is responsible to Parliament in accordance with the constitution and laws and can be removed from office by two third vote of Parliament, with agreement of the Supreme court. The Prime Minister is President's deputy and leads the ruling party in Parliament.
Judiciary Branch: The Supreme Court is the highest court and was created in 1972 after the adoption of new Constitution.
National Flag: In 1948 when Sri Lanka gained independence as Ceylon, it adopted the ancient flag of the kingdom of Kandy. The flag has red field with gold lion and sword in the center. On March 2 1951, a green and orange band were added to represent Muslim and Hindu Tamil minority. Then in 1972 when country changed its name to Sri Lanka 4 leaves of pipul tree was added to corners of the red panelto representing the four fold path and it was made official in 1978.
National Anthem: Sri Lanka Matha, by Ananda Samarakone
National Flower: Lil Manel (Nympheae Stellete).
National Tree: Na (Mesua Ferrea)
Time Zone: UTC + 5:30
Internet TLD: .lk
Calling Code: + 94
Economy: About half of the population are farmers and about 36% of land is under cultivation. Tea is the leading cash crop and is biggest export item, rubber ranks second and coconut third, rice is their staple food crop. Sri Lanka is a leading souces of gemstones including sapphires, rubies, beryls spinels and garnet. Graphite is also found there.
Main Exports: Textile, clothes, tea, rubber, coconut products and gems.
Agriculture Products: Rice, sugarcane, pulses, grains, oilseeds, tea, spices, rubber, milk, eggs, hides, beef and coconut.