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Officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
known as Ceylon before 1972 and as Taprobane in ancient times), is an island country in South Asia, located about 31 kilometres (19.3 mi) off the southern coast of India. It is home to around twenty million people.
Because of its location in the path of major sea routes, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia, and has been a center of Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times.
Today, the country is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation: more than a quarter of the population follows faiths other than Buddhism, notably Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. 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 and the Malays.
Famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, coconuts and rubber, Sri Lanka boasts a progressive and modern industrial economy and the highest per capita income in South Asia.
The natural beauty of Sri Lanka's tropical forests, beaches and landscape, as well as its rich cultural heritage, make it a world famous tourist destination.
After over two thousand years of rule by local kingdoms, parts of Sri Lanka were colonized by Portugal and the Netherlands beginning in the 16th century, before control of the entire country was ceded to the British Empire in 1815.
During World War II, Sri Lanka served as an important base for Allied forces in the fight against the Japanese Empire. A nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century with the aim of obtaining political independence, which was eventually granted by the British after peaceful negotiations in 1948.
☆ Capital - Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte
☆ Largest city - Colombo
☆ Official languages - Sinhala, Tamil
☆ Language for inter-ethnic
communication - English
☆ Ethnic groups (2001)
≈4.6% Indian Tamil
☆ Demonym - Sri Lankan
☆ Government -Democratic Socialist Republic
- President H E Mahinda Rajapaksa
- Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
- Independence from the United Kingdom February 4, 1948
- Republic May 22, 1972
- Total 65,610 km2 (122nd)
25,332 sq mi
- Water (%) 4.4
- 2009 estimate 20,242,000
- July 2008 census 21,128,773
- Density 319/km2 ...818/sq mi
☆ Currency - Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)
☆ Time zone Sri Lanka Standard Time Zone (UTC+5:30)
☆ Drives - on the left
☆ Internet TLD - .lk
☆ Calling code - 94
˜”*°•History of Srilanka•°*”˜
Paleolithic human settlements have been discovered at excavations in several cave sites in the Western Plains region and the South-western face of the Central Hills region. Anthropologists believe that some discovered burial rites and certain decorative artifacts exhibit similarities between the first inhabitants of the island and the early inhabitants of Southern India.
Recent bioanthropological studies have however dismissed these links, and have placed the origin of the people to the northern parts of India.
One of the first written references to the island is found in the Indian epic Ramayana, which described the emperor Ravana as monarch of the powerful kingdom of Lanka, which was created by the divine sculptor Vishwakarma for Kubera, the treasurer of the Gods.English historian James Emerson Tennent also theorized 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.
The main written accounts of the country's history are the Buddhist chronicles of Mahavansa and Dipavamsa.
The earliest-known inhabitants of the island now known as Sri Lanka were probably the ancestors of the Wanniyala-Aetto people, also known as Veddahs and numbering roughly 3,000. Linguistic analysis has found a correlation of the Sinhalese language with the languages of the Sindh and Gujarat, although most historians believe that the Sinhala community emerged well after the assimilation of various ethnic groups.
From the ancient period date some remarkable archaeological sites including the ruins of Sigiriya, the so-called "Fortress in the Sky", and huge public works. Among the latter are large "tanks" or 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.
Ancient Sri Lanka was also the first in the world to have established a dedicated hospital in Mihintale in the 4th century BCE. Ancient Sri Lanka was also the world's leading exporter of cinnamon, which was exported to Egypt as early as 1400 BCE.
Sri Lanka was also the first Asian nation to have a female ruler in Queen Anula (47–42 BC)
˜”*°•Economy Of Srilanka•°*”˜
In the nineteenth and twentieth 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.
During World War II, the island hosted important military installations and Allied forces. However, the plantation economy aggravated poverty and economic inequality. From 1948 to 1977 socialism strongly influenced the government's economic policies.
Colonial plantations were dismantled, industries were nationalised and a welfare state established. While the standard of living and literacy improved significantly, the nation's economy suffered from inefficiency, slow growth and lack of foreign investment.
From 1977 the UNP government began incorporating privatisation, deregulation and 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. By 1996 plantation crops made up only 20% of export, and further declined to 16.8% in 2005 (compared with 93% in 1970), while textiles and garments have reached 63%.
The GDP grew at an average annual rate of 5.5% during the early 1990s, until a drought and a deteriorating security situation lowered growth to 3.8% in 1996. The economy rebounded in 1997-2000, with average growth of 5.3%. The year of 2001 saw the first recession in the country's history, as a result of power shortages, budgetary problems, the global slowdown, and continuing civil strife. Signs of recovery appeared after the 2002 ceasefire.
The Colombo Stock Exchange reported the highest growth in the world for 2003, and today Sri Lanka has the highest per capita income in South Asia.
Arugam Point at the Arugam Bay beach an attractive place for tourists.
In April 2004, there was a sharp reversal in economic policy after the government headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe of the United National Party was defeated by a coalition made up of Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the leftist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna called the United People's Freedom Alliance. The new government stopped the privatization of state enterprises and reforms of state utilities such as power and petroleum, and embarked on a subsidy program called the Rata Perata economic program.
Its main theme to support the rural and suburban SMEs and protect the domestic economy from external influences, such as oil prices, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Source : Wikipedia
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