Sri Lanka

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

SriLanka which has the area of West Virginia, is o­ne of the most beautiful islands in the world. It has a population of 20 million people, the majority of whom are Buddhist. 75 % of the people are Sinhalese with Tamils and Muslims being the next largest minorities.



Buddhism arrived from the subcontinent about 300 B.C. and spread rapidly. Buddhism and a sophisticated system of irrigation became the pillars of classical Sinhalese civilization (200 BC-1200 AD) that flourished in the north-central part of the island. Invasions from southern India, combined with internecine strife, pushed Sinhalese kingdoms southward. The island's contact with the outside world began early. Roman sailors called the island Taprobane. Arab traders knew it as "Serendip," the root of the word "serendipity." Portuguese traders, the Dutch and British all settled here and played a significant part in the historical development of the country.