History of Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka has been inhabited for at least 30,000 years. Chronicles including the Mahawansa, the Dipavamsa, the Culavamsa and the Rajaveliya record events from the beginnings of the Sinhalese monarchy in the 6th century BC through to the arrival of European Colonialists in the 16th century and the disestablishment of the monarchy in 1815. Some mentions of the country are found in the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the books of Gautama Buddha's teachings. Buddhism was introduced in the 3rd century BC by Arhath Mahinda (son of the Indian emperor Ashoka the Great).

From the 16th century some coastal areas of the country were ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. After 1815 the entire nation was ruled by the British colonialists until political independence was granted in 1948. Armed uprisings against British colonial rule took place in 1818 (Uva Rebellion) and in 1848 (Matale Rebellion).

After an armed youth uprising in 1971 known as the 1971 April Rebellion, Sri Lanka became a sovereign state in 1972. A constitution was introduced in 1978, making the Executive President head of state. The Sri Lankan Civil War began in 1983 and again an armed youth uprising occurred in 1987-1989. The 26-year civil war ended in 2009.


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