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Sri Lanka


Introduction: The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C., probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The coastal areas of the island were controlled by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century. The island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was formally united under...

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The LTTE: Successive Australian Governments have consistently and strongly opposed all forms of terrorism, including LTTE terrorist acts.

On 21 December 2001, the Minister for Foreign Affairs gazetted the LTTE as a terrorist organisation for asset freezing purposes in accordance with Australia's obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 of 28 September 2001. Consequently, it is a criminal offence in Australia to use or deal with assets owned or controlled by the LTTE , or to provide assets to the LTTE , whether directly or ...

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History: The actual origins of the Sinhalese are shrouded in myth. Most believe they came to Sri Lanka from northern India during the 6th century BC. Buddhism arrived from the subcontinent 300 years later 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. ...

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Geography: Sri Lanka is about half the size of England and lies close to the southern tip of India and near the equator. From the coast, the land rises to a central massif more than 1500 m above sea level. The climate is hot and humid - monsoon from May to September and the north-east monsoon from November to March: rainfall, particularly in the south-west, is heavy.

Sri Lanka was severely affected by the tsunami on 26 December 2004, which killed some 40,000 people and displaced 400,000 – 500,000 thousand people along two thirds of the north-east, south and south-west coastline. Half the fishing fleet was destroyed, and a quarter ...

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Ancient Indian and Sri Lankan myths and chronicles have been studied intensively and interpreted widely for their insight into the human settlement and philosophical development of the island. Confirmation of the island's first colonizers -- whether the Sinhalese or Sri Lankan Tamils -- has been elusive, but evidence suggests that Sri Lanka has been, since earliest times, a multiethnic society. ...

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Area Handbook Series
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