Sri Lanka is officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and is an island in the northern Indian Ocean off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent in South Asia.
Know as Ceylon until 1972 Sri Lanka has a documented history spanning 3000 years, it is the the Pearl of the Indian Ocean because of its shape and happy smiling peoples.
Its geographic location and deep harbors made it strategically important from the time of the silk route until today and it was visited by many explorers, traders and invaders over the centuries seeking spices and in particular cinnamon and gemstones.
It is an island of tropical rainforest and unique flora and fauna with high biodiversity and is a true "garden of eden".
A country with an amazingly diverse history and home to many peoples of varied religions ethnicities and language it is home to the Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils, Moors, Indian Tamils, Burghers, Malays, Kaffirs, and aboriginal Vedda and many westerners.
Rich cultural traditions is the basis of the countries long life expectancy, advanced health standards and high level of literacy.
Sri Lanka has a rich Buddhist and Hindu History and early writings were composed on the island. In Islamic folklore Adam and Eve were offered refuge on the island as solace for their expulsion from the "garden of eden".
The early modern history of colonization began in 1505 with the arrival of the Portugese , in 1638 with the Dutch and 1796 the British. The last attempts by Sri Lankan noblemen to maintain power failed in 1818.
Coffee was introduced in the 1830s and became the countries main export, devastated by disease in 1869 this was replaced by tea and later by rubber plantations. Today the famous Ceylon Tea is a major export crop.
In 1948 the country gained independence and in the following years Tamil and Sinhalese political parties agitated about many issues. In 1983 a civil war erupted and in 2009 after 26 years of fighting the Sri Lankan Government maintained control of the country.
In 2004 the western and southern coastal regions of Sri Lanka were devastated by the 2004 Asian Tsunami with the loss of over 35,000 people and massive coastal property destruction.
Tourism has expanded rapidly since the end of the civil war and is now a major contributor to the economy.
Sri Lanka is today one of the fastest growing economies in the world.