Portal:Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka Portal

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Sri Lanka (UK: /sri ˈlæŋkə, ʃr -/, US: /- ˈlɑːŋkə/ (About this soundlisten); Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, romanized: Śrī Laṅkā (IPA: [ʃriː laŋkaː]); Tamil: இலங்கை, romanized: Ilaṅkai (IPA: [ilaŋɡaj])), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia. It lies in the Indian Ocean, southwest of the Bay of Bengal, and southeast of the Arabian Sea; it is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. Sri Lanka shares a maritime border with India and the Maldives. Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is its legislative capital, and Colombo is its largest city and financial centre.

Sri Lanka's documented history goes back 3,000 years, with evidence of prehistoric human settlements that dates to at least 125,000 years ago. It has a rich cultural heritage. The earliest known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, known collectively as the Pāli canon, date to the fourth Buddhist council, which took place in 29 BCE. Sri Lanka's geographic location and deep harbours have made it of great strategic importance, from the earliest days of the ancient Silk Road trade route to today's so-called maritime Silk Road. Because its location made it a major trading hub, it was already known to both Far Easterners and Europeans as long ago as the Anuradhapura period. The country's trade in luxury goods and spices attracted traders of many nations, which helped to create Sri Lanka's diverse population. During a period of great political crisis in the Sinhalese kingdom of Kotte, the Portuguese arrived in Sri Lanka (largely by accident) and then sought to control the island's maritime regions and its lucrative external trade. Part of Sri Lanka became a Portuguese possession. After the Sinhalese-Portuguese war, the Dutch and the Kingdom of Kandy took control of those areas. The Dutch possessions were then taken by the British, who later extended their control over the whole island, colonising it from 1815 to 1948. A national movement for political independence arose in the early 20th century, and in 1948, Ceylon became a dominion. The dominion was succeeded by the republic named Sri Lanka in 1972. Sri Lanka's more recent history was marred by a 26-year civil war, which began in 1983 and ended decisively in 2009; when the Sri Lanka Armed Forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Today, Sri Lanka is a multinational state, home to diverse cultures, languages, and ethnicities. The Sinhalese are the majority of the nation's population. The Tamils, who are a large minority group, have also played an influential role in the island's history. Other long established groups include the Moors, the Burghers, the Malays, the Chinese, and the indigenous Vedda. (Full article...)

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Dutch Ceylon

The Invasion of Ceylon was a military campaign fought as a series of amphibious operations between the summer of 1795 and spring of 1796 between the garrison of the Batavian colonies on the Indian Ocean island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and a British invasion force sent from British India. The Dutch Republic had been a British ally during the French Revolutionary Wars, but was overrun by the French Republic in the winter of 1794 and reformed into the client state of the Batavian Republic. The British government, working with the exiled Stadtholder William of Orange, ordered the seizure of Batavian assets including colonies of the former Dutch Empire. Among the first territories to be attacked were those on the coast of the island of Ceylon, with operations initially focused on the trading port at Trincomalee.

To achieve the seizure of the colony, the British government instructed Lord Hobart, Governor of Madras to use the forces at his disposal to invade and capture the Batavian-held parts of the island. Prosecution of the campaign was given to Colonel James Stuart, supported by naval forces under Rear-Admiral Peter Rainier. Stuart called on Batavian governor Johan van Angelbeek to surrender the colony peacefully and many trading posts were taken without resistance, but Stuart's forces were opposed at Trincomalee in August 1795 and briefly at Colombo in February 1796. Following short sieges British forces were able to secure control of the Dutch colony, and Ceylon would remain a part of the British Empire for the next 153 years. (Full article...)
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Pandit Amaradeva in 2014

Sri Lankabhimanya Wannakuwattawaduge Don Albert Perera (Sinhala: වන්නකුවත්තවඩුගේ දොන් ඇල්බට් පෙරේරා; Tamil: டபிள்யூ. டி. அமரதேவா; 5 December 1927 – 3 November 2016), better known by his adopted name Amaradeva, was a prominent Sri Lankan vocalist, violinist and composer. Primarily using traditional instruments like sitars, tablas and harmoniums, he incorporated Sinhala folk music with Indian ragas in his work. Many consider his contribution to the development of Sinhala music as unmatched; hence, he is occasionally cited as the "Maestro of Sri Lankan Music" (Sinhala: හෙළයේ මහා ගාන්දර්වයා, romanized: Helayay Maha Gandarvaya).

In the mid-1950s, Amaradeva in his Janagayana project consulted experts of the Kandyan dance tradition like Panibharatha, Kiriganita, Gunamala, Ukkuva and Suramba in his path to understand what constituted Sinhala folk music. Noting that it mostly revolved around a single melody, he decided to add verses that would lead up to the central melody which would now be a chorus thus forming two parts (unseen earlier in traditional Sri Lankan music) removing restrictions that had existed earlier. In doing so, he created a uniquely Sinhalese music style that stayed true to folk tradition while incorporating outside influences. His work was vital in the creation of the sarala gee genre practised subsequently by artists like Sanath Nandasiri, Victor Ratnayake, T.M. Jayaratne, Sunil Edirisinghe and Gunadasa Kapuge etc. (Full article...)

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St.ClairsFalls-Srilanka.JPG


Photo credit:Chamal
St.Clair's Falls is the widest waterfall in Sri Lanka, hence called "Little Niagara of Sri Lanka".

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