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SRI LANKA

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Cities of Sri Lanka
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ABOUT SRI LANKA 

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (known as Ceylon before 1972) is an island nation in South Asia, located about 31 kilometers (18½ mi) off the southern coast of India. It is often popularly referred to as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. A strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia, Sri Lanka has been a centre of Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times, though a fifth of the population follow other faiths - notably Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and indigenous religions. Famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, rubber and coconuts, Sri Lanka also boasts a progressive and modern industrial economy. The natural beauty of Sri Lanka's tropical forests, beaches and landscape, and rich cultural heritage make it a worldwide famous tourism destination.
After nearly two thousand years of rule by independent kingdoms parts of Sri Lanka were colonised by Portugal and the Dutch before passing to the control of the British Empire. During World War II it served as an important base for Allied forces in the fight against the Japanese. Sri Lanka has enjoyed surprising stable democracy and economic progress, given that in recent decades it has faced two bloody Marxist uprisings (1971 and 1987), and since 1983 a bloody civil war between the Sinhalese-dominated government and Tamil insurgents led by the LTTE who demand an independent Tamil state in northeastern Sri Lanka.

  • Capital:
    - Sri Jayawardenapura
  • Area:
    - Total: 65,610 km² (122nd) 25,332 sq mi
    - Water (%): 4.4
  • Independence:
    - from the United Kingdom
    - Granted: February 4, 1948
  • Official languages:
    - Sinhala, Tamil
  • Population:
    - 2005 estimate: 20,743,000 (52nd)
    - 2001 census: 18,732,255
    - Density: 316/km² (35th) 818/sq mi
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