A History of Sri Lanka Timeline

The History of Sri Lanka Timeline

A History of Sri Lanka: The name of the country of Sri Lanka was Ceylon until 1972, which was changed to Lanka in 1972 and Sri Lanka in 1978 by adding the honorific word “Sri”. This country is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country.

History of Sri Lanka
History of Sri Lanka

SRI LANKA’S HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL HERITAGE covers more than 2,000 years. Known as Lanka–the “resplendent land”–in the ancient Indian epic Ramayana, the island has numerous other references that testify to the island’s natural beauty and wealth.
Asian poets, noting the geographical location of the island and lauding its beauty, called it the “pearl upon the brow of India.” A troubled nation in the 1980s, torn apart by communal violence, Sri Lanka has more recently been called India’s “fallen tear.”

History and Geography of Sri Lanka

Geographical History of Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is a country in South Asia near southeast India. Sri Lanka is bordered by India to the north-west and Maldives to the south-west.

The documented history of Sri Lanka is 3000 years old, with some evidence of human settlement in pre-historic times as early as 1,25,000 years ago. History of Sri Lanka.

It is a geographical place and the deep ports established since the time of World War II also give strategic importance to this place. Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon until 1972 at the beginning of the British colonization.
Sri Lanka’s latest history includes 13 years of civil war, which ended strongly when Sri Lankan soldiers defeated the Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009. History of Sri Lanka.

It is a country of diversity and multi-cultures, as well as Sri Lanka is also home to many religions, ethnic groups and languages. Majority Lanka is also home to many Sri Lankans and Indian Tamils, Moors, Burghers, Malayas, Kafirs and tribal Vedas. Sri Lanka has a rich Buddhist heritage and Sri Lanka is also famous for the writings of Buddha.

Sri Lanka is a republic and a United States ruled by a semi-presidential system. Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the statutory capital of Sri Lanka, is the largest city in Colombo. History of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has a long history on international occasions, with Sri Lanka being a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and the United Nation, Commonwealth of Nations, G77 and the Non-Aligned Campaign. Sri Lanka is one of the two countries in South Asia with the highest growth rate in the Human Development Index along with Maldives. History of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Map
Sri Lanka Map

History of Sri Lanka In Brief

Brief History of Sri Lanka: The history of the country of Sri Lanka closely matches the history of India, because the then Ceylon and India not only had trade relations but also had a background of religious and historical relations. History of Sri Lanka.

Religion of Sri Lanka

Percentage of Religion in Sri Lanka.

Religion Number of followers Percentage of
total population
Buddhism 14,980,421 69.3 %
Hinduism 2,939,881 13.6 %
Islam 2,118,443 9.8 %
Christianity 1,578,024 7.3 %

Source: Pew Research Center. The Global Religious Landscape

History of Sri Lanka King Ravana

The best example of this is the kingdom of Ravana of the Ramayana period and the defeat of Ravana by Lord Shri Ram, showing us that since ancient times, human culture in Sri Lanka was very rich and it had also expanded to a great extent in this country. Evidence of this fact is still seen in Sri Lanka, which has developed within the country as a tourist destination.

The most important part of the history of Sri Lanka is the propagation of Buddhism, whose foundation was laid by Emperor Ashoka about 250 years before this century. We get strong evidence from the historical sources of India that Emperor Ashoka had sent his son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka for the spread of Buddhism. History of Sri Lanka.

Further, the spread of Buddhism as if brought about amazing changes in the social and religious environment of Sri Lanka, perhaps because of this, Buddhism emerged as the most populous religion of this country. History of Sri Lanka.

It is clearly decided that the historical background of Sri Lanka is related to Gautam Buddha, Lord Shri Ram and Emperor Ashoka, besides this country was ruled by Portuguese, Dutch and later by the British respectively till the year 1948.

Finally, on 4 February 1948, Sri Lanka got independence from the British and today Sri Lanka has become the identity of the country as a constitutional country. History of Sri Lanka.

Ancient Legends and Chronicles

Ancient History of Sri Lanka: The first major legendary reference to the island is found in the great Indian epic, the Ramayana (Sacred Lake of the Deeds of Rama), thought to have been written around 8000 B.C. The Ramayana tells of the conquest of Lanka in more than 8000 B.C. by Rama, an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu.

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Rama’s quest to save his abducted wife, Sita, from Ravanna, the demon god of Lanka, and his demon hordes, is, according to some scholars, a poetic account of the early southward expansion of Brahmanic civilization. History of Sri Lanka.


The Ancient History of Sri Lanka: Around 500 B.C. when a people called Sinhala migrated from India. According to legend, the first settlers were led by a man named Vijaya. According to tradition, Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in 260 B.C. by a man named Mahinda. It soon became an integral part of Sinhalese culture.

However, at first Sri Lanka was divided into different states. A man named Dutthagamani (161-137 BC.C.) united them into one kingdom. In addition to being a powerful ruler, Dutthagamani was a great builder and erected palaces and temples. The capital of the first kingdom of Sri Lanka was in Anuradhapura.

The basic diet of the Sri Lankan people was rice, but to grow it it needs to be kept in the water. However, in Sri Lanka’s warm climate, the water soon evaporated. In the rainy season (October to April), the rain provided some water, but it was not enough. To get more water, people dammed streams and rivers.

However, over time it became the responsibility of the rulers to provide water for agriculture. King Mahensa (274-303) built large reservoirs and irrigation canals to carry water from one area to another. The network of reservoirs and canals became increasingly large and complex.

In the second and fourth centuries A.C. Sri Lanka became a wealthy kingdom. It traded with India, China, Persia and Ethiopia. However, from the fifth century Sri Lanka suffered invasions from India. In the tenth century the Chola kingdom became powerful in South India.

In 993 the Cholas captured northern Sri Lanka and made Polonnaruwa the capital. In 1017 they captured the south. However, the Sinhalese continued to resist and in 1030 the Cholas withdrew from Rohana in the southeast. In 1070 the Sinhala ruler Vijayabahu recaptured the north.

However, after his death in 1111, he was succeeded by weak rulers. Sri Lanka was divided into independent states. Then, in 1153, Parakramabahu the Great became king of the kingdom of Dakkinadesa. This great ruler reunited Sri Lanka and repaired the irrigation system. He died in 1183.

In the thirteenth century, Sri Lanka’s power declined. There were repeated invasions of India and political instability. The irrigation system began to fail and people moved southwest. In 1255 the capital Polonnaruwa was abandoned.
In the thirteenth century the Tamils settled in northern Sri Lanka and in 1505 Sri Lanka was divided into three zones. In the north lived the Tamils. There was a Sinhala kingdom in the southwest based at Kotte and another in the center and east based at Kandy.


Portuguese colony in history of Sri Lanka :  A new era in Sri Lankan history began in 1505 when the Portuguese arrived. The Portuguese were looking for cinnamon (a very valuable spice). In 1517 they sent an expedition to Colombo and asked permission to build a fort there. King Vijayabahu of Kotte reluctantly gave his consent.

However, the Portuguese ordered the king to sell them their cinnamon at a price set by them. When the king refused, the Portuguese used force. In 1518 the king of Kotte was forced to agree to give cinnamon to the Portuguese every year as a tribute.
Growing Portuguese demands led to a war in 1520-21, which the Portuguese won. The king lost the support of his people and was overthrown by his three sons.

The eldest son became King Bhuvanekbahu VI. He reigned until 1551. However, he agreed to give his two brothers principalities of their own within Kotte to rule. The largest of these became the kingdom of Sitawaka. The smaller was based in Rayigama, but when its ruler died in 1538 it was absorbed into Sitawaka.

Over time, the states of Kotte and Sitawaka began to argue. The rulers of Sitawaka resent the growing Portuguese influence in Kotte. So Kotte and Sitawaka fought in several wars. Every time Kotte was forced to ask the Portuguese for help. Inevitably, portuguese influence in Kotte increased.

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In 1551 King Bhuvankbahu was assassinated and the Portuguese installed a puppet ruler in Kotte. Meanwhile, Catholic missionaries were working in Kotte. In 1557 the puppet ruler converted to Catholicism. Many of his subjects also converted.
Finally, in 1597, the Portuguese annexed Kotte and Sitawaka. In 1619 they annexed Jaffna. Only Kandy remained independent. The Portuguese made several attempts to conquer Kandy, in 1594, 1603 and 1629, without success. History of Sri Lanka.


Dutch colony in history of Sri Lanka : In 1636 King Rajasinha of Kandy turned to the Dutch for help. In 1637 he received Dutch envoys. In 1638 the Portuguese invaded again but were crushed at the Battle of Gannoruwa. Afterwards, the Dutch agreed to capture the Portuguese ports off the coast of Sri Lanka in exchange for their expenses.

Between 1638 and 1640 the Dutch captured certain ports, but clung to them instead of giving them to Kandy, claiming that their expenses had not been paid. The Dutch and Portuguese made peace in 1640, but the war resumed in 1652.

Once again the kingdom of Kandy formed an alliance with the Dutch. This time the Dutch attacked Colombo and captured it in 1656. However, they refused to hand it over to Kandy. Instead, they pushed inland. In 1658 they captured Jaffna. That was the end of Portuguese rule in Sri Lanka.

The Dutch extended their rule and in 1665 captured Trincomalee on the east coast. Kandy remained independent and continued to exist uncomfortably alongside the Dutch colony until 1760, when war broke out between them. The Dutch won the war and forced Kandy to accept a humiliating treaty. Kandy was forced to recognize Dutch sovereignty over the entire Sri Lankan coastline, including the parts that formerly belonged to Kandy, at a depth of 4 Sinhalese miles.

Ancient History of Sri Lanka
Ancient History of Sri Lanka


British colony in history of Sri Lanka : However, in 1796 Dutch domination gave way to British domination. In that year, the British annexed Colombo and Jaffna and Dutch rule became extinct. The British were eager to conquer Kandy. They got their chance in 1815. Kandy was ruled by Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe (1798-1815).

He was a cruel king and was deeply unpopular with his subjects. Some of his nobles conspired with the British to get rid of him. The British army invaded Kandy and met little resistance. The king fled abroad.
However, in 1817-18 there was a rebellion in parts of Kandy against British rule, but it was crushed. At first, the British trotted cautiously. Trial by jury was introduced in 1811 and the British built a network of roads.

Then, in 1833, they introduced far-reaching reforms. English became the official language and the administration was reformed. Slavery was abolished in 1844.

In the early nineteenth century, the British created large plantations for the cultivation of coffee. Import duties on coffee in Britain were reduced and coffee consumption became more common. Coffee exports from Sri Lanka or Ceylon soared and large numbers of Indian workers were taken to work on the plantations.

However, beginning in the 1870s, the coffee crop was devastated by the slow spread of a fungus called hemileia vastatrix. In the late nineteenth century, tea replaced coffee as Ceylon’s main crop. Rubber and coconuts were also important crops. Also in the late nineteenth century, both Hinduism and Buddhism revived in Ceylon.

In the early twentieth century, Sri Lankan nationalism grew. The National Congress of Ceylon was constituted in 1919. In 1910 the Ceylonese were allowed to elect a member of the legislative council and in 1924 the British made further concessions.
However, the Ceylonese were not satisfied. In 1931, Ceylon received a new constitution. Thereafter, the legislature was elected by universal suffrage. However, the Ceylonese demanded complete independence.

In 1946 another constitution was introduced, but in 1947 the British announced that India would become independent. The Ceylandese now demanded their independence and in June 1947 the British agreed to make Sri Lanka a dominion. Sri Lanka became independent on 4 February 1948. History of Sri Lanka.


Today The History of Sri Lank: The first prime minister was Dr. Stephen Senanayake. When he died in 1952, his son Dudley Senanayake followed. Dudley resigned in 1953 and was replaced by Sir John Kotelawala. All three were members of the United Nations Party. However, in 1956 his party fell from power. History of Sri Lanka.

The next government was led by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. He promoted Sinhalese culture and extended state control of the economy. However, he was assassinated in 1959. In 1960 he was replaced by his widow Sirimavo Bandaranaike.
She was Prime Minister until 1965. He continued with the policy of nationalization. It also put most schools under state control. In 1965 she was replaced by Dudley Senanayake, who was prime minister again until 1970.

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History Of Sri Lanka Tamil

From the 1950s, tension between Tamils and Sinhalese increased. In 1956 Sinhala became the only official language (instead of Sinhala and Tamil). Ms. Bandaranaike also deported many Indian Tamil workers. History of Sri Lanka.

In 1971 a youth rebellion was led by an anti-Tamil organization called Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna. The rebellion was quickly crushed.
In 1972, Sri Lanka received a new constitution. He claimed that Buddhism occupied a ‘preponderant place’ among the religions of Sri Lanka. This was very unpopular with followers of other religions. In addition, in 1972 the number of Tamil places at the university was reduced. History of Sri Lanka.

In addition, in 1972 the name of the country was officially changed from Ceylon to Sri Lanka.
In 1976 the United Tamil Liberation Front was formed. They demanded a separate Tamil state. Then, in 1977, Sri Lanka was rocked by ethnic unrest in which 128 people died. In 1978 another constitution was introduced. He made a president the head of state. However, the new Constitution did not satisfy Tamils. History of Sri Lanka.

In 1983 civil war broke out between Tamils and Sinhalese. On 23 July 1983, Tamil separatists ambushed and killed 13 Sinhalese soldiers. The result was riots in which hundreds of people died. Afterwards, the Tamils waged a guerrilla war against the government.

India became embroiled in the crisis in 1987 when they agreed to send a peacekeeping force to the north and east of Sri Lanka. However, fighting soon broke out between Indian forces and ‘tigers’ or Tamil guerrillas. The Indian peacekeeping force withdrew in 1990 and fighting between Tamils and Sinhalese began again.

Meanwhile, in the late 1980s, Maoist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna led a violent campaign in the south. It was crushed in 1989-1990. In 1993 President Premadasa was assassinated. Beginning in the mid-1990s, efforts were made to end the fighting. A ceasefire and talks were held in February 2002.

However, the ceasefire broke down and fighting resumed. The war ended in 2009 with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers by the Sri Lankan government. Despite the bloodshed, some progress has been made in Sri Lanka. In 1986 Sri Lanka was self-sufficient in rice. Life expectancy increased from 50 years in 1948 to 69 years in 1983.

Beginning in 1977, the Sri Lankan government adopted a market economy. Sri Lanka continues to produce tea, rubber and coconut, and a textile industry is growing. Tourism has become an important industry. History of Sri Lanka.

Chronology of Sri Lanka Timeline

Today History of Sri Lanka Timeline
Today History of Sri Lanka Timeline

History of Sri Lanka Timeline: Some Important Days in the History of Sri Lanka – Important Dates in Sri Lanka History
5th century BC – Indo-Aryan migrants migrated from northern India and settled on an island.
3rd century BC – The exit of Tamil people from India started.
1505 – Portuguese people arrived in Colombo, this started European interest.

1658 – The Dutch expel the Portuguese from most of Sri Lanka, and establish their rule, except for the kingdom located in the center of the city of Kandy.
1796 – British rule began to assert its authority over the small islands of Sri Lanka.
1815 – Tamil laborers from South India were brought to Sri Lanka by the British rule and the work of planting tea, coffee plants and coconut trees started from them.

1833 – The entire island was united under British administration.
1948 – Ceylon gets complete independence.
1958 – The conflict against Tamil-speaking people reached the stage, in which about 200 people died in violent clashes and riots.

1959 – Prime Minister Bandaranaike is brutally assassinated by a Buddhist bhikkhu, after which his wife Sirimavo Bandaranaike is made Prime Minister in the year 1960. She was appointed as the first woman Prime Minister in world history.
1972 – Ceylon was renamed as Sri Lanka.
1976 – Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) begins straight walk.

1983 – Civil war started. History of Sri Lanka.
2009 – LTTE is defeated, 70,000 to 80,000 people die in the war.
2019 – A suicide bombing of a church and hotel on Easter Sunday by jihadists killed 184 people.

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