The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka or Sri Lanka as it is popularly known today was also known as Ceylon prior to 1972 and is a wonderful island nation that is situated in the South of Asia just thirty-one kilometers from the southernmost tip of India. In ancient times it was also called Heladiva and now it boasts of a population of over twenty million people. This island nation is of strategic military importance as it links West Asia with South East Asia.
The major religion of Sri Lanka is Buddhism that has been part of its culture from ancient times and today this country boasts of a diverse religious as well as is multi-ethnic population with a fifth of the population following other religions including Hinduism, Christianity as well as Islam. Almost three fourths of the population is Sinhalese and there are also many Tamils, though they are mostly concentrated in the north as well as east of Sri Lanka and are the single largest ethnic minority in the country.
Sri Lankan tea is famous throughout the world and there is also plenty of wonderful coffee, rubber as well as coconuts produced here and the economy is generally progressive as well as modern. With many beautiful tropical forests as well as inviting beaches and undulating landscapes, it is little wonder that Sri Lanka also has a thriving tourist industry being a world famous tourist destination for many thousands of visitors each year.
Once a kingdom, Sri Lanka has also been colonized by Portuguese as well as Dutch people towards the beginning of the sixteenth century until the British took control of the island in 1815. It was an important base used by Allied Forces during World War II. Later, there was a nationalist movement during the early twentieth century that sought for political independence that was eventually granted by the British in 1948.
Situated in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka lies southwest of the Bay of Bengal and southeast of the Arabian Sea. The Gulf of Mannar as well as the Palk Strait separates it from India. However, in Hindu mythology there was supposed to have been a land bridge between mainland India that was given the name Ramaâ€™s Bridge that was supposed to have been built by Nala who was a vanara architect. This bridge also goes by the name of Adamâ€™s Bridge though now it is nothing but a chain of shoals made of limestone that is barely visible above sea level.
The climate of Sri Lanka is mainly tropical and the weather here is pretty hot though there are also ocean winds that help moderate the climate and it can get especially moist as well. The capital of modern day Sri Lanka is Colombo that is home to the government which is essentially democratic and socialist in outlook. The government is a mix of the presidential and parliamentary system with the President of Sri Lanka being the head of state, the commander in chief of the armed forces and also heads the government.