an island republic in the Indian Ocean, S of India: a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. 25,332 sq. mi. (65,610 sq. km).
Capital: Colombo.
a republic in S Asia, occupying the island of Ceylon: settled by the Sinhalese from S India in about 550 bc; became a British colony 1802; gained independence in 1948, becoming a republic within the Commonwealth in 1972. Exports include tea, cocoa, cinnamon, and copra. Official languages: Sinhalese and Tamil; English is also widely spoken. Religion: Hinayana Buddhist majority. Currency: Sri Lanka rupee. Capital: Colombo (administrative), Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative). Parts of the coast suffered badly in the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. Pop: 21 675 648 (2013 est). Area: 65 610 sq km (25 332 sq miles) Official name (since 1978) Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Former name (until 1972) Ceylon
Sri Lanka [(sree lahng-kuh)]

Formerly Ceylon, now an island republic in the Indian Ocean just southeast of India.

Note: A British colony since 1796, the island became independent in 1948.

Note: Marked by hostility between its Buddhist Sinalese majority and Hindu Tamil minority (see Buddhism and Hinduism).


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