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Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Sri Lanka

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The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C. probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The coastal areas of the island were controlled by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century. The island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in 1983. Tens of thousands have died in the ethnic conflict that continues to fester. After two decades of fighting, the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) formalized a cease-fire in February 2002 with Norway brokering peace negotiations. Violence between the LTTE and government forces intensified in 2006 and the government regained control of the Eastern Province in 2007. In January 2008, the government officially withdrew from the ceasefire, and has begun engaging the LTTE in the northern portion of the country. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

In 1977, colombo abandoned statist economic policies and its import substitution trade policy for more market-oriented policies, export-oriented trade, and encouragement of foreign investment. recent changes in government, however, have brought some policy reversals. currently, the ruling sri lanka freedom party has a more statist economic approach, which seeks to reduce poverty by steering investment to disadvantaged areas, developing small and medium enterprises, promoting agriculture, and expanding the already enormous civil service. the government has halted privatizations. although suffering a brutal civil war that began in 1983, sri lanka saw gdp growth average 4.5% in the last 10 years with the exception of a recession in 2001. in late december 2004, a major tsunami took about 31,000 lives, left more than 6,300 missing and 443,000 displaced, and destroyed an estimated $1.5 billion worth of property. government spending and reconstruction drove growth to more than 7% in 2006 but reduced agriculture output probably slowed growth to about 6 percent in 2007. government spending and loose monetary policy drove inflation to nearly 16% in 2007. sri lanka's most dynamic sectors now are food processing, textiles and apparel, food and beverages, port construction, telecommunications, and insurance and banking. in 2006, plantation crops made up only about 15% of exports (compared with more than 90% in 1970), while textiles and garments accounted for more than 60%. about 800,000 sri lankans work abroad, 90% of them in the middle east. they send home more than $1 billion a year. the struggle by the tamil tigers of the north and east for an independent homeland continues to cast a shadow over the economy.

Environmental Issues

Deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by poaching and urbanization; coastal degradation from mining activities and increased pollution; freshwater resources being polluted by industrial wastes and sewage runoff; waste disposal; air pollution in colombo

Government Type



21,128,772 note: since the outbreak of hostilities between the government and armed tamil separatists in the mid-1980s, several hundred thousand tamil civilians have fled the island and more than 200,000 tamils have sought refuge in the west (july 2008 est.)


Southern asia, island in the indian ocean, south of india


Total: 65,610 sq km land: 64,740 sq km water: 870 sq km

Slightly larger than west virginia

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: democratic socialist republic of sri lanka conventional short form: sri lanka local long form: shri lamka prajatantrika samajaya di janarajaya/ilankai jananayaka choshalichak kutiyarachu local short form: shri lamka/ilankai former: serendib, ceylon


Name: colombo geographic coordinates: 6 56 n, 79 51 e time difference: utc+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time) note: sri jayewardenepura kotte (legislative capital)

Military Service

18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)

International Disputes


Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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