Sri Lanka is a natural wonder. It was called Paradise Island by ancient sea farers Iban Batuta, Marco Polo, Ptolemy and many other European, Arabian, Asian and Far East Traveler because of its abundant natural resources and natural beauty that is rare for a small island of just 65,610 square kilometers (25,332 square miles) in size. The strategic location of the Island 8 degrees north of the equator and latitude 81 degrees East, surrounded by the Indian Ocean on three sides and the Bay of Bengal on the East gives it a unique tropical climatic condition. It is blessed with sunshine throughout the year, varying weather and wind patterns, a vast network of rivers and streams that traverse the length and breadth of the country, hundreds of waterfalls and a magnificent tropical rain forest which creates a lush green environment.
As a result of its location in the path of major sea routes, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia. It was an important stop on the ancient Silk Road. Sri Lanka has also been a center of the Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times, being the nation where the Buddhist teachings were first written down as well as the oldest continually Buddhist country. Sri Lanka boasts a diverse range of cultures, languages and religions. The Sinhalese people form the majority of the population; Tamils, who are concentrated in the north and east of the island, form the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include Moors, Burghers, Kaffirs, Malays and the aboriginal Vedda people.
Sri Lanka (Ceylon) was known to have traded in Spices from as far back as the 8th century when the Arab Traders set foot on the island and then later the Europeans, when they began trading in Sri Lanka’s exotic spices. The country’s spices are also known to have played a major role in taking Sri Lanka to the world when navigators like Vasco de Gama visited India and Sri Lanka, the paradise isle in the east looking for this costly commodity.
The beginning of the modern period of Sri Lanka is marked by the Colebrooke-Cameron reforms of 1833. They introduced a utilitarian and liberal political culture to the country based on the rule of law and amalgamated the Kandyan and maritime provinces as a single unit of government as a result English is widely spoken & understood in the country and it is the language of business & commerce.
Sri Lanka is the oldest democracy in South Asia.The Donoughmore Constitution, drafted by the Donoughmore Commission in 1931 enabled general elections with adult universal suffrage (universal adult franchise) in the country. It was the first time a non-caucasian country within the empires of Western Europe was given one man, one vote and the power to control domestic affairs.
The Soulbury constitution ushered in Dominion status for Ceylon, with independence proclaimed on 4 February 1948. The office of Prime Minister of Ceylon was created in 1947, with D. S. Senanayake as the first prime minister. Prominent Tamil leaders like Ponnambalam and Arunachalam Mahadeva joined his cabinet. Although the country gained independence, the British Royal Navy remained stationed at Trincomalee until 1956.
In 1972, with the adoption of a new constitution, the country became a republic, repudiating its dominion status and changing its name to Sri Lanka.The Government of J. R. Jayawardene swept to power in 1977, defeating the largely unpopular United Front government. Jayawardene introduced a new constitution, together with a free market economy and a powerful executive presidency modelled after that of France. It made Sri Lanka the first South Asian country to liberalise its economy.
Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state which is governed by a semi-presidential system with its official seat of government in Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte, the capital. The country is famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, gemstones, coconuts, rubber and cinnamon, the last of which is native to the country.Sri Lanka has been called The Pearl of the Indian Ocean. The island contains tropical forests, and diverse landscapes with high biodiversity. The country lays claim to a long and varying history of over three thousand years, having one of the longest documented histories in the world. Sri Lanka’s rich culture can be attributed to the many different communities on the island. The country is a founding member state of SAARC and a member of United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, G77 and Non-Aligned Movement. As of 2011, Sri Lanka was one of the fastest growing economies of the world.