by Dr Jonathan Barrell, TMA Member Daylesford, Victoria
The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in the northern Indian Ocean off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent in South Asia; known until 1972 as Ceylon. Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest.
Sri Lanka has a documented history that spans over 3000 years. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to World War II. Sri Lanka is a diverse country home to many religions, ethnicities and languages. It is the land of the Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils, Moors, Indian Tamils, Burghers, Malays, Kaffirs and the aboriginal Vedda. Sri Lanka has a rich Buddhist heritage, and the first known Buddhist writings were composed on the island. The country’s recent history has been marred by a thirty-year civil war which decisively but controversially ended in a military victory in 2009.