The beautiful and perse country of Sri Lanka has a long and colourful history. The country has many different religions, ethnicities, and languages. It is affectionately called ‘the Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ owing to its teardrop shape, the natural beauty of the isle, it’s prime location and it’s friendly and smiling people. Given that there is so much going on in this country, you might be surprised to know that you will always find a peaceful place to rest, perhaps owing to the rich Buddhist history that Sri Lanka possesses.
Sri Lanka has gone by many names – as ‘Lanka’ or ‘Sinhala’ in India, as ‘Taprobane’ in Greece, and ‘Serendib’ in Arab (translating to serendipity). When the Portuguese arrived in 1505 they called the country Ceylon and so it remained until 1972.
Prehistorically Sri Lanka goes back thousands upon thousands of years, but has a more recent documented history that is believed to have begun in 543 BC with the arrival of Indian Prince Vijaya and his followers. Prior to that, Sri Lanka wasinhabited by ancient tribes known as Yakkas and Nagas. Prince Vijaya married a local Yaksha princess, which later gave rise to the modern Sinhala race.
The colonization of Sri Lanka by the Portuguese started in 1517; they first took Colombo and then gradually spread their foothold. The Dutch signed a treaty to rid the country of the Portuguese reign in 1638. This all came to a head in 1656 when Colombo finally fell from the hands of the Portuguese in to the hands of the Dutch.
Sri Lanka still had independence up until 1815, in it’s last standing Kingdom, Kandy. But this was to be taken from them by the British occupation of Kandy in 1815. Sri Lanka was to remain dependent upon foreign rule until 1948.
It is now one of the fastest growing economies in the world, being rich in resources including tea, coconuts, spices (esp. cinnamon), coffee, precious stones and rubber. The tourism industry is also booming, and you’ll see why when you get there! The country is truly stunning, the flora, the fauna, the natural varied landscapes, the history, the people, the food. It is pure and breathtaking.
Let us help you experience this beautiful land on our ‘Heart of Sri Lanka’ tour.
See our full list of wonderful tours to India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Tibet.
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