Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka is an island nation about 20 south east of India.  The country is 25,000 square miles with a population of over 20 million people.  The largest ethnic group is Sinhalese making up about 75% of the population.  Sri Lankan Tamils, Sri Lankan Moors, and Indian Tamils are the next largest ethnic groups.  The official languages are Sinhalese and Tamil.  The English language also has a significant role in Sri Lanka.

In the 16th century, the Portuguese arrived on the island and took control of much of the coastal lands.  In the 17th century, the Dutch helped the islanders by defeating the Portuguese.  However, the Dutch then took control of those lands.  At the end of the 18th century, Great Britain took control of the coastal lands.  The British named the island Ceylon.  A peaceful political movement to gain independence from Great Britain arose at the turn of the 20th century.  In 1948, Ceylon was given independence as a dominion within the British Commonwealth.  Finally in 1972, Ceylon became independent of Great Britain and was renamed the Republic of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has the 2nd largest tea industry in the world.  They also produce rubber, cinnamon, coffee, and sugar.  The economy is largely based on tourism, clothing manufacturing, tea, rice, and other agriculture.

Buddhism has a long history in Sri Lanka and 70% of the people follow Buddhism.  13% are Hindu, 10 % Muslim, and 7% are Christian.

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