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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 formally 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. 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, but the government regained control of the Eastern Province in 2007. By May 2009, the government announced that its military had defeated the remnants of the LTTE. Since the end of the conflict, the government has enacted an ambitious program of economic development projects, many of which are financed by loans from the Government of China. In addition to efforts to reconstruct its economy, the government has resettled more than 95% of those civilians who were displaced during the final phase of the conflict and released the vast majority of former LTTE combatants captured by Government Security Forces. At the same time, there has been little progress on more contentious and politically difficult issues such as reaching a political settlement with Tamil elected representatives and holding accountable those alleged to have been involved in human rights violations at the end of the war.


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People And Society

Noun Sri Lankan(s)
Adjective Sri Lankan

Ethnic groups
Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)

Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%
English, spoken competently by about 10% of the population, is commonly used in government and is referred to as the link language in the constitution

Buddhist (official) 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)

Population World Ranking: 57
21,481,334 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years
24.9% (male 2,705,953/female 2,599,717)
15-64 years
67.2% (male 6,993,668/female 7,313,440)
65 years and over
7.9% (male 720,219/female 950,916) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 31.1 years
Male 30.1 years
Female 32.2 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 123
0.913% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 118
17.04 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 163
5.96 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 162
-1.95 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urban population 14% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
1.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
COLOMBO (capital) 681,000 (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.04 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.75 male(s)/female
Total population
0.96 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 117
35 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 148
Total 9.47 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 10.44 deaths/1,000 live births
8.45 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 82
Total population 75.94 years
Male 72.43 years
Female 79.59 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 105
2.17 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 161
4% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
0.492 physicians/1,000 population (2006)

Hospital bed density
3.1 beds/1,000 population (2004)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 155
Less than 0.1% (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 129
2,800 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 104
Fewer than 200 (2009 est.)

Major infectious diseases
Degree of risk High
Food or waterborne diseases
Bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
Vectorborne disease Dengue fever and chikungunya
Water contact disease Leptospirosis
Animal contact disease Rabies (2009)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight World Ranking: 30
21.1% (2007)

Education expenditures

Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population 91.2%
Male 92.6%
Female 90% (2010 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 13 years
Male 12 years
Female 13 years (2004)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 World Ranking: 49
Total 21.3%
Male 17.1%
Female 27.9% (2009)


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Sri Lanka (Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte):

GPS points from Sri Lanka (Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte)

Palugassegama North Western

Palukanda Wewa North Central Province

Kadiragoda Southern

Kudapattu Villu North Central Province

Nagoda Province Of Sabaragamuwa

Ebbe Ela North Central

Hadupitiya North Western

Poosatenne Central

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