Country overview

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Sri Lankan women pick tea leaves. [File photo]

Sri Lankan women pick tea leaves. [File photo]

Sri Lanka, with the conventional long form of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country located to 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.

The island was known as Ceylon, and achieved independence as the Dominion of Ceylon in 1948.In 1972, the name was changed to "Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka". In 1978 it was changed to the "Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka."

Sri Lanka is a free, independent and sovereign nation. A system of administration through provincial councils was introduced in 1988. Legislative power is exercised by Parliament, elected by universal franchise on a proportional representation basis.

An important producer of tea, coffee, gemstones, coconuts, rubber and the native cinnamon, Sri Lanka has been called The tear drop of India because of its shape and location and is known as "The Pearl of the Indian Ocean" for its natural beauty. It is also known as "The nation of smiling people". The island contains tropical forests, and diverse landscapes with high biodiversity.

The country has had a long history of international engagement, being a founding member of SAARC and a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement. It is also the only country in South Asia that is currently rated 'high' on the Human Development Index.


February 4th 1948 


21 million 


Sinhalese (73.9%), Sri Lankan Tamils (12.7%), Sri Lankan Moors (7.1%), Indian Tamils (5.5%), Burghers (0.3%), Malays (0.3%),others (0.2%) 


Buddhist (69.3%), Hindu (15.4%), Muslim (7.6%), Roman Catholic (6.9%), Other Christians (0.7%), Others (0.1%)


Sinhala and Tamil are the official and national languages. The link language is English. 

National Flag:
National Emblem:
National Flower:

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