Dialing code +94
ISO 2 code LK
ISO 3 code LKA
Capital Colombo
Main Language None
Currency Rupee (LKR)
GDP $91.9 billion 67th
Population 21,513,990 55th


Continent Asia
Location Southern Asia island in the Indian Ocean south of India
Land 65,610 km2 123rd
Terrain Mostly low flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior
Climate Tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon (December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October)
Natural Hazards Mostly low flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior
Note: Strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes

Neighbouring Countries


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 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. Tens of thousands have died in the ethnic conflict that continues to fester. 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 and the government regained control of the Eastern Province in 2007. In May 2009 the government announced that its military had finally defeated the remnants of the LTTE and that its leader Velupillai PRABHAKARAN had been killed.
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Life Expectancy 75.14 years 75th
Median Age 30.9 years 75th
Birth Rate 16.26 births/1,000 population 122nd
Death Rate 6.13 births/1,000 population 144th
Sex Ratio 0.87 male(s)/female 51st
Literacy 90.7% 111th

21.5 million


Roadways 97286 km 43rd
Railways 1449 km 81st
Airports 18 133rd
Waterways 160 km 99th
Heliports None
Airports paved 1 107th


Currency Rupee (LKR)
GDP $91.9 billion 67th
GDP per capita (PPP) $4300 135th