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Sri Lanka Old History

 

Finds of stone tools indicate that humans have been on the island of Sri Lanka for 500,000 years. The small population group of woods is a remnant of the indigenous population. The larger groups of people came much later to the island from India. Both Sinhalese and Tamils ​​believe that they were first. Modern research claims that the Sinhalese immigrated about 400 years before our era, while the Tamils ​​arrived a few hundred years later.

  • AbbreviationFinder.org: Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Sri Lanka, covering history, economy, and social conditions.

The first Sinhalese communities grew up in the northern part of the island. From India came in the twentieth century BC Buddhism adopted by the Sinhalese. Between the twentieth and the first century AD, Buddhist Sinhalese culture experienced a period of greatness. At that time, an advanced system was developed for irrigating rice fields, which formed the basis for prosperity.

Repeated invasions from South India caused these kingdoms to collapse during the 13th century. The Sinhalese moved to the island's rainier southwestern part. A Tamil province was founded with Indian help in the north. It had its heyday in the Jaffna Peninsula around the 1300s.

Old History of Sri Lanka

The Europeans are arriving

Spice trade attracted Europeans to the island. When the Portuguese arrived in 1505, there were two Sinhalese kingdoms, Kotte and Kandy, in the south and a Tamil kingdom in the north. In addition, there were Muslim Moors, descendants of Arab merchants who arrived in the 700s and 800s. These controlled the spice trade. Despite resistance, the Portuguese managed to colonize large parts of the island within a century, and their missionaries successfully spread Catholicism.

In the middle of the 17th century, the Portuguese were expelled by the Dutch, who in turn were defeated by the British in the late 18th century. The British called the island of Ceylon and made it a British crown colony.

British colonization fundamentally changed the economic and social system of the island. Previously, rice had been grown for domestic consumption. The majority of the population were self-sufficient farmers. Under the British rule, plantation cultivation of rubber and tea was introduced for export. Forests were destroyed and rice cultivation was depleted.

Nationalism is emerging

The island was no longer able to be self-sufficient in food. Monetary economics were introduced and the population was forced to pay taxes. In response to the changes brought by colonialism, Buddhist-inspired nationalist trends emerged towards the end of the 19th century. The foremost leader of this movement was Anrika Dharmapala, who reformed Buddhism and laid the foundation for Buddhist-Sinhalese nationalism. The idea was born of a Ceylon who was tasked with preserving the right Buddhist faith.

In the early 1900s, a more political nationalist movement emerged among the English-speaking elite. The demands for self-government increased, while the minority groups, especially the Tamils, demanded protection of their interests in exchange for support for the Sinhalese freedom efforts.

In accordance with a constitutional reform in 1931, a national council with legislative duties was established within the framework of the British regime. In the same year, Ceylon, as the first colony in Asia, held general elections to the National Council.

2013

November

Boycott of the Commonwealth Annual Meeting

Prime Ministers of India, Canada and Mauritius boycott the Commonwealth Annual Meeting in Colombo November 15-17. The boycott is a protest that the host country has not accepted the outside world's demands for an independent investigation into the allegations of human rights violations at the end of the war in May 2009. 26 of the 53 Member States choose to send lower-level delegations to the meeting.

September

The UN gives the government a deadline

UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay gives the Sri Lankan Government a deadline until March 2014 to begin a national investigation into the allegations of human rights crimes committed in the end of the civil war against the LTTE in the spring of 2009. If the government fails to meet this deadline, Pillay demands that an international investigation is initiated.

Large military presence at local elections in the north

The country's largest Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), wins 30 of the 38 seats in the Northern Legislative Assembly. President Rajapakas ruling party alliance UPFA, which allied with another Tamil party, wins 7 seats while the Muslim party SLMC gets 1 seat. According to observers from the Commonwealth, the election process shows some shortcomings. For example, the large military presence in the province has been a problem for the opposition, and voters have been harassed by the soldiers. In the elections in the Central Province and the North East Province, the ruling UPFA alliance wins.

August

The Department of Law and Order is established

President Rajapaksa establishes a new Ministry of Law and Order and appoints himself responsible minister for this.

Buddhists vandalize mosque

At least four people are injured when a Buddhist crowd vandalizes a mosque in Colombo. Authorities face curfew and shut down mosque.

Soldiers kill three protesters

Three people are killed and about 50 injured when soldiers open fire on thousands of people demonstrating that groundwater has been contaminated in their village outside Colombo. According to the villagers, the pollution was caused by chemical emissions from a factory. The death tolls are a shock to many Sinhalese who often regard the military as the nation's heroes. A storm of anger is directed at the soldiers. The army gives a Major General the task of investigating the incident, which is criticized by the opposition and human rights organization Amnesty International. The opposition calls for an independent international investigation into the shooting deaths.

The government receives sharp UN criticism

After a week-long visit to Sri Lanka, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, accuses the government of undermining democracy and the rule of law in the country. The Rajapaksa government's relations with the UN are icy since the World Organization has repeatedly demanded that the government investigate in a impartial and credible manner the allegations of human rights crimes committed during the end of the civil war in May 2009.

July

Mosque must close after attack

A mosque in the small town of Mahiyangana is forced to close after the building is attacked by a crowd. In recent times, hard-line Buddhist groups have gone on to a series of violent attacks against the country's Muslim minority.

The government loses vote on centralization

The controversial proposal by the Pajapaksa government to transfer power from the provincial assemblies to the central government is voted down in parliament when left-wing politicians join Muslim and Tamil members against the ruling parties. In the past, both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal have ruled that such a law must be approved by the provincial assemblies before it can take effect.

June

Muslim meat shop owners are attacked

Radical Buddhist monks with followers go to attack a Muslim-owned meat shop in the town of Tangalle in the south. The store is vandalized and the owners attacked. Buddhist monks have previously urged people to boycott halal-slaughtered meat.

April

Fonseka forms a new party

Former General and Chief of Defense Sarath Fonseka forms a new political party of his own: the Democratic Party.

The government is accused of political repression

Amnesty International accuses the Rajapaksa government of increasing political oppression of dissent. The human rights organization calls on the Commonwealth to postpone the planned annual meeting in Sri Lanka in November 2013 if the situation on human rights in the country is not improved. Sri Lanka rejects all charges.

Violent attack on Tamil newspaper

Six masked, Sinhalese-speaking people attack the opposition, Tamil-speaking Uthayan newspaper in the city of Kilinochchi in Northern Sri Lanka. Two employees are seriously injured. Uthayan has been attacked several times in recent years and several employees have been killed.

March

New UN resolution on war crime investigation

The UN Human Rights Council adopts a new resolution calling on the Sri Lankan Government to set up an independent and credible investigation into the allegations of war crimes and human rights crimes committed during the end of the Civil War in the spring of 2009 (see also March 2012). The resolution comes at the initiative of the United States. 25 countries voted for the resolution, 13 voted against and 8 countries abstained.

Harassment against the country's Muslims is getting worse

The harsh religious group of Buddhist brigades (BBS) harassment against the country's Muslim minority is growing in strength. Buddhist monks are at the forefront of a crowd of hundreds when they attack and vandalize a Muslim-owned clothing store in Colombo. According to BBS, the Muslims have an undue influence on the country's politics and economy. The Muslim party SLMC is part of the ruling party alliance UPFA.

January

The country's highest judge is dismissed by national law

Parliament puts Supreme Court Chief Judge Bandaranayake before the national court for corruption, even though the country's two highest courts have ruled that this violates the law (see December 2012). Thousands of people, including hundreds of lawyers, demonstrate in Colombo in support of Bandaranayake. The protesters believe that the case is a clear example of how the government is increasingly trying to control the judiciary. Bandaranayake is dropped as expected and then dismissed by the president. She is replaced by former Prosecutor General Mohan Peiris, a close adviser to President Rajapaksa.

 
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