Sri Lanka, formally the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (previously Ceylon), is a South Asian island nation near south-east India. Sri Lanka has marine boundaries with both India and the Maldives to the northwest and southwest, respectively.
The recorded history of Sri Lanka spans 3,000 years, with evidence of prehistoric human habitation going back at least 125,000 years. From the period of the old Silk Road until World War II, its geographic position and deep harbors rendered it of tremendous strategic significance. From the commencement of British colonial authority until 1972, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon. Sri Lanka’s recent history has been plagued by a thirty-year civil war that was finally ended in 2009 when the Sri Lankan military defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Sri Lanka is a varied and cosmopolitan nation with various faiths, ethnic groups, and languages. It is home to a significant number of Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils, Moors, Burghers, Malays, Kaffirs, and the aboriginal Vedda, in addition to the majority Sinhalese. Sri Lanka has a significant Buddhist history, with the Pli Canon, the earliest known Buddhist texts of Sri Lanka, dating back to the Fourth Buddhist Council in 29 BC.
Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state with a semi-presidential government. Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the legislative capital, is a suburb of Colombo, the commercial capital and biggest metropolis.
Sri Lanka has a long history of international involvement, having founded the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and being a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Group of 77, and the Non-Aligned Movement. Sri Lanka, along with the Maldives, is one of two South Asian nations presently ranked as having high human development on the Human Development Index.