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Naming of Sri Lanka
 
Known as Lamka, Lankadeepa, taprobane, Ceylon.. etc
 
In ancient times, Sri Lanka was known by a variety of names: ancient Greek geographers called it Taprobane and Arabs referred to it as Serendib (the origin of the word "serendipity"). Ceil√£o was the name given to Sri Lanka by the Portuguese when they arrived on the island in 1505, which was transliterated into English as Ceylon. In 1972, the official name of the country was changed to "Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka" whereas the island itself is referred to as lank?va, In 1978 it was changed to "Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka".
 
The current name is derived from Sanskrit word lamk?, meaning "resplendent land", which was also the name of the island as described in the ancient Indian epics Mahabharata and the Ramayana.