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About Sri Lanka
 
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. known as Ceylon before 1972 is an island nation in South Asia, located about 31 kilometers (18½ mi) off the southern coast of India. Originally known as Heladiva, it is home to around twenty million people.
 
Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia and has been a centre of Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times. Today, Sri Lanka is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation, with a fifth of the population following faiths other than Buddhism – notably Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The Sinhalese community forms the majority of the population (around 78%), with Tamils, who are mostly concentrated in the north and east of the island, forming the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include the Muslim Moors and Malays as well as Burghers. English is widely spoken and is studied as a compulsory secondary language in school.
 
Island has a pleasant tropical climate and average temperature of the low lands ranges between 25-30 degrees Celsius. Famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, rubber and coconuts, Sri Lanka boasts a progressive and modern industrial economy. The natural beauty of Sri Lanka's tropical forests, beaches and landscape, as well as its rich cultural heritage make it a world famous tourist destination.
 
Sri Lanka's Per Capita GDP is presently US$ 900 – the highest in South Asia and the Literacy rate is 92% – the highest in South Asia and second highest in Asia. According to the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) Forecast 1998, Sri Lanka's Business Environment ranks 11th in the region, and 42nd in the world, ahead of India, China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Pakistan.
 
After over two thousand years of rule by local kingdoms, parts of Sri Lanka were colonized by Portugal and the Netherlands beginning in the 16th century, before the control of the entire country was ceded to the British Empire in 1815. During World War II Sri Lanka served as an important base for Allied forces in the fight against the Japanese Empire. A nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century, with the aim of obtaining political independence, which was eventually granted by the British after peaceful negotiations in 1948. Since then Sri Lanka has enjoyed a stable democracy and continuous economic progress, despite the ongoing conflict between the Sri Lankan government and a separatist militant group known as the Tamil Tigers in the northeastern parts of the country.