Sri Lanka was the first Asian country known to have a female ruler: Anula of Anuradhapura (r. Sri Lankan monarchs undertook some remarkable construction projects such as Sigiriya, the so-called "Fortress in the Sky", built during the reign of Kashyapa I of Anuradhapura, who ruled between 477 and 495.
A nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century to obtain political independence, which was granted in 1948; the country became a republic and adopted its current name in 1972.
Sri Lanka's recent history has been marred by a 26-year civil war, which ended decisively when the Sri Lanka Armed Forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009.
The legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo.
Sri Lanka's documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years.).
Along with the Maldives, Sri Lanka is one of only two South Asian countries rated "high" on the Human Development Index (HDI), with its HDI rating and per capita income the highest among South Asian nations.
The island is home to many cultures, languages and ethnicities.
Sri Lankan Bhikkhus studied in India's famous ancient Buddhist University of Nalanda, which was destroyed by Bakhtiyar Khilji.
It is probable that many of the scriptures from Nalanda are preserved in Sri Lanka's many monasteries and that the written form of the Tipitaka, including Sinhalese Buddhist literature, were part of the University of Nalanda.
an indigenous people numbering approximately 2,500 living in modern-day Sri Lanka.
The 19th-century Irish historian James Emerson Tennent theorized that Galle, a city in southern Sri Lanka, was the ancient seaport of Tarshish from which King Solomon is said to have drawn ivory, peacocks, and other valuables.
Vijaya (Singha) is the first of the approximately 189 monarchs of Sri Lanka described in chronicles such as the Dipavamsa, Mahāvaṃsa, Cūḷavaṃsa, and Rājāvaliya.