The two- storey white building of the Colombo National Museum Sri Lanka.

The island of Sri Lanka, that cast adrift amidst the blue waves of the Indian Ocean, is indeed significant in numerous aspects. To be specific, it is a natural and cultural treasure trove. The amazing cascades, golden shores, wonderful wildlife, and what so not? All these things together enhance the grandeur of this delightful island beyond a doubt. Apart from that, the isle of Sri Lanka holds with it a marvelous historical background entangled with a rich culture and valuable traditions. Of course, they are capable of amazing anyone who explores it. Further, the journey of Sri Lanka thus far, passing various significant milestones are worth getting to know. Hence, through this read, we thought of sharing with you the graceful history of Sri Lanka. 

Significant Eras of the History of Sri Lanka 

For a better overview we structured this article focusing on the most remarkable eras of the history of Sri Lanka. You can find below the main highlights of them. 

  • Pre-Historic Era
    • Indo-Aryan Migration
  • Ancient Kingdoms in Sri Lanka
    • Anuradhapura Kingdom
    • Polonnaruwa Kingdom
    • Dambadeniya Kingdom
      • Rule from Yapahuwa
      • Rule from Kurunegala
    • Gampola Kingdom
    • Kotte Kingdom
    • Kandy Kingdom
  • Colonization in Sri Lanka
    • South Indian Invasions 
    • European Invasions
  • Sri Lanka achieving Independence
  • Sri Lanka after Independence
    • JVP Revolt
    • Becoming a Republic
    • Balck July
    • Civil War
    • Easter Attack

Knowing these significant historical eras and incidents, you might be surely excited to know more about them. So, why not? Let us begin exploring its saga, in the best way possible! 

Pre-historic Era

The wonderful history of Sri Lanka runs back to several hundred thousands of years. To be specific, the evidence of human civilizations on this island dates back to a time period of around 125,000 years ago. As per the beliefs, the prehistoric era of this splendid island is built upon the Balangoda man, belonging to a group of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers who lived in caves. Thus, they are considered the first inhabitants of this wonderful island. 

Remnants of these inhabitants found through the excavations reveal that hunting, trading as well as agriculture have been popular even in those early dates. Moreover, they also exhibit evidence that prehistoric Sri Lanka had culturally united with South Indian culture as well. However, all these features of the prehistoric era are solely based on archeological evidence. Apart from that, the Buddhist chronicles reveal that Lord Buddha visited this island thrice, when Yakkhas (demon worshippers), Nagas (cobra worshippers), and Devas (god worshippers) were residing in Sri Lanka. 

However, the recorded history of Sri Lanka starts from the period of 6th century BCE. It is the Pali chronicles, mainly, the Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa, Thupavamsa, Chulavamsa, and the stone inscriptions that feature the history of Sri Lanka thenceforth. As per those records, the main incident that initiated the history of this island is the Indo-Aryan migration. So, before exploring any further, let us get to know about this significant incident as well. 

Indo-Aryan Migration

As per the Mahawansa, Prince Viajaya and his 700 followers arrived in Sri Lanka, from Vanga, India. They landed at ‘Manthota’, a shore in Mannar, on the day that Lord Buddha passed away. What they first saw when they arrived on this land, was the golden shaded sand. Thus, they called Sri Lanka, ‘Thambapanni’, which meant, ‘the land of copper-coloured sand’. 

While exploring this island, Prince Vijaya found Kuweni, a lady from the Yakkha tribe. They married, and Disala and Jeewahatta were their children. There is a belief that it was from them that the Sinhalese, or the Indu-Aryan civilization began. However, the followers of Vijaya that came to Sri Lanka with him settled on various areas of this island. Further, they also ruled the areas that they resided. However, time passed, and several other groups arrived in Sri Lanka. Some groups were to marry the people who settled on this island, and the other were their relations to help the governance of this country. 

When considering the rule of ancient Sri Lanka, Prince Vijaya established the Kingdom of Thambanni, and ruled the country from 543 BC to 505 BC. Next his Chief Minister, Upatisse continued the rule from 505 BC to 504 BC. Panduvasdeva, the nephew of Prince Vijaya was the ruler from 504 BC to 474 BC, and then King Abhaya, the son of Panduvasdeva continued the rule from 474 BC to 454 BC. Next, King Tissa, younger brother of King Abhaya took the rule.  

Of course, all these rulers did their best in their capacities, to prosper the lives of citizens, while flourishing the country. Yet, none of these rulers could out-stand as eminent rulers. Time passed by, and following these incidents, the governance of the country passed into a series of kingdoms.

Ancient Kingdoms in the History of Sri Lanka

The successive ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka got their names according to the location of their administrative capitals. It is true that the Kingdom of Thambapanni and the Kingdom of Upatissa initiated the concept of ‘kingdoms’ in Sri Lanka. Still, it is the below kingdoms that we consider as the well established successive ancient kingdoms of this island. 

1Anuradhapura Kingdom377 BC1017 AD
2Polonnaruwa Kingdom1056 AD1236 AD
3Dambadeniya Kingdom1236 AD1272 AD
4Gampola Kingdom1345 AD1408 AD
5Kotte Kingdom1408 AD1598 AD
7Kandy Kingdom 1590 AD1815 AD
Kingdoms of Sri Lanka

Each of these contributed in varying scales to the prosperity and the independence of the Sri Lankan civilization. And going beyond, each of these kingdoms have a series of interesting stories that can never be missed. Hence, their significance is worth exploring. So, for a better overview, let us have a quick glance over the specialities of them, according to the order that they overtook the rule. 

Anuradhapura Kingdom

By now, you know that Prince Vijaya’s followers, and the other groups who arrived in Sri Lanka afterward, settled in various areas of this island. Accordingly, their rule continued, and Prince Pandukabhaya was ruling the ‘Anuradha Gama’, the area which is known as ‘Anuradhapura’ in the present. His leadership, and the strategies of ruling the city was indeed remarkable. Thus, the Kingdom of Anuradhapura emerged great, setting the path to a series of kingdoms, creating significant milestones in the history of Sri Lanka. 

A number of noteworthy incidents took place during the Anuradhapura period. When King Devanampiyatissa was ruling the country, Empire Ashoka in India sent his son, Arhat Mahinda in order to establish Buddhism on this splendid island. The king, as well as the citizens, embraced Buddhism, and accordingly, Sri Lanka became a Buddhist country during this kingdom. 

Also, you might have heard about Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Sri Lanka. It is the most ancient and the most sacred tree on this island. And the specialty is, it was during this era when King Devanampiyatissa was ruling that Sri Lanka got this Bo sapling, which was the southern branch of the Bo Tree in India, under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. 

Apart from that, a number of religious sites, and large reservoirs, came up during this period, with the contribution of the Royal dynasty. In addition, this era also gifted Sri Lanka a series of cultural and religious values that are second to none. Being the first well-established kingdom in the history of Sri Lanka, there are indeed a lot of interesting facts about this wonderful kingdom. Also, it has gifted a number of places to visit in the present as well. So, why not read our article on the ‘Kingdom of Anuradhapura’ for a better overview? 

Polonnaruwa Kingdom

Of course, the Anuradhapura Kingdom had a good number of great rulers. Still, towards the end of the era, the kingdom was weakening owing to the poor leadership of the Kings. Meanwhile, a group from the South Indians from the Chola Empire invaded Anuradhapura. Yet, since the city of Anuradhapura was not in a good condition, Cholas decided to move their administrative capital. As a result of this, they chose Polonnaruwa as their metropolis, and this led the path to the establishment of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa. 

Since this kingdom was initiated by Chola, the socio-cultural impacts of Hinduism were prominent during this era. Renaming the kingdom as ‘Jananathapuram’, and building Hindu shrines are the main features of the past that prove this factor. Yet, with the strategic invasions of the Sinhalese King Vijayabahu(I), the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was back in the hands of Sinhalese. Accordingly, the rule continued. And a number of crowned heads contributed their best, in flourishing the kingdom. 

Among the Royal Dynasty of the Polonnaruwa era, the most significant were King Prakramabahu, and King Nishshankamalla. Their service in terms of developing the agricultural aspects of the country, while bringing forth the cultural and religious values is indeed appreciable. 

The irrigation systems created those days are still functioning, prospering the city, and ‘Parakrama Samudraya’, is one of the most remarkable reservaiours among them. Also, the still existing ruins of the religious places, and the royal buildings, exhibit the architectural and the artistic values of the period even at the present. 

You can still witness the grandeur of this kingdom, by visiting these places in Polonnaruwa. Also, if you are excited to know more about this wonderful kingdom, never forget to read our article on ‘Polonnaruwa Kingdom’ as well. 

Dambadeniya Kingdom

While the Polonnaruwa Kingdom was weakening, Kalinga-Magha, a Chola ruler invaded the kingdom. It was one of the most destructive invasions that ever happened in the history of Sri Lanka. It not only impacted the governance of the country, but also the socio-cultural, and economical status of the island as well. However, during this period of decline, the chief priests in Polonnaruwa hid the sacred valuables of Buddhists, the tooth relic of Lord Buddha, and his alms-bowl, in a place in Kotmale Area. Later on, King Vijayabahu (III) got these valuables. As you might already know there is a tradition that the person who possesses the tooth relic of the Lord Buddha, becomes the ruler of the island. Accordingly, King Vijayabahu (III) established a kingdom in Dambadeniya, and became the crown head of the country.   

Following King Vijayabahu (III), King Parakrambahu (II) inherited the throne. He was a person with a high aesthetic interest. Thus, his contributions in the field of literature is indeed remarkable. Next, King Bosath Vijayabahu, the eldest son of King Parakramabahu took the throne. He was famous as a decent and modest ruler with a high concern on religious activities. Still, he could only rule the country for two years, since one of his Ministers named Miththa, killed him. Next, his brother, King Bhuvanekabahu I became the ruler, and he also continued his reign as a modest ruler focusing highly on religious activities. 

However, King Buwanekabahu I found Dambadeniya insecure as a kingdom. Owing to this reason, he shifted his administrative capital to Yapahuwa Fortress, and he continued the rule from there. 

Rule from Yapahuwa

It was during the latter part of the 13th century that King Buwanakabahu moved to Yapahuwa. Also, the rock fortress he chose was a 90 meter high rock boulder. It was made out of rock. An ornamental staircase led to the top of the rock, which still exists. All these features together, made this fortress one of the most secure places that is ideal for a kingdom, especially during an insecure background. Hence, there is no wonder in King Buwanekabahu choosing this wonderful location as the center for his rule.  

Indeed, the structure of Yapahuwa fortress reminds of Sigiriya as well. Also, it is obviously one of the amazing masterpieces of the history of Sri Lanka. However, on the top of this fortress are ruins of Dagoba, an enclosure of a Bo tree, and a rock cave. Owing to their presence, it is believed that this place was a Buddhist monastery prior to the establishment of the kingdom. 

During the period of the rule, the tooth relic was placed in a temple built on the top of the third stairway. However, later Pandyans carried them to South India. King Parakramabahu III managed to return them back in 1288, and he then placed them in the temple of the tooth relic in Polonnaruwa for safety. 

The rule from Yapahuwa concluded with the invasions of Pandyans. Thereafter, Yapahuwa remained as a site for religious ascetics. However, Yapahuwa still stands majestically, and many choose to visit this site, to enjoy climbing its stairway, while witnessing its grandeur and splendour. 

Kurunegala Kingdom

King Buwanekabahu II, the son of King Buwanekabahu I established the Kurunegala Kingdom in 1303. Still, he passed away two years after taking up the rule. Next, his son King Parakramabahu IV continued the reign. He played a considerably significant role, when comparing with the other rulers of the Kingdom of Kurunegala. Some of his noteworthy contributions are translating the Buddhist Jataka Katha into Sinhala, and bringing up a number of religious places.  

Thereafter, King Bhuvanaikabahu III ruled the country for 9 years. Still, the history of Sri Lanka, does not hold detailed information about his contributions. King Vijayabahu V and King Bhuvanaikabahu IV were the successive rulers who reigned the Kingdom of Kurunegala. Even they both were not able to make any significant involvement in prospering the country. As their rule ended, the Kingdom of Kurunegala faced a downfall. 

So, when going through these details, even you might feel that the Kingdom of Kurunegala was not a highlighting period in the history of Sri Lanka. Yet, if you visit Kurunegala, you will be able to observe the ruins of the temple of the tooth relic, as well as a few religious places established during this era. 

Gampola Kingdom

It was King Bhuvanaikabahu IV, the last king of the Kurunegala kingdom, that shifted his administrative capital to Gampola. Thus, he is considered the founder of the Gampola Kingdom. It was not that much of a significant kingdom in the history of Sri Lanka. Still, for a better overview, let us brief you on what really happened during this period. 

After King Buvaneikabahi IV, it was his brother named King Parakramabahu V that took up the rule. Still, King Vikramabahu III, the son of King Buvaneikabahi IV dethroned him and sent him to Malaya. The period of King Vickramabahu III was quite significant. As he began his rule, he held a festival on behalf of the tooth relic. Apart from that, he built a shrine in Nandigama. Moreover, the ancient rock temple of Gadaladeniya is also a work of his. However, the generation of ‘Alagakkonara’ became stronger during this period, since they helped defeat ‘Arya Chakrawarthi’, a Tamil ruler.

The last king of the Gampola Kingdom was King Buwanekabahu V. His reign lasted for nearly 30 years. Meanwhile, King Weerabahu II ruled the area Raigama. A member of the Alagakkonara family, King Vijayabahu VI, seized the throne from him. However, owing to these undesirable conditions, a Chinese Ambassador who was in Sri Lanka by then, sent King Vijayabahu VI to China. With these incidents, the Kingdom of Gampola ceased. 

Not that many ancient ruins, and sculptures remain from this ancient kingdom. Still, the famous cultural and religious attractions, Ambekke Devalaya, Lankathilaka Temple, and the Gadaladeniya Viharaya that we mentioned earlier, are places to visit in Gampola.  

Kotte Kingdom

This kingdom had a wonderful location, with a swamp guarding it. However, it was first a fortress, established by Minister Alakesvara. He was from the generation of Alagakkonara that emerged strongly during the Kingdom of Gampola. Besides, it was King Parakramabahu VI from Raigam, who later made this fortress a kingdom, choosing it as his capital city in 1412. 

He first captured Vanni, and then Jaffna. Accordingly, he could unify the whole country by 1450. The reign continued, and 10 years after the death of King Parakramabahu VI, the power of the regional kingdoms increased immensely. Owing to this reason, the downfall of the Kotte Kingdom happened step by step. 

One of the main reasons that impacted the decline of the power of this kingdom, was the ‘Wijayaba Kollaya’. What happened with regard was that the three sons of King Vijayabahu VII killed their father owing to a dispute among themselves, and then divided the kingdom into three as Kotte, Seethawaka, and Raigama. Seethawaka emerged powerful among them. 

Meanwhile, it was in 1505, that the Portuguese arrived in Sri Lanka. Accordingly, Buvenekabahu VII got the support of the Portuguese to face the attacks from Seethawaka. Buvenekabahu VII was killed by a Portuguese soldier, and his baptized son Dharmapala was the heir. 

Dharmapala was not strong enough to face the attacks from Seethawaka. So, he moved to Colombo for survival, and most of the parts of Kotte was captured by Seethawaka. Still, after the downfall of Seethawaka, all these areas belonged back to Kotte. Finally, the Kotte kingdom concluded as Dharmapala gifted this kingdom to the Portuguese throne in 1597. 

There are no significant ruins from the Kotte kingdom to observe in the present. Still, the contribution of this era for the flourishing of Sinhala Literature is indeed appreciable. 

Kandy Kingdom

During the period of the Kotte Kingdom, Sena Sammatha Wickramabahu successfully led a rebellion against the Kotte Kingdom. As a result, he established a semi-independent kingdom in Kandy. It did not emerge strong while the Kotte Kingdom existed. Still, with the power of Kotte Kingdom being transferred for Portugese, it paved its way forward in becoming a strong kingdom, in the history of Sri Lanka. 

By now, you clearly know that Portugese were here in Sri Lanka. And later on, even Dutch and British colonized this splendid island. Hence, many of the Kings who ruled in the Kandyan era, had to deal with them, and fight several wars.   

Towards the end of the Kingdom, even the Nayakas from Madurai, India were invited to continue the Royal dynasty. Owing to these reasons, some of the rulers were more interested in giving shades of the Hindu culture to the kingdom. Still, many of the rulers respected and served Buddhism, and contributed to its flourishment.   

During the period of King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, Pilimatalawe, King’’s first aristocrat, began secret operations. Betrayals continued, and this led British to easily take the power of Sri Lanka into their hands in 1815.  This happened with the signing of a convention. Accordingly, the authority of the Sri Lankan rule was handed over to the British Crown, marking an end of over 2000 self-rule of this splendid island. 

This is just a glimpse of the Kingdom of Kandy. If you wish to get to know more about it, simply check our article on ‘King of Kandy’. Also, if you visit Kandy, you will be able to witness the shades of these Kandyan Era, among many of the cultural and religious attractions, out of which, the Temple of Tooth Relic, remains remarkable.    

Colonizations in the History of Sri Lanka

When considering the timeline of the history of Sri Lanka, this island was a colony for over 500 years. Hence in the journey of exploring the Sri Lankan saga, we cannot ignore the period of colonizations. With regard, the following incidents, and the eras are significant. 

  • South Indian Invasions
  • Portugese Invasions
  • Dutch Period
  • British Colonization

There are a series of interesting episodes that took place during each of these periods. So, why not? Let us have a quick glance over their significance and their impacts as well.  

South Indian Invasions

If you read our article this far, South Indian invasions are not something new for you. To be specific, we came across a number of Chola and Pandya invasions, in the history that we traversed so far. 

However, the first time a South Indian party colonized Sri Lanka was when Sena Guttika invaded Anuradhapura. They were two horse riders, and they killed King Suriyatiisa, who was the ruler by then, and conquered the city. Later on, King Asela killed Sena Guttika and continued the Sinhalese monarchy again.   

Next, in the South Indian colonization timeline comes the Elara invasion, as a significant milestone. The Chole Prince Elara conquered Anuradhapura and reigned for almost 44 years. His period remained strong and noteworthy. However, it was King Dutugamunu, who released the country from his rule, following a great battle.  

Afterward, several years later, a series of Chola invasions took place. They started to invade Sri Lanka from the North. King Rajaraja (I) was the ruler behind these invasions. They tried to expand their rule further. Still, they failed in captivating Anuradhapura at a stretch. However, the Chola dynasty continued. Following the downfall of the Anuradhapura Kingdom, they got perfect opportunities to get the kingdom into their hands. Later on, it is these Chola rulers who established the Polonnaruwa Kingdom as well. Later on, in 1070 A.D King Vijayabahu (I) unified the island and was crowned as the first Sinhala king in Polonnaruwa, bringing this Chola reign to an end. 

The final significant South Indian invasion in the history of Sri Lanka was by Kalinga Magha. He was an ill-famed ruler owing to his disastrous behavior and disrespect to Buddhism. However, as mentioned earlier, this led the way to the establishment of the Dambadeniya kingdom. 

Portugese Period

In 1505, Portuguese accidentally first arrived at Galle. Yet, identifying the significant location of the country, and its treasures such as spices, gems, etc. they continued their sail to Colombo. However, they managed to secure a trade agreement with the King of Kotte during this visit. Accordingly, the new relationships were set between the two parties, and later on, Portugese colonized the island of Sri Lanka.  

This happened during the Kotte Kingdom. As we mentioned earlier, King Buvenekabahu VII got the support of the Portuges to face the attacks from Seethawaka. And finally, Buvenekabahu VII was killed by a Portugese soldier, and his baptized son Dharamapala was the heir. Following a series of incidents, Dharamapala handed over the Kotte Kingdom to the Portuguese crown, making Sri Lankan a colony of them.  

Accordingly, Sri Lanka was under the rule of Portuguese for around 150 years. The impacts of these colonization still exist in the cultures and traditions of Sri Lanka. Several incidents took place during this period. For a better overview check our article on the ‘Sri Lankan Colonization History’.    

Dutch Period

As the foreign trade developed, Dutch started sailing to the Sri Lankan ports. As a result, new connections were built with Dutch, and King Wimaladharmasuriya requested the support of the Dutch in order to sweep off the Portuguese from the island. Accordingly, Dutch agreed to provide military support, in return for a commercial concession.This is believed to be one of the worst decisions made by the Sri Lankan monarchy. Of course, this led the path for the Ducth to invade Sri Lanka. Several battles took place between Portuguese, Ducth, and Sinhalese, and finally, Portuguese left the country in 1656, creating opportunities for Ducth to establish their rule on this island. Next, Dutch attacked the Kandy Kingdom, and slowly expanded their territory and set up a Dutch Colonization in Sri Lanka in 1658. 

This is just a glimpse of how the Dutch settled in Sri Lanka, and what made them establish their rule. Many more remarkable incidents took place with regard, and they are worth getting to know. Why miss them? Check our article on the ‘Sri Lankan Colonization History’, to enlighten yourself about everything related.

British Colonization

While the Dutch rule was continuing, the British slowly moved to Sri Lanka. One of the best opportunities for them to approach this island was the ‘British East India Company’. However, in 1796, during the French revolution, the Dutch officially had to hand over Sri Lanka to the British, due to an agreement they had. Later on, in 1802, the British declared Sri Lanka a colony of the British crown. Afterward, the British maintained close connections with the Kandy Kingdom, and pretended that they were ready to assist the kings who ruled the kingdom by then. Yet, their plan was to capture the Kandy Kingdom, and the disputes and the betrayals that happened among Sinhalese these days, made British invade Kandy with no time. Finally, in 1815, with a treaty signed between the parties, the Monarchy of the Independent Sri Lanka concluded. 

At first, Kandy went well under the British rule. Yet, later on issues arose, and Sri Lankans were not happy to be under the British rule. As a result, the Uva Rebellion took place. Yet, Sinhalaese were not strong enough to stand against British. As a result of this, Kandy was also annexed to the British rule. With that, the whole island became a colony of the British rule thenforth. 

This section thus concludes the brief summary about the colonization in the history of Sri Lanka. Of course, this was just a quick run through. If you are interested in knowing more about the interesting episodes that took place in between, never forget to check our article on, ‘Sri Lankan Colonization History’ as well. 

Sri Lanka Achieving Independence

Sri Lanka continued its journey as a British colony. Yet Sri Lankan were never happy with it. Until Sri Lankan became a colony of the British crown, Sri Lankans always had a king that the citizens could see, and get to know about. Majority of the kings of the Sri Lankan monarchy appreciated and served for the flourishing of Buddhism. Sri Lankan kings knew the culture of the country, and the citizens had opportunities to contact Sinhalese representatives of the governing body, who had direct contacts with the king. Yet, all these things changed as Sri Lanka became a colony of the British rule. 

Thus, Sri Lankans felt the urge of self rue. Owing to this fact, in the 19th century, while the British rule was continuing, nationalism arose in the island of Sri Lanka. Accordingly, the Ceylon National Congress (CNC) was established in 1919. It was a political party, formed with representatives of all communities in Sri Lanka.  Also, the involvement of the middle class educated patriots in this course was a noteworthy factor. 

This group, together with the majority of the Sri Lankans carried out several actions. Yet, it was a peaceful political movement with no wars and bloodshed. Finally, after much effort, Sri Lankans succeeded in achieving Independence, on 4th February, 1948. It was a huge accomplishment of the whole Sri Lanka. Thus, thenceforth,  the efforts of the patriots in establishing a self-rule is annually commemorated on this day. 

History of Sri Lanka after Independence

Later in the history of Sri Lanka upto date, a number of significant milestones passed. Some of them are as follows. 

  1. The armed revolt by JVP (1971)
  2. Becoming a Republic (1972)
  3. Black July (1983)
  4. Civil War (1983 – 2009) 
  5. Armed revolt by JVP  
  6. Easter Attack (2019)

You might be surely wondering how these incidents impacted Sri Lanka. Continue reading, and the following sections will briefly give you an idea about it. 

The Armed Revolt by JVP

What Sri Lanka achieved on 4th February 1948 was not real independence, but a dominion status. So, the Sri Lankan governance was going ahead accordingly, and Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the prime minister by then. However, there was a party named Janatha Wimukthi Peramuna (JVP), formed in the 1960s.  They were bearing revolutionary opinions, and they started a revolt against the government in 1971. Their aim was to get the power of the country into their hands. Still, how they tried to achieve it was through armed power. Thus, their missions created a series of disasters for this island of Sri Lanka. This is just a glimpse of it. If you are interested to know more about this, simply check our article on ‘Significant Milestones of Sri Lanka after Independence’.

Becoming a Republic

Sri Lanka was still a dominion. Thus, the British still had control over the higher positions of the government and the military. Of course, Sri Lanka benefitted in certain aspects as a dominion, owing to their development plans, and their institutions. Yet, what Sri Lanka longed for was complete independence. However, after remaining as a dominion for almost 25 years, Sri Lanka achieved the state of the republic. Accordingly, on 22nd May 1972, this country became fully independent. Thereafter, this island became the ‘Republic of Sri Lanka’. 

Along with this transition, a number of political reforms took place. They not only impacted the economy, but also the socio-cultural aspects of Sri Lanka. So, why not? Check our article on ‘Significant Milestones of Sri Lanka after Independence’ to get to know more about them.

Black July (1983)

As the name suggests, this incident created a dark era on this wonderful island. The reason behind this incident was the inequality Tamils in Sri Lanka faced as an ethnic minority. Black July came up with the support of a few political parties that supported the Tamils in the Northern and the Northern Eastern provinces. However, this made the lives of both Sinhalese and Tamils uncertain, creating a thrilling episode in the history of Sri Lanka. Also, this was a factor that influenced the formation of LTTE, the party that later entered into a civil war. 

However, the impacts this incident had on Sri Lanka is simply indescribable. Of course, it strongly affected the unity among the various communities living in Sri Lanka as well. So, this is just a summary of this incident ‘Black July’. Read our article on ‘Significant Milestones of Sri Lanka after Independence’ to get to know more about them.

Civil War ( 1983 – 2009 )

Simply, one of the most disastrous eras of the history of Sri Lanka. As a result of the Black July, many Tamils left the country and they joined several Tamil military groups. Accordingly, LTTE was one of the main Tamil groups that got active on this island of Sri Lanka. They demanded a separate state for them, and this led the way to the civil war that lasted for nearly three decades. This made Sri Lanka face a huge downfall. Also, Sri Lanka lost several thousands of valuable lives owing to this unfortunate situation. The Sri Lankan government tried to resolve the issues through ‘peace talks’. Still, the attempts failed. However, after much struggle, after losing nearly 80,000 valuable lives, the 30 years of the civil war of Sri Lanka reached an end, when Sri Lankan forces killed the leader of the LTTE, on 7th May 2009. 

Nevertheless, the hazardous impacts it had on Sri Lanka, still exists. The downfall of the economy, the tourism and trade, and above all, the grievance it brought to the several hundred thousands of Sri Lankan lives can never be ignored. However, Sri Lanka is now recovering. And how it paves its way forward after this incident is worth getting to know. Of course, we are ready to share with you everything with regard. Simply read our article on ‘Significant Milestones of Sri Lanka after Independence’, for a better overview. 

Easter Attack (2019)

While Sri Lanka was recovering from the dark shades of a miserable era, it again had to face an undesirable occurrence. That was the Easter attack, which happened on Easter Sunday, the 21st of April 2019. It was a series of attacks that took place within a single day, focusing on a few churches, and a few luxury hotels in Colombo. This incident made 267 innocent people, including 45 tourists, lose their valuable lives. Also, it gave rise to a series of issues in terms of economic, and socio-culture as well. However, amidst all these impacts, Sri Lanka started its journey again, to prosper again in the best way possible. 

The Present Sri Lanka

Today, 72 years after establishing self-rule, Sri Lanka is prospering amidst the several undesirable instances it faced. It is not a secret that Sri Lanka delayed investments, and lacked opportunities to achieve amazing progress over the past century. Still, Sri Lanka’s journey so far is exceptional when considering the hardships it endured. 

The economy is booming again, and the infrastructure is being implemented. Sri Lanka got a series of highways, and a number of projects are on the go, in expanding and developing the airports of the island. Moreover, this land of splendors, Sri Lanka, is now re-positioning as a significant tourist attraction, dawning a new era for the tourism industry. Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, is on the way to becoming a modern business hub’ with a number of wonderful establishments. With all these things, Sri Lanka has simply paved the way forward in becoming the ‘Wonder of Asia’. With all these massive-scale projects, we are sure that it would mark a golden era in its journey to the future, in the years to dawn!  

Museums in Sri Lanka

While exploring the grandeur of the history of Sri Lanka, you might have surely wondered how amazing it would be to study it furthermore. Nothing to worry about! Sri Lanka has got several wonderful museums, covering every aspect of its past. We have shared with you briefs about each of these museums, for your information.

1. Colombo National Museum

Colombo National Museum is undoubtedly the most significant museum in Sri Lanka. It was established in 1877, by Sir William Henry Gregory, the British Governor of Ceylon at the time. Thenceforth, it sheltered a good collection of historical artifacts, exhibiting the natural and the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka, at its best. Not only that, the guides in the museum enlighten the visitors about the ornaments there, and the evolutions with regard. Also, it houses a number of galleries, dedicated for various eras, subjects, and themes, making it convenient for the visitors for exploration. Owing to these facts, the Colombo National Museum, is undoubtedly one of the best in the island, to explore the delight of the history of Sri Lanka. 

2. National Museum of Natural History

Simply, the one and only museum in Sri Lanka, that especially features the natural heritage of this splendid island. It holds with it a large collection of specimens belonging to various types of animal groups, as well as plants and geological rocks. Also, it especially focuses on educating the visitors about the endemic species, and their importance as well. With all these amazing features, it never fails to amaze the visitors and invoke curiosity in them to explore more. This is on the same premises as the Colombo National Museum and happens to be a must-visit for nature lovers. 

3. Dutch Museum

It is a two-storied building in Colombo 1. Indeed, one of the finest places to witness the elegance of the Dutch Period in Sri Lanka. It shelters nearly 3000 valuable objects that belong to this period and is undoubtedly a reflection of the exclusivity of the Dutch. Thus, if you are interested in exploring the delight of this period, make sure you visit it. 

4. Kandy National Museum

Going through this read, you surely know how remarkable the Kandy Period was. In addition, let us highlight again that the artistic values of this period were highly impressive. Curious to witness their charm? If so, the Kandy National Museum is the best place for you to visit. It has more than 5000 objects that exhibit the grandeur of the Kandyan period. So, if you ever visit Kandy, never forget to visit this museum as well. 

5. Ratnapura National Museum

This national museum located in the city of Ratnapura, is a perfect place to observe the features of the prehistoric era. Also, it reflects the significance of the Sabaragamuwa Province. Together with the archaeological inventions, and the anthropological and the zoological artifacts, it creates an ideal place for many who love to study about them.  

6. Galle National Museum

City of Galle was a significant attraction even in the past, owing to the harbour it houses. Hence, Europeans, especially Dutch had a significant bond with this splendid city. The Galle National Museum located in the Galle Fort reflects the remnants of those eras, while highlighting the cultural and historical heritage of Southern Sri Lanka. So, if you ever visit Galle, never miss the chance of exploring it! 

7. Maritime Museum 

By now, you clearly know how the blue waves surrounding this island impacted the journey of Sri Lanka. Of course, it was through these ports that the trade continued those days, and hence, a noteworthy culture woven around the coasts of Sri Lanka existed. Maritime Museums in Galle is one of the best places to observe this aspect. It not only features the maritime equipment and techniques, but also the marine ecosystem, featuring flora and fauna, corals, etc. Thus, this place is simply wonderful. Visit it yourself, and witness its delight.    

8. Anuradhapura Folk Museum

This museum highlights the uniqueness of the socio-cultural aspects of the folk community in Nuwara-Kalaviya area. Thus, they exhibit a good collection of objects that signifies the related cultural and religious values. Also, this museum exhibits the traditional knowledge and the practices of this specific society. After all, this is located in the old- Anuradhapura town, and is a place worth visiting. 

9. Independence Memorial Museum

Having explored the history of Sri Lanka, you surely know how hard it was for Sri Lankans to achieve independence. Still, a number of occurrences created disturbances for the independence of this land. In each of those instances, the contributions of the Sri Lankans to regain independence can never be ignored. Hence, a museum was specially created to exhibit pride with regard and to commemorate their efforts. This museum is located in Independence square, in Colombo 07. If interested, make sure you pay a visit.  

10. Magampura Ruhuna Heritage Museum

This museum was specially established to highlight the special features of the region of Ruhuna. Accordingly, it houses a good collection of artifacts that exhibit pride with regard. Moreover, the political, social, and scientific aspects they feature are worth exploring. In addition, this place is a fine source of knowledge, for any of the researchers interested in this field.

The Bottom Line

The peaceful atmosphere dawned, marking the end of a three decade war was simply a boon for the island of Sri Lanka. This really accelerated the blossoming of a nation obscure. Besides, passing a number of eras, experiencing several peaks and valleys, Sri Lanka is still standing strong. Beyond a shadow of doubt, it will stand strong in the future as well. Further, we certainly know that witnessing the exclusivity of this isle of Sri Lanka, that holds a majestical history and heritage, is simply a dream of any traveller. So, what are you waiting for? Sri Lanka is awaiting to welcome you with a happy heart! Plan your trip, and arrive on this wonderland. 

Happy and safe travelling!