1. World Map/
  2. Asia/
  3. Sri Lanka/
  4. Sri Lanka Timeline

Sri Lanka History Timeline

900BC - 100BC
  • (900 BC) Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka) was founded
  • (543 BC) Colonists from northern India subdued Sri Lanka indigenous Vaddahs (Veddah)
  • (161 BC - 137 BC) Reign of King Duthagamani, construction began on Ruwanmalisaya stupa
200 AD - 1000
  • (277 - 304) 16 reservoirs, including Minneriya Tank and two irrigation canals were built during reign of King Mahasen
  • (993) Anuradhapura captured by Indian Cola Empire
  • (1017) Capital of Sri Lanka transferred to Polonnaruva by Indian Cola Empire
1500 - 1800
  • (1505) Portuguese arrived in Colombo
  • (1518) Portugal and Kingdom of Kotte, Ceylon signed peace treaty
  • (1658) Portuguese forced out by Dutch
  • (1659) Dutch established control over entire island with exception of kingdom of Kandy
  • (1796) British began takeover; island named Ceylon
  • (1802) Treaty of Amiens formally ceded Dutch-controlled part of island to British
  • (1815) British conquered Kingdom of Kandy
  • (1815) British began to bring in Tamil laborers from southern India to work on tea, coffee, coconut plantations
  • (1833) Entire island united under British administration
1900s
  • (1931) Right to vote was granted, power-sharing with Sinhalese-run cabinet began
  • (1937) Capture of wild elephants was banned
  • (1948) British rule ended, Ceylon became independent
  • (1948) United National Party formed first government
  • (1948) Don Stephen Senanayake sworn in as first Prime Minister
  • (1949) Many Indian-Tamil workers deprived of citizenship, became disenfranchised, accused government of discrimination
  • (1956) Sri Lankan Freedom Party formed new government; Solomon Bandaranaike became Prime Minister
  • (1956) Sinhala became official language
  • (1956) Tamils rioted in protest of new laws, more than 100 killed
  • (1958) More than 200 killed in anti-Tamil riots; thousands of Tamils displaced
  • (1959) Prime Minister Bandaranaike assassinated by Buddhist monk; succeeded by his widow, Sirimavo
  • (1960) Sirimavo Bandaranaike elected Prime Minister - world's first female Prime Minister
  • (1960) Sirimavo Bandaranaike began nationalization program, enforced Sinhala Only Law
  • (1964) Cyclone struck Ceylon and India, killing 4,850
  • (1965) United National Party won elections; attempted reversal of nationalization programs
  • (1970) Srimavo Bandaranaike reelected; extended nationalization programs
  • (1972) Ceylon changed name to Sri Lanka; Buddhism selected as primary religion; Sinhala was made official language
  • (1972) Velupillai Prabhakaran, Tamil Tiger leader, formed Tamil New Tigers (TNT); demanded separate Tamil state on island's north and east
  • (1976) TNT renamed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly known as Tigers
  • (1977) United National Party regained power, Junius Richard Jayewardene elected Prime Minister
  • (1977) Separatist Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) party won all seats in Tamil areas
  • (1977) More than 100 Tamils killed in anti-Tamil riots
  • (1978) Cyclone killed 1,500 people
  • (1978) New constitution went into effect, provided for unicameral Parliament with legislative power, Executive President
  • (1978) Junius Richard Jayewardene became first president with executive powers
  • (1981) During three days of anti-Tamil rioting, Jaffna Public Library set on fire; over 97,000 books and manuscripts on Tamil history and culture were destroyed
  • (1983) 13 soldiers killed in LTTE ambush
  • (1983) Anti-Tamil riots broke out, thousands of Tamil citizens killed
  • (1983) Tigers called riots and deaths the beginning of the First Eelam War
  • (1984) First peace talks held in Thimpu, Bhutan between Tamil fighters, Sri Lankan government; Tamil demands rejected, talks broke down
  • (1985) Sri Lanka was founding member of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
  • (1986) Tamil Tigers bombed Airlanka plane at Colombo airport, 16 killed
  • (1987) LTTE pushed into city of Jaffna by government forces
  • (1987) Sri Lankan government created new councils for Tamil areas in north and south
  • (1987) Tamil extremists killed 127 people in Trincomalee
  • (1987) Tamil Tigers exploded a car bomb at Colombo central bus stand killing 113
  • (1987) Operation Liberation began in Jaffra against Tamil rebellion; resulted in over 1,000 deaths and 2,000 arrests
  • (1987) India deployed peacekeeping force to Sri Lanka in Indo-Sri Lankan Accord
  • (1987) 50,000 Indian troops arrived in Jaffna to assist in disarming the Tamil Tigers
  • (1987 - 1989) Thousands of leftists were killed during attempts to topple government
  • (1990) Indian peacekeeping forces began withdrawal

Sri Lanka Photographs

Photos used are from public domain sources and from en.wikipedia.org


Trending on WorldAtlas

Countries of Asia

This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.