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Sri Lanka History Timeline

1900s continued
  • (1990) Second Eelam War began
  • (1990) LTTE expelled over 75,000 Muslims from northern Sri Lanka; rebels killed over 1,000 Muslims in the east
  • (1991) Former Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, killed in suicide bombing by Tamil militant
  • (1993) President Ranasinghe Permadasa killed by LTTE suicide bomber
  • (1994) Chandrika Kumaratunga elected president
  • (1994) Peace talks opened with LTTE and Sri Lankan government
  • (1994) Suicide bomber in Colombo killed 50, including opposition presidential candidate, Gamini Disanayake
  • (1995) Peace talks collapsed when Tamil Tigers attacked Sri Lankan naval vessel, 12 sailors were killed
  • (1995) Third Eelam War began
  • (1995) Sri Lankan forces captured Tamil stronghold of Jaffna
  • (1995 - 2001) War continued across north and east
  • (1997) USA listed LTTE as foreign terrorist organization; LTTE funds in USA were frozen
  • (1998) LTTE bombed one of Sri Lanka's most holy Buddhist shrines, 13 killed, shrine badly damaged
  • (1998) Over 1,000 government troops killed when Tamil Tigers overran Kilinochchi army camp
2000s
  • (2001) Suicide bomb attack at International Airport killed more than a dozen, destroyed over half Sri Lankan Airlines' fleet
  • (2002) Sri Lankan government, Tamil Tiger rebels signed Norwegian-mediated ceasefire
  • (2002) Weapons de-commissioning began
  • (2002) Road linking Jaffna Peninsula with Sri Linka reopened after 12 years
  • (2002) Government lifted ban on Tamil Tigers; rebels dropped demands for separate state
  • (2002) Sri Lanka, Tamil Tigers exchanged prisoners of war
  • (2003) Tamil Tigers pulled out of peace talks, ceasefire held
  • (2003) Flooding left more than 200 people dead, 4,000 homeless
  • (2004) President dissolved Parliament
  • (2004) Tamil Tigers launched military offensives, regained control of the east
  • (2004) Over 30,000 killed, coastal communities devastated when massive undersea earthquake off Indonesian coast triggered a tsunami
  • (2005) Agreement with Tamil Tigers for sharing of $3 billion in tsunami aid sparked dissent among Sinhalas Tamils and Muslims
  • (2005) Foreign Minister Laksham Kadirgramar assassinated by suspected Tamil Tiger; state of emergency declared
  • (2005) Supreme Court ruled President Chandrika Kumaratunga's final term would expire in December, ending 11-year controversial reign
  • (2005) Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa won presidential election
  • (2005) Third session of peace talks took place with LTTE and Sri Lankan government agreeing to share power
  • (2006) Thousands of civil servants went on strike in Colombo, demanded higher wages, government was paralyzed
  • (2006) Tamil suicide bomber attacked military outpost in Colombo, at least eight killed; government conducted air strikes in Tiger-held territory in retaliation
  • (2006) Tamil Tigers attacked naval convoy near Jaffna
  • (2006) Tigers and government forces resumed fighting in northeast, most intense clashes since 2002 ceasefire
  • (2006) Peace talks held in Geneva failed
  • (2007) US and Italian Ambassadors were wounded when helicopters were fired on by Tamil rebels who mistook them for military target
  • (2007) Police forced hundreds of Tamils out of the capital due to security reasons
  • (2007) Court ordered end to Tamil expulsions
  • (2008) Government declared end to ceasefire, launched major offensive against Tamil Tigers
  • (2008) Sri Lankan military captured Tamil Tiger naval base in Vidattaltivu
  • (2008) Suicide bombing in Anuradhpura by Tamil Tigers killed 27, including former general
  • (2008) Fierce fighting in north inflicted heavy casualties on Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tigers
  • (2009) Government troops captured the town of Kilinochchi, held by the Tamil Tigers for ten years as administrative headquarters; President Mahinda Rajapakse urged rebels to surrender
  • (2009) Sri Lankan forces captured town of Mullaittivu, greatly reduced Tamil Tiger stronghold in north
  • (2009) International concern over humanitarian situation of thousands of civilians trapped in battle zone prompted call for temporary cease-fire which was rejected by the government
  • (2009) Tamil Tigers requested ceasefire and offered peace settlement negotiation after being cut off and running out of supplies; Sri Lankan government refused negotiations, demanded immediate surrender
  • (2009) Citizens fled from battle zone
  • (2009) Tamil Tigers defeated after army forces took last area of their hold on northeast territory

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.