During the reign of Devanampiya Tissa in 250 BC, Sri Lanka experienced a major transformation with the arrival of Buddhism. Succeeding kingdoms thereafter kept numerous Buddhist schools and monasteries running.
In 245 BC, Bhikkhuni Sangamitta arrived at the island with the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree, widely considered to be a sapling of the historical Bodhi tree in which Gautama Buddha had become enlightened. Today, it is the oldest human-planted tree in the world.
Sri Lanka reached the height of its power during the 12th century under the ruling of Parakramabahu the Great. In addition to the thousands of reservoirs he had built, Parakramabahu's greatest construction project was the Parakrama Samudra - the largest irrigation system of medieval Sri Lanka.
British to find a replacement export in tea production.
Long known as Ceylon, and as a popular port-of-call, the country declared independence in 1948, subsequently changing its name to Sri Lanka in 1972.
For the decades that followed, internal strife seemed indigenous to Sri Lanka, as tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists finally erupted into a civil war in 1983.
Tens of thousands died in that ethnic conflict, and although now on the proverbial back burner, social and governmental conflicts continue to fester.
tsunami on December 26, 2004.
Today, this tropical island is once again on the radar screens of worldwide travelers, as Sri Lanka is rebuilding itself into one of the fastest growing economies of the world, and making a strong comeback, especially in tourism.
About Sri Lanka
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