The history of Sri Lanka has 47 years, but despite the short period of existence, it is full of dramatic events. The country has been the British Dominion of Ceylon since 1948. Since 1972, a full-fledged state is the Republic of Sri Lanka. Since 1983, a civil war has been going on here, now subsiding, then resuming with renewed vigor. The reasons for it are the legacy of British colonization and the policy of discrimination against the Tamil population.
Briefly about the pre-colonization period of the country
The country, like any state in the world, went through several historical stages before becoming Sri Lanka. This is the oldest period - the time of residence on the island of the ancestors of the Veddas, who are indigenous people. Their number today is 2,500 people.
The Iron Age is characterized by the arrival on the island of the Sinhalese, who now constitute the main population of the country. The history of Sri Lanka says that they came here in the VI century BC. from northern India. In the 3rd century BCAD Buddhism dominates.
In the 3rd-13th centuries, the Sinhalese kingdom existed on the island, the capitals of which were the cities of Anuradhapur and Polonnavuwe. Later, due to existing contradictions, the capitals were transferred to different cities.
Several milestones can be noted in the brief history of Sri Lanka. Starting from the 3rd century, Tamils began to penetrate here from India. At first they arrived on the island as merchants. Their numbers gradually increased; in the 13th century, their settlements existed in the northeast of Ceylon. By the end of the century, the Tamil state emerged.
In the XIV-XV centuries, the island was divided into three states - two Sinhalese Kandy and Kotte in the southwest and Tamil with a center on the Jaffna Peninsula. The warlike Tamils raided the Sinhalese states, bringing ruin and horror with them. Since that time, their image has developed as irreconcilable enemies of the Sinhalese. But the constant wars between the islanders distracted them from another, even more terrible danger, a sharp turn in the history of the country of Sri Lanka.
Portuguese colonization (1518-1658)
The period of presence of these conquerors on the island was 140 years. Their main interest was trade and, above all, the growing port settlement of Colombo. Spices, in particular cinnamon, became the main product. The Portuguese called the island Ceylao, hence the name Ceylon. In the future, they began to interfere in the internal affairs of the states existing here and completelysubjugated Jaffa and Kotta.
They made attempts to conquer Kandy in the middle of the 17th century, which led to the fall of Portugal's power on the island. There is another important moment in the history of Sri Lanka. The rulers of the Kandyan kingdom called on the Dutch to expel the colonialists, further aggravating the situation. Internal strife continued. The change of some European conquerors for others did not bring the long-awaited freedom.
Dutch colonization (1602-1796)
Spice trade remained the main interest of Europeans. It can be briefly noted about this stage in the history of the country of Sri Lanka that, having received a monopoly on trade, the Dutch ousted the Portuguese from the entire island in 1658, but left behind the port cities of Galle and Negombo. The independence of Kandy was preserved, but there was no longer the former unity between the inhabitants. There was a split between the Sinhalese highlanders and those living on the plains.
English colonization (1795-1948)
By the end of the 18th century, the British began to seize ports, gradually moving into the territory. The Kandyans resisted, but the fragmentation of the islanders led to the fact that by 1815 the entire territory of the country was under the rule of the British. For the first time in history, the island of Sri Lanka belonged to one state.
The king, captured by the British, was exiled to India, where he died. In the same year, the Candian Convention was signed, according to which the entire territory of the island was transferred to British rule. During the English colonization, the island wasTamil slaves were brought from the state of Tamilnadu (India) to work on the plantations.
During the reign of England there were important changes in the life of the island. The British brought here coffee, tea and rubber, which became the most important products of the country's economy. By 1870, coffee had become the main export commodity, but diseases of the coffee tree caused its plantations to be destroyed. Tea and rubber became the main components of export. All trade, banks, plantations, ports were in the hands of England.
The island was of strategic importance. During World War II, it housed the headquarters of the allies of the anti-Hitler coalition. In 1942, an attempt was made by Japanese troops to seize the ports, but it was successfully repelled. After the war in 1948, Ceylon became a Commonwe alth of Nations under the control of the English king. For the first time in the history of Sri Lanka, its own state appeared, which included the entire territory of the island.
Dominion of Ceylon (1948-1952)
After granting autonomy in 1948, a prime minister was elected to rule the country. They became D. Senanayake - a prominent political figure. His government also included Tamil leaders of Sri Lankan origin. These were the descendants of the inhabitants of the state of Jaffna.
It was under him that the parliament was formed, the basic provisions of self-government were laid down, and the main institutions of statehood were formed. Capital of Sri Lanka determined- Colombo. The history of this city goes back centuries. It owes its name to the Portuguese, who named the city after the famous navigator Columbus. Currently, the official capital, where the president is located, is Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte. Colombo is home to part of the government.
D. Senanayake is called the "father of the Sinhalese", but it was under him that the citizenship law was signed, which made the Indian Tamils outcasts in their own country, which caused great discontent among the Tamil parties in parliament and caused a split between the two peoples. Later, other laws were passed that discriminated against not only Indian Tamils, but also people from India and Pakistan.
Republic of Sri Lanka (1972-1976)
In 1972, in accordance with the newly adopted Constitution of the country, Ceylon changed its name and became known as the Republic of Sri Lanka, which officially dropped the remnants of its colonial status, but remained a member of the Commonwe alth.
In 1977, Yu. R. Jayawardena was chosen as the country's new prime minister. Under him, significant political and economic transformations took place, which determined the country's course towards a free market economy in the likeness of France. A new Constitution is adopted, on the basis of which it received the name of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
In the early 1980s, the LTTE (Tigers of Liberation of Tamil Eelam) organization was created, advocating the creation in the north-east of a country inhabited by a largerpart of the Tamil population, the state of Tamil Eelam. Armed confrontation has been going on since 1983. The number of victims reached 65 thousand people. Tens of thousands of citizens have been affected by terrorist activities.
In 1991, Indian President Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by Tamil extremists. It was revenge for providing military assistance to official power during the 1983 uprising. Two years later, Ranasinghe Premadasa, the President of Sri Lanka, was assassinated. With the participation of Norway in 2002, an agreement on a temporary truce is signed, during which negotiations were held.
They resulted in the agreement of the leaders of the LTTE to grant broad autonomy to the Tamils within the country. But in 2005, Mahinda Rajapakse, who came to power, stopped all negotiations. In February 2010, the country's parliament was dissolved, an opposition leader was arrested by order of the president, and an authoritarian regime was established.