Those who wish to understand the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka must first have an insight in to its history. To be able to appreciate the true nature of beauty found in the ancient art and architecture of the island one must know something about Buddhism. Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage is a record of the progress of Buddhism, which in itself is a cultural heritage it can offer to the rest of the world.
The pear shaped island of Sri Lanka is 270 miles north south and 140 miles east west axis. The shallow palk strait separates India from Ceylon by 20 miles at Talaimannar. The numerous publications of the Museums and Archaeological Department refer to the existence of prehistoric animal life and man. The earliest recorded history talks about a very powerful King called Ravana who was using flying machines and abducted wife of a Prince in India called Rama who fought King Ravana for several years and with the support of Ravana’s brother who defected with Rama and defeated Ravana. Although some say this story is a myth, there are several locations in Sri Lanka bearing names of Ravana, Sitha (Rama’s wife) and other characters. Recent archaeological findings have recovered evidences of human settlements dated 30,000 years.However the recorded history of the island begins about the 6th century before Christ with the settlement of a band of people named the Sinhalese who were decedents of present Bangladesh who brought down wives from south India after local population who were living at that time were driven to jungle who are still living in several pockets.The colonizing of the island occurred due to the regular visits of merchant seaman. The early settlers were skilled in the arts and crafts and established a number of villages and towns.
Later many South Indian invaders invaded Sri Lanka and ruled North part of Sri Lanka whilst Singhalese were driven to other parts of Sri Lanka whilst Rich Northern part was vandalized by the Indian invaders. In the recent History, in 15th century, the Portuguese followed by Dutch colonized the Sri Lanka with their gun power who was in-turn driven out by British Empire who ruled Sri Lanka until Independence in 1948. Since then Sri Lanka has prospered and modern development can be seen in Sri Lanka with Gross Capita Income of over 2000 US $ as at today.
In this web, we are trying to highlight the History of Sri Lanka which is not much highlighted in other periodicals, so a clearer picture of Sri Lanka can be unfolded. This is mainly aimed at foreigners and students who wish to get an unbiased view about Sri Lanka.