History Of Sri Lanka

The History of SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka is an ancient land with highly developed prehistoric human settlements. The Mahavansa relates that the island was conquered in 504 BC by Vijaya, a prince from northeast India. After subjugating the aboriginal inhabitants, a people now known as Veddas, Vijaya married a native princess, encouraged emigration from the main land, and made himself ruler of the entire island. However, the realm (called Sinhala after Vijaya's patrimonial name)
that was inherited by his successors consisted of the arid region lying to the north of the south-central mountain system. Members of the dynasty founded by Vijaya reigned over Sinhala for several centuries. During this period, and particularly after the adoption in the 3rd century BC of Buddhism as the national religion, the Sinhalese created a highly developed civilization.

Extant evidence of their engineering skill and architectural achievements includes remnants of vast irrigation projects, many ruined cities, notably the ancient capital Anuradhapura, and numerous ruined shrines called dagabos.

Ruins of ancient cities recall the once flourishing civilizations of Sri Lanka. Two centers of early Sinhalese civilization were
Anuradhapura in the northern plain and Polonnaruwa near the Mahaweli River to the southeast. Both in succession became
capi tals of the Sinhalese kingdom.Recorded history begins from about the 4th century BC when people settled down in Anuradhapura. . Invasions from South India continued and in the 11th Century AD, after repeated threats from South India, the Sinhalese Kingdom moved its capital to Polonnaruwa and then southwards. This resulted in the abandonment of the highly developed tank (reservoir) irrigated rice cultivation system, which the Sinhalese had developed and resulted in the decline of the
Sri Lankan agrarian Economy. The remains of the civilization from 500 BC to 1300 AD are the spirit and inspiration of the people of Sri Lanka

The Sinhala language, which grew out of Indo-Aryan dialects, exists only in Sri Lanka and has its own distinguished literary tradition Historically, the island has also been influenced by its location along the east-west sea route. Even before the discovery of the oceanic route from Europe to India in the 15th century, Sri Lanka was a meeting point for Eastern and Western trade. The island was known to Greek and Roman cartographers and sailors and later to Persian, Armenian, and Arab navigators. With the coming of the Europeans, the strategic importance of Sri Lanka increased, and Western maritime powers fought to control its shores.


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