The beginning of Sri Lanka dates
back to about five centuries before the birth of Christ when the
first people who were believed to come from the northern of India
and entered the island through Adams Bridge -- a land bridge
connecting Indian subcontinent to Sri Lanka --
The Sinhalese people first
developed in the dry, north plain region and then took root across
the island to the west and the south during the 4th century BC.
The strongest Sinhalese group in this period was the Sinhalese
kingdom of Anuradhapura in the north.
After facing several repeated
invasions from South India, at the end of 10th century AD Vijayabahu
I decided to abandon Anuradhapura and moved further
south-east to established Polonnaruwa as his capital and it
continuously became a capital of the Sinhalese over the next two
The first Portuguese, Lorenco
de Almeida, arrived in Colombo in 1505 AD. He established a
friendly relationship with the king of Kotte and gained the
monopoly on the spice and cinnamon trade for Portugal. The
original trading relationship later turned in the direction of
aiding the king fighting the neighboring kingdoms that threatened
the island integrity.
Portuguese rule was at its worst
characterized by greed, cruelty, and intolerance. Dutch arrival in
Sri Lanka was a result of attempts by the Kandy king to seek for
help in expelling the Portuguese from the island.
The arrival of British in 1796
resulted in expelling Dutch out of the country and in 1815 the
British who managed to conquer the kingdom of Kandy became the
first European power that ruled the entire island.
The demand for country
independence arose subsequent to the independence of India after
WWI. Sri Lanka was only involved in the WWI as a part of the
British Empire. However, Allies' wartime propaganda about the
virtue of freedom and self-determination of nations, heard and
noted by Sri Lanka nationalist, had sparked off the growth of
nationalism in Sri Lanka.
Following the independence, D.S
Senanayake was elected as a prime minister and, together with
his UNP party, formed the first independent government. His
opponents mostly were Tamils and communists. At first his
government runs smoothly, concentrating on maintaining a strong
economy, strengthening social services and also weakening the
Bandaranaike and his SLFP
apparently acted as a defender of a besieged Sinhalese
culture, during his rule, the passage of an Official Language
Act - 'Sinhalese only' that would increase the power and job
prospects of Sinhalese, precipitated the antagonism between
Sinhalese and Tamils.
Misery of Tamils that had long
been presented was particularly pushed (for uprising) by two
pieces of registrations approved in the Bandaranaike period.
The first one, passed in 1970, was apparently designed to reduce
their places in universities and the second one was the new 1972
constitution declaring Buddhism as a state's primary religion.
There had been a series of anti
Tamil outbursts in 1958, 1977 and 1981 but the riot happened in
1983 was the worst. It was sparked by the massacre of an army
patrol by Tamil Tiger secessionists in the northern Jaffna region,
the heartland of Tamils.
Peace talk began in January 1995
in keeping with the PA promise of ending the civil war. The
hostilities were briefly halt and, by the end of 1995, the
government dispatched massive military troops into the Jaffna
Peninsular in Operation Riviresa (Operation Sunshine)
to dislodge both the Tiger and Tamil population of the city.