Photographer's Note

Sri Lanka,
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, island republic in the Indian Ocean, lying off the southeastern tip of the Indian subcontinent. The Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannār separate Sri Lanka from India. The Arabian Sea lies to the west, the Bay of Bengal to the northeast, and the Indian Ocean to the south. Colombo, situated on the western coast, is the largest city and the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. The administrative capital is Sri Jayawardenepura (Kotte), located about 16 km (about 10 mi) east of Colombo.

The population of Sri Lanka is about 20 million. Ethnic groups include the Sinhalese, who form the majority of the population, and the Tamils, who form the largest minority group. Agriculture is the largest sector of the economy in terms of employment, but manufacturing generates the majority of export earnings. Sri Lanka has a democratic political system, with a directly elected president as head of state.

Sinhalese and Tamil kingdoms ruled the island now known as Sri Lanka from ancient times until the 1500s, when Europeans established colonial rule. First the Portuguese, then the Dutch, and finally the British colonized the island. The island was a Portuguese colony from 1517 to 1658, a Dutch colony from 1658 to 1796, and a British colony from 1796 to 1948. The British colony, called Ceylon, gained independence in 1948. The newly independent nation retained the name Ceylon until the 1972 constitution renamed it Sri Lanka. Since independence Sri Lanka has maintained a democratic, multiparty system of government. A civil war that erupted in 1983 between the Sinhalese-dominated government and Tamil separatists, who demand the creation of an independent Tamil nation, remains unresolved.

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Additional Photos by Burak Erek (berek) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7499 W: 202 N: 7195] (50518)
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