Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is an island located 29 km off the southeastern coast of India. The country is strategically placed at the crossroads to the east and west. Colombo is the country's commercial capital while Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is it's administrative capital.
She boasts a history of 2500 years, which began when the first Sinhalese arrived from Northern India. The island was ruled by numerous kings throughout its recorded history. The country was occupied for a period of 443 years, first by the Portuguese and then by the Dutch and the British. Sri Lanka obtained its independence from the British in 1948. The newly independent country adopted a British Westminster style Parliamentary system of governance with a Prime Minister as the Head of State. In 1978, Sri Lanka shifted to the French Parliamentary model with an Executive Presidential system.
Sri Lanka liberalized its economy in the late 1970s ahead of the other developing countries in the sub continent. It is today South Asia's most open economy and has a relatively well developed capital market and infrastructure especially in the sea-borne trade. For the last two decades successive Governments have worked towards liberalising and promoting free enterprise with emphasis on Private Sector investment. However, key public institutions still play a major role in the trade activities of Sri Lanka.
The population of Sri Lanka remains the smallest in South Asia (Excluding Maldives) which amounts to nearly 19.5 million people. Its per capita income of US$ 841 remains the second highest in the region. For the last 20 years the country has maintained an average annual G.D.P. growth of 4.8% while some years the growth has exceeded 8% and the lowest of near 1% also has been recorded.
The total land area is 65,610 sq. km. and is astonishingly varied. A length of 445 km. and breadth of 225 km. encompasse beautiful tropical beaches, verdant vegetation, ancient monuments and a thousand delights to please all tastes. The relief features of the island consist of a mountainous mass somewhat south of the centre, with height exceeding 2,500 metres, surrounded by broad plains. Palm fringed beaches surround the island and the sea temperature rarely falls below 27°C.
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