A

Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Andorra
Angola
Anguilla
Antartica
Antigua & Barbuda
Arctic Ocean
Argentina
Armenia
Aruba
Ashmore & Cartier Islands
Atlantic Ocean
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan

B

Bahamas
Bahrain
Baker Island
Bangladesh
Barbados
Bassas da India
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bermuda
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Botswanna
Bouvet Island
Brazil
British Indian Ocean
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burma
Burundi

C

Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Cayman Islands
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
China
Christmas Island
Clipperton Island
Cocos Islands
Colombia
Comoros
Congo (DRC)
Congo
Cook Islands
Coral Sea Islands
Costa Rica
Cota D'Ivory
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republich

D

Denmark
Dijouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic

E

East Timor
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Europa Islands

F

Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
French Southern Antarctic Lands

G

Gabon
Gambia
Gaza Strip
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Gibraltar
Glorioso Islands
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guam
Guatemala
Guernsey
Guinea Bissau
Guinea Bissau
Guyana

H

Haiti
Heard Island and McDonald Islands
Honduras
Hong Kong
Howland Island
Hungary

I

Iceland
India
Indian Ocean
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Ireland
Isle of Man
Isreal
Italy

J

Jamaica
Jan Mayen
Japan
Jarvis Island
Jersey
Johnston Atoll
Jordan
Juan de Nova

  Sri Lanka  
Flag of Sri Lanka
Click to enlarge
Categories Banner
 Introduction
 Geography
 People
 Government
 Economy
 Communications
 Transportation
 Military
 Transnational Issues
     

This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


Map of Sri Lanka



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Sri Lanka Top of Page
Background:

The Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C. probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced beginning in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty seized power in the north and established a Tamil kingdom. Occupied by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century, the island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in 1983. Tens of thousands have died in the ethnic conflict that continues to fester. After two decades of fighting, the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) formalized a cease-fire in February 2002 with Norway brokering peace negotiations. Violence between the LTTE and government forces intensified in 2006, but neither side has formally withdrawn from the cease-fire.

 

  
   Geography    Sri Lanka Top of Page
Location:

Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of India
Geographic coordinates:

7 00 N, 81 00 E
Map references:

Asia
Area:

total: 65,610 sq km
land: 64,740 sq km
water: 870 sq km
Area - comparative:

slightly larger than West Virginia
Land boundaries:

0 km
Coastline:

1,340 km
Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate:

tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon (December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October)
Terrain:

mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior
Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pidurutalagala 2,524 m
Natural resources:

limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower
Land use:

arable land: 13.96%
permanent crops: 15.24%
other: 70.8% (2005)
Irrigated land:

7,430 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:

occasional cyclones and tornadoes
Environment - current issues:

deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by poaching and urbanization; coastal degradation from mining activities and increased pollution; freshwater resources being polluted by industrial wastes and sewage runoff; waste disposal; air pollution in Colombo
Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:

strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes
   People    Sri Lanka Top of Page
Population:

20,926,315
note: since the outbreak of hostilities between the government and armed Tamil separatists in the mid-1980s, several hundred thousand Tamil civilians have fled the island and more than 200,000 Tamils have sought refuge in the West (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: 24.3% (male 2,596,295/female 2,495,949)
15-64 years: 67.9% (male 6,947,310/female 7,259,271)
65 years and over: 7.8% (male 765,507/female 861,983) (2007 est.)
Median age:

total: 30 years
male: 29.2 years
female: 31 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:

0.982% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:

17 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:

6.01 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:

-1.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.957 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.888 male(s)/female
total population: 0.971 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:

total: 19.45 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 17.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 74.8 years
male: 72.81 years
female: 76.88 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:

2.05 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

3,500 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:

less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality:

noun: Sri Lankan(s)
adjective: Sri Lankan
Ethnic groups:

Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)
Religions:

Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)
Languages:

Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%
note: English is commonly used in government and is spoken competently by about 10% of the population
Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90.7%
male: 92.3%
female: 89.1% (2001 census)
   Government    Sri Lanka Top of Page
Country name:

conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
conventional short form: Sri Lanka
local long form: Shri Lamka Prajatantrika Samajaya di Janarajaya/Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu
local short form: Shri Lamka/Ilankai
former: Serendib, Ceylon
Government type:

republic
Capital:

name: Colombo
geographic coordinates: 6 56 N, 79 51 E
time difference: UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital)
Administrative divisions:

8 provinces; Central, North Central, North Eastern, North Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva, Western
note: in October 2006, the Sri Lankan Supreme Court ruled voided a presidential directive merging the North and Eastern Provinces; many have defended the merger as a prerequisite for a negotiated settlement to the ethnic conflict; a parliamentary decision on the issue is pending
Independence:

4 February 1948 (from UK)
National holiday:

Independence Day, 4 February (1948)
Constitution:

adopted 16 August 1978, certified 31 August 1978
Legal system:

a highly complex mixture of English common law, Roman-Dutch, Islamic, Sinhalese, and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:

chief of state: President Mahinda RAJAPAKSA (since 19 November 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; Ratnasiri WICKREMANAYAKE (since 21 November 2005) holds the largely ceremonial title of prime minister
head of government: President Mahinda RAJAPAKSA (since 19 November 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president in consultation with the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 17 November 2005 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: Mahinda RAJAPAKSA elected president; percent of vote - Mahinda RAJAPAKSA 50.3%, Ranil WICKREMESINGHE 48.4%, other 1.3%
Legislative branch:

unicameral Parliament (225 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of a modified proportional representation system by district to serve six-year terms)
elections: last held on 2 April 2004 (next to be held by 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party or electoral alliance - SLFP and JVP (no longer in formal UPFA alliance) 45.6%, UNP 37.8%, TNA 6.8%, JHU 6%, SLMC 2%, UPF 0.5%, EPDP 0.3%, other 1%; seats by party - UNP 68, SLFP 57, JVP 39, TNA 22, CWC 8, JHU 7, SLMC 6, SLMC dissidents 4, Communist Party 2, JHU dissidents 2, LSSP 2, MEP 2, NUA 2, UPF 2, EPDP 1, UNP dissident 1
Judicial branch:

Supreme Court; Court of Appeals; judges for both courts are appointed by the president
Political parties and leaders:

All Ceylon Tamil Congress or ACTC [A. VINAYAKAMOORTHY]; Ceylon Workers Congress or CWC [Arumugam THONDAMAN]; Communist Party or CP [D. GUNASEKERA]; Democratic United National (Lalith) Front or DUNLF [T.N.S. NANAYAKKARA]; Eelam People's Democratic Party or EPDP [Douglas DEVANANDA]; Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front or EPRLF [Suresh PREMACHANDRAN]; Janatha Vimukthi Perumuna or JVP [Somawansa AMARASINGHE]; Lanka Sama Samaja Party or LSSP [Tissa VITHARANA]; Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (People's United Front) or MEP [D. GUNAWARDENE]; National Heritage Party or JHU [Ellawala METHANANDA]; National Unity Alliance or NUA [Ferial ASHRAFF]; People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam or PLOTE [D. SIDHARTHAN]; Sri Lanka Freedom Party or SLFP [Mahinda RAJAPAKSA]; Sri Lanka Muslim Congress or SLMC [Rauff HAKEEM]; Sri Lanka Progressive Front or SLPF [P. Nelson PERERA]; Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization or TELO [Selvam ADAIKALANATHAN]; Tamil National Alliance or TNA [R. SAMPANTHAN]; Tamil United Liberation Front or TULF [V. ANANDASANGAREE]; United National Party or UNP [Ranil WICKREMASINGHE]; Up-country People's Front or UPF [P. CHANDRASEKARAN]; several ethnic Tamil and Muslim parties, represented in either Parliament or provincial councils
Political pressure groups and leaders:

Buddhist clergy; labor unions; Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE [Velupillai PRABHAKARAN](insurgent group fighting for a separate state); radical chauvinist Sinhalese groups such as the National Movement Against Terrorism; Sinhalese Buddhist lay groups; Tamil Eela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal, TMVP or "Karuna group" [Vinayagamurthi MURALITHARAN] (paramilitary breakaway from LTTE and fighting against LTTE)
International organization participation:

AsDB, BIMSTEC, C, CP, FAO, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAM, OAS (observer), OPCW, PCA, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Bernard GOONETILLEKE
chancery: 2148 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-4025 (through 4028)
FAX: [1] (202) 232-7181
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
consulate(s): New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Robert O. BLAKE, Jr.
embassy: 210 Galle Road, Colombo 3
mailing address: P. O. Box 106, Colombo
telephone: [94] (11) 249-8500
FAX: [94] (11) 243-7345
Flag description:

yellow with two panels; the smaller hoist-side panel has two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and orange; the other panel is a large dark red rectangle with a yellow lion holding a sword, and there is a yellow bo leaf in each corner; the yellow field appears as a border around the entire flag and extends between the two panels
   Economy    Sri Lanka Top of Page
Economy - overview:

In 1977, Colombo abandoned statist economic policies and its import substitution trade policy for more market-oriented policies, export-oriented trade, and encouragement of foreign investment. Recent changes in government, however, have brought some policy reversals. Currently, the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party has a more statist economic approach, which seeks to reduce poverty by steering investment to disadvantaged areas, developing small and medium enterprises, promoting agriculture, and expanding the already enormous civil service. The government has halted most privatizations. Although suffering a brutal civil war that began in 1983, Sri Lanka saw GDP growth average 4.5% in the last 10 years with the exception of a recession in 2001. In late December 2004, a major tsunami took about 31,000 lives, left more than 6,300 missing and 443,000 displaced, and destroyed an estimated $1.5 billion worth of property. Growth, partly spurred by reconstruction, reached 5% in 2005 and more than 6% in 2006. Sri Lanka's most dynamic sectors now are food processing, textiles and apparel, food and beverages, port construction, telecommunications, and insurance and banking. In 2005, plantation crops made up only about 15% of exports (compared with more than 90% in 1970), while textiles and garments accounted for more than 60%. About 800,000 Sri Lankans work abroad, 90% in the Middle East. They send home more than $1 billion a year. The struggle by the Tamil Tigers of the north and east for an independent homeland continues to cast a shadow over the economy.
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$95.46 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):

$27.4 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:

7.4% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):

$4,700 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 16.5%
industry: 27.1%
services: 56.5% (2006 est.)
Labor force:

7.602 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 34.3%
industry: 25.3%
services: 40.4% (30 June 2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:

7.6% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:

22% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 39.7% (FY03/04)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:

50 (FY03/04)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):

13.7% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):

28.7% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget:

revenues: $4.883 billion
expenditures: $6.827 billion; including capital expenditures of $2.8 billion (2006 est.)
Public debt:

93% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:

rice, sugarcane, grains, pulses, oilseed, spices, tea, rubber, coconuts; milk, eggs, hides, beef; fish
Industries:

processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, tobacco and other agricultural commodities; telecommunications, insurance, banking; clothing, textiles; cement, petroleum refining
Industrial production growth rate:

6.2% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:

8.411 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:

7.072 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - consumption:

82,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports:

NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:

NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl
Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2005 est.)
Current account balance:

-$1.046 billion (2006 est.)
Exports:

$7.172 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:

textiles and apparel, tea and spices; diamonds, emeralds, rubies; coconut products, rubber manufactures, fish
Exports - partners:

US 27.6%, UK 11.3%, India 9.3%, Belgium 4.7% (2006)
Imports:

$9.378 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:

textile fabrics, mineral products, petroleum, foodstuffs, machinery and transportation equipment
Imports - partners:

India 19.6%, China 10.5%, Singapore 8.7%, Iran 5.7%, Malaysia 5.1%, Hong Kong 4.2%, Japan 4.1% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient:

$1.189 billion (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$2.948 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:

$12.16 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$NA
Market value of publicly traded shares:

$7.769 billion (2006)
Currency (code):

Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)
Exchange rates:

Sri Lankan rupees per US dollar - 103.99 (2006), 100.498 (2005), 101.194 (2004), 96.521 (2003), 95.662 (2002)
Fiscal year:

calendar year
   Communications    Sri Lanka Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:

2.087 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:

5.959 million (2007)
Telephone system:

general assessment: telephone services have improved significantly and are available in most parts of the country
domestic: national trunk network consists mostly of digital microwave radio relay; fiber-optic links now in use in Colombo area and 2 fixed wireless local loops have been installed; competition is strong in mobile cellular systems and mobile cellular subscribership is increasing; telephone density remains low (2006)
international: country code - 94; submarine cables to Indonesia, Djibouti, India and Maldives; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:

34 (station types NA) (2006)
Television broadcast stations:

14 (2006)
Internet country code:

.lk
Internet hosts:

6,198 (2007)
Internet users:

428,000 (2006)
   Transportation    Sri Lanka Top of Page
Airports:

18 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:

total: 14
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 3 (2007)
Railways:

total: 1,449 km
broad gauge: 1,449 km 1.676-m gauge (2006)
Roadways:

total: 97,287 km
paved: 78,802 km
unpaved: 18,485 km (2003)
Waterways:

160 km (primarily on rivers in southwest) (2006)
Merchant marine:

total: 24 ships (1000 GRT or over) 162,280 GRT/227,478 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 18, container 2, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 6 (Germany 6)
registered in other countries: 3 (Panama 3) (2007)
Ports and terminals:

Colombo, Galle
   Military    Sri Lanka Top of Page
Military branches:

Sri Lankan Army, Sri Lankan Navy, Sri Lankan Air Force (2006)
Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)
Manpower available for military service:

males age 18-49: 4,933,217
females age 18-49: 5,153,597 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:

males age 18-49: 3,789,627
females age 18-49: 4,281,043 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:

males age 18-49: 174,049
females age 18-49: 167,201 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

2.6% (2006)
   Transnational Issues    Sri Lanka Top of Page
Disputes - international:

none
Refugees and internally displaced persons:

IDPs: 500,000-600,000 (both Tamils and non-Tamils displaced due to long-term Tamil conflict renewed in 2006) (2006)

This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


Bottom Banner

K

Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kingman Reef
Kiribati
Kuwait
Kyrgystan

L

Laos
Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg

M

Macau
Macedonia
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Marshall Islands
Martinique
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Mexico
Micronesia
Midway Island
Moldova
Monaco
Mongolia
Montserrat
Morocco
Mozambique

N

Namibia
Nauru
Navassa Island
Nepal
Netherlands Antilles
Netherlands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Niue
Norfolk Island
North Korea
Northern Mariana Islands
Norway

O

Oman

P

Pacific Ocean
Pakistan
Palau
Palmyra Atoll
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paracel Islands
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Pitcairn Islands
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico

Q

Qatar

R

Reunion
Romania
Russia
Rwanda

S

St. Helena
St Kitts & Nevis
St Lucia
St Pierra & Miquelon
St Vincent & Grenadines
Samoa
San Marina
Sao Tome & Principle
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia & Montenegro
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
South Georgia & Sandwich Islands
South Korea
Southern Islands
Spain
Spratly Islands
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Suriname
Svalbard
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Syria

T

Taiwan
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Thailand
Togo
Tokelau
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tromelin Island
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Turks & Caicos Islands
Tuvalu

U

Uganda
UK
Ukraine
UAE
Uruguay
USA
Uzbekistan

V

Vanuatu
Vatican
Venezuela
Vietnam
Virgin Islands

W

Wake Island
Wallis & Futuna
West Bank
Western Sahara
The World

Y

Yemen

Z

Zimbabwe
Zambia