History Of Sri Lanka

The story of ancient Lanka has its beginnings during the Stone Age. The Stone Age in Sri Lanka stretched from 125,000 BC to 1000 BC. Encompassing tens of thousands of years, the scales are so vast that we still cannot measure it properly.

The earliest archaeological evidence of human colonization is Sri Lanka appears at the site of Balangoda. The Balangoda Man lived on the island about 34,000 years ago and has been identified as a Mesolithic hunter gatherer who lived in caves. Numerous caves including the well-known Batadombalena and the Fa-Hien rock cave have yielded many artifacts from these people who are currently the first known inhabitants of the island. 
These early humans probably created Horton Plains, in the central hills, by burning the trees in order to catch game. However the discovery of oats and barley on the plains at about 15,000 BC suggests that agriculture had later developed along this vast area.

Landing of Vijaya

The ancient history of Sri Lanka begins with gradual onset of historical records in the final centuries BC, ending the prehistoric period. A traditional date is the landing of Vijaya, a semi-legendary king who arrived in Sri Lanka with 700 followers from their capital Singhapura, India (Now Singer in West Bengal), dates to 543 BC. The Mahavansa claims that Vijaya landed on the same day as the death of Buddha. The story of Vijaya and Kuveni (the local Reigning Queen) is reminiscent of Greek legend and may have a common source in ancient Proto- Indo- European folk tales. According to the Mahavansa, Vijaya landed on Sri Lanka near Mahathiththa.

The Historic Era

The Mahavansa records the traditional history of Sri Lanka as it was conceived in the Fourth Century AD. The account is based in large measure on an earlier work that brought the history of Lanka down to the time. The Mahavansa was completed by addition of a Fourth Century revision continuing the history of the island down to the reign of King Mahasena (337-364). The Mahavansa, as it now exists, includes a few later additions inserted about the turn of the first millennium.

Pre Historic Period (Beyond 1000 BC)

Yaksha Naga Times

Thammanna Kingdom

: 543 – 505 BC

Upathissa Grama

: 543 – 504 BC

Panduwas Nuwara

: 526 – 474 BC

The Historic Era (When Sri Lanka was ruled by Local Kings)

Anuradhapura Period

: 483 BC – 1017 AD

Polonnaruwa Period

: 1017 – 1235 AD

Dambadeniya Period

: 1232 – 1272 AD

Yapahuwa Period

: 1272 – 1293 AD

Kurunagala Period

: 1293 – 1341 AD

Gampola Period

: 1341 – 1484 AD

Kotte Period

: 1415 – 1597 AD

Kandyan Period

: 1484 – 1815 AD

The Colonial Period (Ruled by Colonial Invaders)

Portuguese Times

: 1505 – 1656 AD

Dutch Times

: 1656 – 1796 AD

British Rule

: 1796 – 1948 AD

As the Sri Lankan Independence movement grew following the end of World War 2, pressure for Independence in Sri Lanka intensified. The office of the Prime Minister of Ceylon was created in advance of Independence on 14th October 1947 and Don Stephen Senanayaka was chosen as the first prime Minister. On 4th February 1948 the Country won its Independence as the Commonwealth of Ceylon.
On 21st July 1960 Sirimawo Bandaranayake took office as Prime Minister and became the World’s first Female head of government in Post-Colonial Asia. In 1972, during Mrs. Sirimawo Bandaranayake’s 2nd term as Prime Minister, the Country became a Republic within the commonwealth and the name was changed to SRI LANKA.

"Ever wondered why? Sri Lanka is Unique among the other travel destinations"

- Click here to learn more -