|Other languages:||Sri Lankan English|
|Capitals:||Sri Jayewardenepura (Kotte)|
|President:||Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga|
|Prime Minister:||Mahinda Rajapakse|
|Government:||Democratic Socialist Republic|
|Constitution:||Second Republic 1978|
|Independence:||February 4, 1948|
|Currency:||Sri Lankan Rupee|
|Time zone:||UTC +6|
|National anthem:||Sri Lanka Matha|
The country of Sri Lanka began when the Sinhalese migrated from Bengal in the 6th century. Sri Lanka was then occupied by European countries until it gained full independence in February of 1948. Don Stephen Senanayake was the Sinhalese leader and in 1919 formed the United National Party (UNP) to demand independence. The demand for independence was delayed because World War II began. Great Britain was the occupier at this time and used Sri Lanka as a front-line against the Japanese. In 1946 there was a new constitution constructed and independence followed in 1948. Senanayake became the first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. He died in 1952 and was succeeded by his son. In 1956 the UNP was defeated in election by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party led by Solomon Bandaranaike. There goal was to promote Sinhalese Nationalism. This caused hostilities to escalate from the Tamils, and further caused riots and disturbances. He was assassinated in 1959, which brought the UNP back to power in the March 1960 elections. The SLFP was now being led by Bandaranaike's wife and came to power in the July elections, making her the world's first elected female head of government. Her government's socialist policies and nationalism led to a cut-off of all aid from the United States. The economic crisis and the overall dissatisfaction from the SLFP caused the UNP yet again to take the rule in 1965. In 1970 the country became a republic, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Sinhalese Nationalism was once again raised and Sinhala became the National Language causing the Tamils to get upset. In 1971 the country was headed straight into a civil war. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam wanted an independent Tamil state called Elam. A civil war officially began in 1983. The Tamil Tigers started performing terrorists attacks on the Sinhalese people. In 1993 the Tamil Tigers assassinated Premadasa, the Sri Lankan President. The civil war continued on with numerous unsuccessful peace attempts. 50,000 lives were taken in return from this on going conflict by the year 2000. Recently The Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are in agreement to ceasefire and are trying to come to a solution to the ethnic conflict. “The GOSL and the LTTE recognize the importance of bringing an end to the hostilities and improving the living conditions for all inhabitants affected by the conflict. Bringing an end to the hostilities is also seen by the Parties as a means of establishing a positive atmosphere in which further steps towards negotiations on a lasting solution can be taken.”
Sri Lanka is a tropical island nation off the southeast coast of the Indian subcontinent. The island of Sri Lanka, lies within the Indian Ocean, with the Bay of Bengal to the northeast. It is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. The total area of Sri Lanka is 65,610 sq km, in which land takes up 64,740 sq km and water 870 sq km. Comparatively speaking Sri Lanka is about the size of West Virginia.The pear shaped island consists mostly of flat-to-rolling coastal plains, with mountains rising only in the south central part of the island. Amongst these, are Adam's Peak and Pidurutalagala, the latter being the highest point at 2,524 m. The climate is tropical and mostly decided by monsoons. The northeast monsoon lasts from December to March and the Southwest lasts from June to October. Off the coast of Sri Lanka the lowest gravitational field on earth can be found. Sigiriya is considered to be the 8th wonder of the world.
|Economy / Income Distribution|
|Sri Lanka does not have an equal distribution of wealth between the rich and the poor. The Richest obtain 42.8% of the total income, while the poor earns 8.0%. In general Sri Lanka is a developing nation, which indicates that the country is poor and does not have that much. 45.4% of the population are living on less than $2 dollars a day and 25% of the country is considered impoverished. The problem is that the rich have all the wealth, which is a select few, while the majority of the country lives poor.|
|In Sri Lanka, as in other European colonies, economic exploitation, import of plantation labor, policies that favor minorities, and the privileges assigned to those who can communicate in the English language contribute to uneven and unequal development across regions, social classes, and ethnic groups. In most developed nations when Political structures arise after independence they have over centralized state and an electoral system built on division and conflict. Sri Lanka has the on-going conflict between the Sinhalese and the Tamil Tigers. This has definitely affected numerous aspects of the economy, culture, etc., which as in turn caused unequal distribution throughout the country of many resources. This political arrangement then sets the stage for continuous competition for power amongst elites within and across ethnic communities. Economic inequalities and economic liberalization have deepened poverty and worsened ethnic as well as religious antagonisms. In Sri Lanka, increasing corporate dominance, privatization, and taking apart of the state welfare services have undermined local ecosystems and economies. This is destroying traditional employment and survival opportunities of the masses. Migration of labor to the Free Trade Zones and the Middle East and the influence of consumerism and western cultural homogenization have weakened family, community, and local cultures, contributing to increasing alienation and despair, especially among the masses of youth.|
|While middle and upper classes in both the Sinhala and Tamil communities have their own children in expensive international schools and universities in the west, they are promoting an ethno-nationalist war which has turned poor children into an expendable population trained to kill each other. Nowhere is this expendability and lack of respect for life more apparent than in the deployment of poor, young girls as suicide bombers by the LTTE leadership. This causes violence against women. Sri Lanka is having many difficulties with the economic inequality in the country, however, it is a global issue also. There is an economic divide that also lies between the rich countries of the North and poor countries in the south. There are 1.6 billion or more people living in absolute poverty, which is turning into surplus populations. The industrialized North which has less than 20% of the global population controls over 85% of the global income while the poor countries of the South with over 80% of the global population have access to 15% of the world's income. Sri Lanka is having problems with Economic inequality, but so is the world as a whole, which is important to understand. It is not happening only in developing nations, it is happening to the globe.|
|There has been an ongoing conflict between the majority Sinhalese and the minority the Tamils. Since 1983 there has been on-and-off civil war, mostly between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or the LTTE, who want to create an independent Tamil Eelam state in the northeast of the island. Sinhala and Tamil ethnicity's do not share much common ground. After Sri Lanka gained its independence concerns about minority representation were expressed and given some attention during the independence struggle, but nothing was incorporated into the new government's structure. Official and unofficial governmental preference for Sinhalese became a sore spot with Tamils as they lost employment and educational opportunities. The Sinhala Only Act was a law passed in the Sri Lankan parliament in 1956. The law mandated Sinhala as the sole official language of Sri Lanka, effectively blocking the Tamil minority from positions in the state administration. The passage of the law is by most Tamils seen as a watershed in the minority's struggle for its rights. In 2000 the LTTE began to declare their willingness to explore measures that would safeguard Tamils' rights and autonomy as part of Sri Lanka, and announced a unilateral ceasefire just before Christmas 2000. The cease fire between the LTTE and the government has largely held through many conflicts that have occurred, and negotiations are expected to recommence in the near future. However, sporadic violence continues.|
Tamil Tigers emblem
Flag of Tamil Eelam
<-This map is illustrating approximate extent of area under the control of the LTTE, as of December 2005
|Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%|
|English is commonly used in government and is spoken competently by about 10% of the pop|
There are eight languages in Sri Lanka, seven are spoken and one is extinct The seven languages that are still present in Sri Lanka are Sinhala, English, Indo-Portugese, Sri Lankan Creole Malay, Sri Lankan sign languages, Tamil and Veddah. 13,190,000 speak Sinhala in Sri Lanka, all parts except some districts in the north, east, and center speak it. 3,000,000 in Sri Lanka speak Tamil. Sinhala and Tamil are the two languages spoken the most frequent. Since Sinhala is the official language it is spoken by the majority of people. The reason why this language became the official one was because the Sinhala's have majority over the Tamil's. This is inequality because the Tamil language is important to the Tamil population. This becomes another area where the Tamil's are frustrated and upset with the Sinhalese people and want their own state. Sinhalese being the official language makes it harder for the Tamil's or others who speak another language to obtain jobs with the government or civil service because Sinhalese must be spoken. By having these requirements it cause discrimination on who can be hired
<- This map is illustrating where each language is spoken.
Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2% (Roman Catholic and other Christian Sects), unspecified 10%
Buddhism is the most wide spread religion of the majority Sinhalese community. The origin of Sri lankan Buddhism is explained in historical books and chronicles in which tells how King Devanam Piyatissa (207 BC) was converted by Mahinda Thero; The son of King Asoka of India who was sent to Sri lanka to introduce Buddhism. The Sinhalese see themselves as guardians of the original Buddhist faith and follow the Theravada or Hinayana tradition of Buddhism. Sri Lanka is one of the few that still follow the Theravada. Sri Lanka Buddhist place particular emphasis on the sanctity of the relics of the Buddha, which are believed to have been brought to the island from India. The two most important are the “Bo tree” and the “tooth relic of the Buddha”. Buddhist believe worshiping Buddha's relics or the things Buddha associated is like worshipping Buddha himself alive.
Hinduism was brought to Sri Lanka by successive Tamil kings and their followers during the later part of Anuradhapura period and early part of Polonnaruwa period. Also Sinhala kings like Vijayabahu the 1st and Parakramabahu the 1st too have brought Indian soldiers over for wars and provided facilities for them to continue their faith in religion and built even Shiva Devalas (Shrines) for them. By building them facilities the religion began in Sr Lanka. Today three Gods are widely seen as all powerful: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is regarded as the ultimate source of creation; Shiva also has a creative role alongside his function as destroyer. Vishnu is seen as the preserver or protector of the universe. Out of these three deities Vishnu and Shiva are far more widely represented and have come to be seen as the most powerful and important in the belief of Sri Lankan followers.
Islam means submission or surrender. People who follow the religion of Islam surrender to the law and will of Allah. Allah is a contraction of Al-llah. Al-llah are two Arabic words meaning the God. The quran is the Holy Book containing the laws of islam. Islam began in Sri Lanka by merchants who were Muslim, coming over from Morocco to trade and eventually settled on the island, therefore bringing Islam to the country.
introduced to Sri Lanka by Portuguese after their invasion in 1505 and
later Dutch introduced Catholicism during their period of rule after
Portuguese. Most Christian congregation in Sri Lanka meet for worship on
Sundays, and services are held in Sinhala, Tamil as well as in
Children from age five to ten attend primary school; from age eleven to fifteen they attend junior secondary school; and from age sixteen to seventeen they attend senior secondary school. Those who qualify can go on to the university system, which is totally state-run. In the late 1980s, there were 8 universities and 1 university college with over 18,000 students in 28 faculties, plus 2,000 graduate and certificate students.
Since independence in 1948, the government has made education one of its highest priorities, a policy that has yielded excellent results. Within a period of less than 40 years, the number of schools in Sri Lanka increased by over 50 percent, the number of students increased more than 300 percent, and the number of teachers increased by more than 400 percent. Growth has been especially rapid in secondary schools, which in 1985 taught 1.2 million students, or one thirdof the student population. Teachers made up the largest government work force outside the plantation industry. The literate population has grown correspondingly, and by the mid1980s over 90 percent of the population was officially literate as the graph illustrates. By 2000 91.6% of the population were literate. This is by far the most impressive progress in South Asia and places Sri Lanka close to the leaders in education among developing nations.
Western-style medical practices have been responsible for most of the improvements in health in Sri Lanka during the twentieth century. Health care facilities and staff and public health programs geared to combat infectious disease are the most crucial areas where development has taken place. The state maintains a system of free hospitals, dispensaries, and maternity services. In 1985 there were more than 3,000 doctors trained in Western medicine, about 8,600 nurses, 490 hospitals, and 338 central dispensaries. Maternity services were especially effective in reaching into rural areas; less than 3 percent of deliveries took place without the assistance of at least a paramedic or a trained midwife, and 63 percent of deliveries occurred in health institutions higher rates than in any other South Asian nation.
The World Back Group is working with Sri Lanka to continue this great success in health care. Life expectancy has increased and the population is aging, so other diseases are now coming about such as heart disease,cerebrovascular disease, and diabetes are becoming more common and must be addressed. The Bank is committed to working with Sri Lanka on these issues. There is still poverty in Sri Lanka, and the health system must ensure that basic health services reach the poorest of the poor. At the same time, the current health care system that was so successful in eradicating the majority of health problems affecting developing countries, needs to adapt in order to meet the new and more complex health challenges characteristic of industrial countries.
Sri Lanka has one of the most effective health systems among developing nations. The death rate in the early 1980s was 6 per 1,000, down from 13 per 1,000 in 1948 and an estimated 19 per 1,000 in 1871. The infant mortality rate registered a similar decline, from 50 deaths per 1,000 births in 1970 to 34 deaths per 1,000 births in the early 1980s. According to the graph the infant mortality rate in 2002 was down to 16 per one thousand births. The rate seems to be constantly improving, which means the health conditions are also improving. These figures placed Sri Lanka statistically among the top five Asian countries. Improvements in health were largely responsible for raising the average life span in the 1980s to sixty-eight years.In the 1990's it continued to increase and in 2000 the average life span in Sri Lanka was 72 years.
The population of Sri Lanka has been increasing by the steady rate of about one million every five years between 1960 and 2000. In 1960 the population was 9.701 and by the year 2000 it had doubled, making the population equal to 18.467. From the Population graph it seems as though the steady rate would continue past the year 2000. The Projected Population graph proves that theory wrong by illustrating that the population remains stagnant at 20 million people between 2010 and 2015 and then at 21 million people through the years of 2020 to 2045. Between those years the population does change but not by the trend that was occurring before, when the population was increasing at least by one million. It is projected that in 2035 the population of Sri Lanka will decrease, beginning a new trend of lowering the population instead of the constant increase it has seem to be involved in before that.
According to the CIA World Factbook after the 1981 census, “…some projections suggested a total of 18 million by 1991 and between 20 and 21 million by 2001. Furthermore, if the 1980s trends continue, the population will double in forty years.” The Prediction of 1991 was wrong because the population of Sri Lanka in 1991 was a little over 16 million people. The prediction for 2001 according to the International Future Model was between 18 and 19 million people. It would definitely make sense that there would be a projection that the population would double in forty years because that was the trend. Between 1960 and 2000, which is forty years the population doubled. Projected Numbers only account for what the trend seems to be doing and cannot always predict the situations a country might find itself in that would effect its population. For example the reason why the population in Sri Lanka begins to change its trend after 2000 is because, “…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; as of yearend 2000, approximately 65,000 were housed in 131 refugee camps in south India, another 40,000 lived outside the Indian camps, and more than 200,000 Tamils have sought refuge in the West (July 2004 est.)
“Life Expectancy is the average number of years to be lived by a group of people born in the same year, if mortality at each age remains constant in the future. Life expectancy at birth is also a measure of overall quality of life in a country and summarizes the mortality at all ages. It can also be thought of as indicating the potential return on investment in human capital and is necessary for the calculation of various actuarial measures.” The Life Expectancy in Sri Lanka is illustrated in the graphs by the number of years a person will live. Between the years of 1960 and 2000 the average age a person approximately would live increases by twelve years almost thirteen. Through those years there seems to be a steady rate of increase that is occurring according to the model. Since the rate is increasing the assumption can be made that quality of life is improving.
The projected Life Expectancy of Sri Lanka seems to slow down the rate of increase. It is still improving but not at the same pace that it had been in earlier years including the year 2000 and before. The quality of life is improving but not significant enough to keep the life Expectancy rate going at a more rapid pace. The reason for this change could have been the devastating national disaster of the Tsunami at the end of 2004. “On Dec. 26, 2004, a tremendously powerful tsunami ravaged 12 Asian countries. About 38,000 people were reported killed in Sri Lanka.” The Tsunami devastated Sri Lanka by destroying land, houses, etc. This causes Quality of Life to go down to a lesser standard then it had been because people have no where to live and conditions of the land are not good quality. Life Expectancy according to the Projected International Futures model appears that more of an increase will start occurring starting in the year 2025.
The Total Fertility Rate is presented in the graph by how many children a mother has or will have for the projected graph. The Total Fertility Rate of Sri Lanka between 1960 and 2000 remains above 2, which indicates that the fertility level was above its “replacement level.” Meaning since 1960 and up until approximately 2005 women was having enough babies to replace her and the father. In 1960 the Total Fertility Rate was 5.272, signifying that the population would potentially increase in the next generation by 2 times almost 3 from the previous. Population correlates directly with Totally Fertility Rate because a main factor in why the population is at a certain level has to do with how many children women are producing. In view of the fact that the total fertility rate is above 2 explains some of the reason why population was at a steady increase until about the year 2000. In 2000 the Total Fertility Rate begins to decrease but not yet below 2, so it is still above or on par with the “replacement level.” After 2000 the correlation between what is occurring with both the Total Fertility Rate and the population trends are noticeable. The projected value in 2010 is 1.9 children per woman. The population at that time is beginning to differentiate from the trend that it had been going on. The population is not increasing like it had been in earlier years, but it was not yet decreasing. There is a decrease projected for the year 2035. That makes sense when associating the Total Fertility Rate with population because the TFR is finally caught up to the population and the below “replacement level” is now taking effect.
|Conclusions: The increase in
the number of people remained a major problem for Sri Lanka, there were
indications in the 1980s that the country had moved beyond a period of
uncontrolled population expansion into a pattern similar to that of more
industrialized nations. The fertility rate declined from 5.3 in 1953 at
the height of the post independence baby boom to 3.3 in 1981. Emigration,
which outpaced immigration after 1953, also contributed to the decline in
population growth. Between 1971 and 1981, for example, 313,000 Tamil
workers from the plantation areas emigrated to south India. Increased
employment opportunities in the Arab nations also attracted a substantial
annual flow of workers from Sri Lanka (a total of 57,000 in 1981 alone).
The lowering of the population growth rate was accompanied by changes in
the age distribution, with the older age groups increasing, and by the
concentration of people in urban areas. |
Population is not uniformly spread but is concentrated within the wet zone and urban centers on the coast and the Jaffna Peninsula. The country's mean population density is 310 persons per sq km. In earlier years there were unequal settlement patterns because of the rainfall distribution, which made it possible for the wet zones to support larger village farming populations. Another reason was the slow but steady concentration of people in urban centers during the twentieth century. Urbanization has affected almost every area of the country since independence. Local market centers have grown into towns, and retail or service stores have cropped up even in small agricultural villages. The greatest growth in urban population, however, has occurred around a few large centers. Since independence was granted in 1948, there have been four main trends in migration. First, every year more people move from rural areas to the cities. Second, the cities have changed from concentrated centers to sprawling suburbs. Third, government irrigation projects attracted many farmers from the wet zone to the pioneer settlements in the dry zone. Fourth, Sinhalese Tamil ethnic struggles displaced many people.
|Sri Lanka's economy has a large amount
to do with the unrest that the country has been in since its independence.
The Sinhalese and the Tamil Tigers are in constant conflict,
therefore time, money and energy are being put into settling the conflict
rather than into projects to better the country. Foreign investors
and donors agreed to assist in financing reconstruction programs that
would ensure economic growth, but not with the violence that had been
occurring. If the violence were to continue, the diversion of
resources into defense and the negative impact on tourism and foreign
investment appeared likely to result in economic stagnation.
GDP was growing at an average annual rate of 5.5% in the early 1990s until a drought and a deteriorating security situation lowered growth to 3.8% in 1996. The economy rebounded in 1997-2000 with average growth of 5.3%, but 2001 saw the first contraction in the country's history, -1.4%, due to a combination of power shortages, severe budgetary problems, the global slowdown, and continuing civil strife. Signs of recovery appeared after the government and the LTTE signed the 2002 ceasefire. The Colombo stock exchange reported the highest growth in Asia for 2003, and today Sri Lanka has the highest per capita income in South Asia
|GDP Per Capita
Purchasing Power Parity
composition by sector
|agriculture: 19.1% |
|Population below poverty
consumption by percentage share
|lowest 10%: 3.5% |
highest 10%: 28%
||revenues: $3.34 billion
expenditures: $4.686 billion, including capital expenditures of NA
||104.3% of GDP |
|Current account balance
||$-587.3 million |
||$5.306 billion f.o.b.|
|Imports:||$7.265 billion f.o.b.|
|Population below US$ 1 a day
|Population below US$ 2 a day
|Percentage of poor households
|Sri Lanka's most dynamic sectors now
are food processing, textiles and apparel, food and beverages,
telecommunications, and insurance and banking. In 2003, plantation crops
made up only 15% of exports (compared with 93% in 1970), while textiles
and garments accounted for 63%. The garment industry expanded so much
because Sri Lanka provided cheap labor to produce clothing for brand name
companies. The Sri Lanka-based company of Tri Star Apparel produces
clothing for such brands as Ralph Lauren, GAP, Guess, Wilson, Champion,
Victoria's Secret and Warner Bros.
In December 2004 a Tsunami hit the country of Sri Lanka, which has had major impacts on the economy. Businesses were destroyed and a majority of the country and had to be rebuilt. The graphs below demonstrate some of the effects on the GDP, hotels, human lives lost, etc.
Sri Lanka has overcame economic hardships throughout the years. Sri Lanka has primarily always had a agricultural economy, which still remains an integral part of it, but the country is also moving towards industrialization. The tsunami had devastating after affects, but slowly Sri Lanka is rebuilding and getting back on her feet.
Overall Assessment of Sri
|Sri Lanka is a developing nation that
has made great strides in improving that status. The country is
rated the highest in many aspects like education, health care and economy
compared to other third world countries. Although Sri Lanka is rated
the highest in these things, she still continues to improve in them,
especially with education and health care. New programs are being
administered constantly and Sri Lanka is always looking at how to improve
them. By making improvements new problems arise, but Sri Lanka is
taking one step at a time and adapting to the improvements that are being
made. Sri Lanka still has its fair share of poverty, conflicts
between the majority and the minority groups, but each day the country is
improving. Sri Lanka has a very promising and optimistic future.
After independence was gained, Sri Lanka has done so much to improve
living conditions, lifestyle, culture, etc. These improvements are
occurring, maybe slowly, but they are continuing on. Agriculture remains a
major part of the economy and culture of Sri Lanka, but as time moves into
the future, Sri Lanka is becoming more and more industrialized. Sri
Lanka overall is rated one of the highest developing Nations in the world
and hopefully she will continue on the path that has made this occured.
Hopefully one day Sri Lanka will not be
developing nation, but a growing competitor in the world market.