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name Sri Lanka originates from Sanskrit; the word Lanka meaning "island"
and the word Sri meaning "resplendent" or "sacred."
ශ්රී ලංකාව / இலங்கை
The culture and way of life in Sri Lanka today is quite
different among the people based on their ethnicity. This began due to Sri Lanka
being an important trading island, which led to the arrival of numerous people,
primarily from India, but who traded with people as far
away as Europe.
As an island with high demand for its spices, people continued to arrive to the
island and many of these groups didn't get along, but lived divided by the island's
mountains. The commonality they all had was that they tended to be involved in agriculture
and trade, which was what the entire economy was based on.
The flag of Sri Lanka has a number
of colors and a design with a lot of symbolism. The colors of the flag all represent
something: orange symbolizes the Sri Lankan Tamils, green represents the Sri Lankan
Moors, the red is for the European Burghers, and the yellow represents the other
ethnic groups on the island. In the design, the lion represents the ethnic Sinhalese,
the sword symbolizes the sovereignty of the nation, and the four leaves symbolize
the four virtues of Buddhism: kindness, friendliness, happiness, and equanimity.
Name: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Independence: February 4, 1948
Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee
Population: 21,675,648 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Sinhalese & others
Language: Sinhala & Tamil
While at times the people worked side by side as they all made money from the spice
trade, at other times they argued and fought as the economy was shut down. This
was magnified with the arrival of the Europeans, who sought
to control this trade.
In addition to ethnic differences, the Europeans also
sparked religious differences as many of the people converted to Christianity under
Portuguese rule, but Hindus and Muslims also were intermixed
with the majority, who are Buddhist.
This ethnic tension and violence continues today in Sri Lanka
as the people argue over political and economic power. Despite this, they remain
similar in many ways as they all continue to work primarily in the agricultural
industry (but today tea is their most important crop). They all seem to agree that
their life and standards of living are below expectations, but they struggle to
find an answer to this situation as terrorist groups on both sides create violence
and tension against the wishes of the majority, who wish to move beyond their pasts.
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