Sri Lanka is an independent island nation just off the south-east coast of India. It measures approximately 250 miles from top to bottom, and up to about 120 miles from side to side. It is slightly larger in size than West Virginia, and has a population of 21.7 million, 74% of whom are Sinhalese, 8.5% either Indian or Sri Lankan Tamil, 7% are Sri Lankan Moors, and then lesser amounts of other nationalities. The country has two official languages – Sinhalese and Tamil, plus English is widespread especially in business and is described as a ‘link language’ in the country’s constitution.
Sri Lanka was under British rule from 1796 – 1948, during which time it was known as Ceylon. Its current name of Sri Lanka was adopted in 1972.