Sri Lanka

Driving Directions Sri Lanka

SRI LANKA is an island republic lying in the Indian Ocean just off the southeastern tip of India, from which separated by the Palk Strait.

Until 1948, when it achieved independence, it was under British rule and called Ceylon. The shallow Palk Strait is itself interrupted by a chain of reefs and islands known as Adam’s Bridge, which almost links the two coasts. The island dominated by a central, southern mass of hills and mountains (rising to a maximum height of 2,524 meters or 8,281 feet), which are surrounded by lower, coastal plains.

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The climate is equatorial with a low annual temperature range, but it is affected by both the northeast and southwest monsoons. Rainfall is most torrential in the southwest of the country while the north and east are relatively dry.

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Sri Lanka has a wide variety of natural vegetation, including tropical jungles and forests containing many types of trees and plants such as mahogany, satinwood, ebony, cypress, and eucalyptus. Equally varied are the wildlife species, which include many rare animals and birds.

Agriculture engages 47 percent of the workforce, and the chief crops are tea, rubber, coconuts, and rice. Some rice, sugar, and wheat imported. Sri Lanka has long been famous for its tea plantations, and tea is one of the mainstays of the economy. Among the chief minerals mined and exported are precious and semiprecious stones. Graphite is also essential. The primary industries are food, beverages, and tobacco, textiles, clothing and leather goods, chemicals, and plastics. Attempts made to increase the revenue from tourism.

Politically, Sri Lanka afflicted by ethnic divisions between the Sinhalese and Tamils. In the 1980s, attempts by Tamil extremists to establish an independent homeland brought the northeast of the country to the brink of civil war, and the situation remains extremely volatile.

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