Sri Lanka Fun Facts
- Sri Lanka was first colonized by the Portuguese in 1505, then by the Dutch in 1658, then by the British in 1796 and finally gained independence in 1948.
- Sri Lanka used to be called Ceylon which is the transliteration of Ceilao.
- The oldest living tree known to be planted by man is in Sri Lanka. Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura has been tended continuously for over 2,000 years. I was grown from a cutting brought from Bodh Gaya in India, the tree under which Buddha is said to have found enlightenment.
- The world's first female prime minister was Sri Lankan. in 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the sixth Prime Minister of Ceylon.
- in 2016 the World Health Organisation declared Sri Lanka malaria-free. Sri Lanka had been among the most malaria-affected countries in the mid-20th century but the country's anti-malaria campaign successfully changed this around.
- The colourful Sri Lankan flag is rather complicated:
- The lion represents Sinhalese ethnicity, the strength of the nation and bravery.
- The sword represents the sovereignty of the nation
- The four bo leaves - symbolizing Buddhism and its influence on the country - stands for the four virtues of kindness, happiness and equanimity.
- Orange signifies Sri Lankan Tamils, Green signifies Sri Lankan Moors, Maroon signifies the Sinhalese majority and yellow denotes other ethnic groups.
- Sri Lanka may once have been physically connected to India. Hindu devotees believe the area between India and Sri Lanka - known as Adams's bridge - was built millions of years ago by Lord Ram and an army of monkeys. Instead, scientists and archaeologists believe it is a natural formation of sand and stone.
- Because of its unique shape and position to the south of India, Sri Lanka is known as the "Teardrop of India".
- Adam's peak is the most sacred mountain in the country. It stands at 2,243fm (797ft) and holds significance in several major religions thanks to the curious depression at its summit, known as the Sri Pada or Sacred Footprint. Buddhists believe the imprints to be Buddhas. Muslins claim it as the footprint of Adams, while Hindus believe it belongs to Shiva. Christians have also claimed it for St Thomas.
- Lipton Tea was founded in Sri Lanka, In 1890, Glasgow-born grocer Sir Thomas Lipton purchased 5,500 acres of the Dambatenne Tea Plantation in Ceylon's high country and began exporting it directly to his shops in the UK.
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