History

Early history

Around 500 BC the first people under guidance of Vijaya came to Sri Lanka. In the third century BC King Devanampiyatissa converted to Buddhism and the Buddhism became the main religion of Sri Lanka. Anuradhapura became the capital of Sri Lanka.
Anuradhpura was attacked a lot by other kingdoms from India. In 1017 the Chola kingdom destroyed Anuradhapura. The capital changed into Polonnaruwa. Polonnaruwa was until 1212 capital of Sri Lanka.
Around 1234 Tamils founded their own kingdom around Jaffna. Between the thirteenth and the fifteenth century the capital of Sri Lanka changed a lot of times. Sri Lanka was in this period an easy target for other countries.
Kandy Kingdom, Jaffna Kingdom and Kotte Kingdom.
 

Colonial era

Portuguese period

In 1505 a few Portuguese vessel under guidance from Dom Lourenço de Almeida ashore by Colombo.
In the time the Portuguese came ashore in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka was divided in 3 kingdoms; Jaffna, Kandy and Kotte. In the begin the Portuguese where only interested in spices, but after some years, the Portuguese rulers controlled the southwest coast and north part of the country. Also the Portuguese rules controlled some areas in the east part of the country such as Batticaloa and Trincomalee. Portugal likes also to have Kandy, but Kingdom Kandy stayed a independent kingdom. In 1602 the first Dutch VOC vessels, under guidance of admiral Joris van Spilbergen, came ashore in Batticaloa. The king of Kandy saw a good partner in the Dutch (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie/East India Compagny) against the Portuguese rulers. Because of some incidents the contact between the VOC and the king of Kandy was very few.
Because of a war in 1637 between Kandy and the Portuguese rulers, the king of Kandy Rajasinha the second, asked the VOC for help. The VOC send some vessels to the island to assist the kingdom.
In May 1638 the VOC, under guidance of Adam Westerwolt, captured the eastern port Batticaloa. After this Trincomalee was captured by the VOC and was given back to the kingdom of Kandy. The capture of both towns was an agreement between the VOC and Kandy.
In 1640 the VOC captured, without conference, Negombo, Galle and Matare. This towns were not given back to Kandy kingdom, because of the strategically position. In 1655 the VOC captured Colombo after a 7 months siege. In 1658 the VOC captured also Jaffna and Mannar in the north part of Ceylon
 

Dutch period

In 1658 the whole island, except Kandy, was under control of the VOC. The VOC was very much interested in trading in spices. Also the VOC made in Ceylon cinnamon plantations. Also the VOC introduced the Dutch- Roman law system in Sri Lanka.
The British were very much interested in Ceylon, because of the strategically position in the Indian Ocean.  In 1795 the British entered the harbor of Trincomalee. After this Colombo was captured by the British. There was not much resistance of the Dutch VOC, because of the fourth English war and the war in Holland.

English Period

In 1802 Ceylon, except Kandy, was under control of the British. In 1815 the British captured also Kandy.
After 1815 there could be see some changes in Ceylon. The British constructed roads in the mountains and set up coffee plantations. In 1867 tea plantations and industry introduced by the British. In 1870 all the coffee plantations replaced by the tea plantations because of illness of the tea bush. After the first war the Ceylon National Congress was established. Ceylon was the first country in the British overseas areas that got universal suffrage. This was in 1931. Further developments were flagged because of the second world war.
First Ceylon didn’t had problem in the world war 2,  but in 1942 it all changed. Japan attacked Singapore, Ragoon and Dutch-Indie. Because of this England establish some aircraft carriers and aircrafts in Ceylon. On 5 April 1942 Japan had an air attack at Colombo. 4 days later Japan had an air attack on Trincomalee. Japan wanted to destroy the British fleet. They didn't had the intention to plan a invasion at Ceylon.
Ceylon became for the rest of the war an operating base for the British army. Headquarters from the South East Asia Command was in Peradeniya. In Trincomalee was there an advanced operation school from the British Special Operations Executive. One of the many airports in Ceylon during the world war was operated in Sigiriya.
When the war was going to his end, there became a lot of plans for Ceylon. In July 1945 London make a statement to get a dominion for Ceylon.

Mark colonial era

In the Portuguese period the Portugal rulers tried to convert the Sinhalese people to the Catholic conviction. The Portuguese rulers build also some forts around the island. This forts later extended and renewed by the Dutch.
The system of law In Sri Lanka is based on Roman Dutch law.
In the English period the English build roads and railway lines, stimulate agriculture, fight against disease, excavate old ruins’, build coffee, rubber estates.
The English introduced also Cricket and Golf in Sri Lanka, the parliamentary system and English as second language.
 
Kandy Lake

Sri Lanka after 1948

At 4 February 1948 there was a transfer of sovereignty and Ceylon became independent from Great Brittain, but Ceylon was staying as a dominion (part) of the British Commonwealth. This means that the Queen of Great Britain was the head of state of Ceylon.
Don Stephen Senanayake became the first prime minister of Ceylon. Don Stephen Senanayake was a member of the United Nation Party (UNP) and the British government had a prefer for the UNP.
In 1951 Solomon Bandaranaike left the UNP and establish an own party, called the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), because of disagreement with the policy of the UNP
Don Stephen Senanayake passed away in March 1952. Dudley Senanayake became, after the death of his father, the new prime minister of Ceylon. Dudley Senanayake was minister of Agriculture and Lands in his father cabinet. The inflation and the unemployment in this period became higher and higher. Dudley Senanayake reduced the subsidy on imported rice’s. After this decision there came riots and there became a state of emergency. On 12 October 1953 Dudley Senanayake resigned from his job as prime minister.
After resigning of Dudley Senanayake, John Kotelawa became the new prime minster of Sri Lanka. In 1955 Sri Lanka became a member of the United Nations. John Kotelawa was prime minister until 1956. In 1956 Solomon Bandaranaike became the new prime minister of Ceylon. When Solomon Bandaranaike became prime minister the English Language was the official language of Ceylon. Solomon Bandaranaike changed the official language from English into Sinhala. Also Solomon Bandaranaike decide to nationalize some transport- and harbor companies. After this decision there became riots between Tamils and Sinhalese. A lot of Tamils flee, because of this riots, to the east and north. The Tamils called for an own state in north and east. Solomon Bandaranaike tried to stop the violence and try to find a solution with the Tamil minority in the country.
Solomon Bandaranaike was shot down by a Buddhist monk on 25 September 1959. One day later Solomon Bandaranaike succumb by his injuries. Solomon Bandaranaike died at an age of 60 years. Wijeyananda Dahanayake became the prime minister after Solomon Bandaranaike. Wijeyananda Dahanayake send almost all the ministers away from the cabinet of Bandaranaike. In 1960 the parliament send Wijeyananda Dahanayake home and there came new elections. In March 1960 Dudley Senanayake became the new prime minister of Sri Lanka. Dudley Senanayake’s cabinet was a minority cabinet and this period wasn’t a success for Dudley Senanayake. The parliament send in July 1960 Dudley Senanayake and his cabinet to home and there became again new elections. By the new elections Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the first female prime minister in the world. Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the widow of Solomon Bandaranaike. In this term as prime minister she send around 500.000 Indian Tamils back to India. Around 300.000 Tamils stayed in Sri Lanka. Her inland policy was failing.
In 1965 Sirimavo Bandaranaike lost by the elections. The elections won by Dudley Senanayake. Again the inland policy was failing. In 1970 Sirimavo Bandaranaike became again prime minister of Ceylon. All the tea plantations and agriculture companies came under control of the government. In 1972 the constitution changed and the name of Ceylon changed into the Republic of Sri Lanka. The term of office of Sirimavo Bandaranaike also extended by 2 years. William Gopallawa, until 22 May 1972 governor of Ceylon, became the first president of Sri Lanka. Following decisions and policy of Sirimavo Bandaranaike, members of the coalition organized the worst strikes in 20 years in February 1977. Tamils also called for an own state in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Because of this, there came elections in May 1977. Richard Junius (RJ) Jayawardene won this elections with 86,7 percent of the ballots.
 
 

Sri Lanka after 1977

RJ Jayawardene became the new prime minister of Sri Lanka. In 1978 there came a new constitution. The name Republic of Sri Lanka changed into the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The government changed the political system to example of the French and the American systems. This means that the president got more power and became head of state, chief executive and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. In former days the president in Sri Lanka had only a ceremonial function.
All the changes where possible, because of the majority of the UNP of the premier. In July 1983 the war started between Sri Lanka and the Tamils in the north and east.
In December 1989 RJ Jayawardene resign from his job. Ranasinghe Premadasa, under Jayawardene, prime minister, became the new president of Sri Lanka. Premadasa promised some changes in the country. He wanted to stop the war and to defeat the JVP. Also he want to renew the economy.
On 1 May 1993, during a May Day rally Premadasa was assassinated by a LTTE suicide bomber. One week earlier the opposition leader Lalith Athulathmudali was killed during a political conference.
On 7 May 1993 Dingiri Banda Wijetunga, premier under Premadasa, was chosen by the Sri Lankan parliament as new President. Between 1 May and 7 May Dingiri Banda Wijetunga was already interim president. Dingiri Banda Wijetunga was until November 1994 president of Sri Lanka. In his farewell speech in parliament he quoted Shakespeare with the follow words: ‘Do not be afraid of greatness, Some men are born great, Some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them’
 

Sri Lanka after 1994

In November 1994 Chandrika Bandaranaike- Kumaratunga (SLFP), daughter of Solomon and Sirimavo Bandaranaike, was chosen as the new president of Sri Lanka. Chandrika Bandaranaike- Kumaratunga tried to set up peace talks with the LTTE. It this wasn’t a success, because of different bomb attacks. One of the bomb attacks was in July 2001 at the international airport. In June 2001 there came new parliament elections, because some members of the government crossed over to the opposition. The parliament elections won by the UNP. Ranil Wickremasinghe became the new premier of Sri Lanka. He succeed in peace talks in 2002 with the LTTE and signed a Ceasefire agreement under guidance of Norway. On 7 February 2004 Chandrika Bandaranaike- Kumaratunga used her constitutional power and dissolved the parliament. There came new elections on 2 April 2004. The new premier became Mahinda Rajapakse (SLFP). On 26 December 2004 (Boxing Day) a Tsunami hit the whole coast of Sri Lanka. A lot of people died because of the Tsunami. Also there were a lot of injured people. A lot of buildings/houses etc were damaged in the coastal area of Sri Lanka. With help from other countries Sri Lanka started the reconstruction of the island very fast. In November 2005 there where again President elections. Mahinda Rajapakse won the president elections, held on 17 November 2005 and became the new president of Sri Lanka. The main challenger of Mahinda Rajapakse by this elections was Ranil Wickremasinghe.
Mahinda Rajapakse tried to continue the peace talks with the LTTE, but after the Mavil- Aru incident in the east part of the country the war started again. Mahinda Rajapakse promised to defeat the LTTE. The SL army slowly took the control over from the LTTE in the east and north
Mahinda Rajapakse announced at 19 May 2009 that the rebel leader Vellupillai Prabakhakaran was killed by armed forces. The president announced that the war was over. In January 2010 (26 January) there were held president elections. Mahinda Rajapakse won this elections and started for his second term in office. The main challenger of Mahinda Rajapakse was Sarath Fonseka. Sarath Fonseka was an army general and key figure during the last war against the LTTE.
At 9 February 2010 the parliament was dissolved by Mahinda Rajapakse’s order.

On April 8, 2010 there were held elections for parliament. The main parties in this elections were the party of president Mahinda Rajapakse, the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and the opposition parties, the United National Party (UNP) and the Democratic National Alliance (DNA). The UFPA won this parliament elections.