Sri Lanka: History

  1. 1505

    Portuguese explorers arrive in Colombo, marking the beginning of European interest in Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka.

  2. 1815

    Britain conquers previously established kingdoms and starts bringing Tamil laborers from southern India to work in tea, coffee, and coconut plantations.

  3. 1948

    Ceylon gains full independence.

  4. 1949

    Indian Tamil plantation workers are disenfranchised and many are deprived of citizenship.

  5. 1972

    Ceylon changes its name to Sri Lanka and Buddhism becomes the country's primary religion.

  6. 1976

    The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is formed to fight for an independent state for Tamil groups in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

  7. 2002

    After years of on and off fighting, the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels sign a Norwegian-mediated ceasefire.

  8. 2010

    The European Union suspends Sri Lanka's preferential trade status because of concerns over its human rights record.


BBC News