Who started with Buddhism in Sri Lanka

Culture and history

Section: Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka has been ruled by kings since ancient times, from the 3rd century BC, as documented by 2500 years of written history. Recent excavations show that even in the Neolithic era there were collectors and rice planters in Sri Lanka. Little is known from this period. Documented history began with the arrival of the Aryans from India. The Aryans were the first to use iron on the island and cultivate advanced forms of agriculture. And they introduced the art of government. From the settlements of the Aryans, Anuradhapura grew into a powerful kingdom under the rule of King Pandukabhaya. According to traditional history, he is believed to be the founder of Anuradhapura.

During the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa, a descendant of Pandukabhaya, Buddhism was established in 247 B.C. Introduced to Sri Lanka by Arahat Mahinda, son of Emperor Asoka of India. This can be seen as one of the greatest milestones in Sri Lankan history as Buddhism is still shaping Sri Lanka. As the new civilization blossomed, Sri Lanka became a wealthy and culturally superior state.

In the middle of the second century B.C. a large part of Sri Lanka came under the rule of the invaders from southern India. From the beginning of the Christian era until the end of the 4th century A.D., Sri Lanka was ruled continuously by the Lambakarna dynasty, who placed great emphasis on the development of agriculture. A great king of this dynasty, Mahasen (3rd century A.D.) began the construction of large reservoirs for irrigation. An equally great builder of irrigation systems was Dhatusena, who was killed by his son Kasyapa, who made Sigiriya the royal city with its rock fortress.

As a result of invasions from southern India, the Kingdom of Anuradhapura fell in the late 10th century A.D .. Vijayabahu I drove out the invaders and built his capital at Polonnaruwa in the 11th century A.D .. Other great kings of Polonnaruwa were Parakrama Bahu the Great and Nissanka Malla. Both embellished the city with many buildings of architectural beauty. Colombo Town HallMore invasions followed and the capital was continually relocated until the Portuguese arrived in 1505 and the capital was established at Kotte in the western flatlands. The Portuguese came to trade in spices, but they remained and ruled the coastal regions until 1656, just as the Dutch did in the following period. Dutch rule lasted from 1656 to 1796, the year they were replaced by the British. However, these powerful Europeans were unable to conquer the entire island, and until 1815 a king ruled the central highlands of Kandy. During this time the kingdom in the highlands with its capital Kandy retained its independence, even if the foreign powers ruling the rest of the country continued to advance. In 1815 the Kingdom of Kandy was conquered by the British, with which the British had established their rule over the entire island. Modern communication, western health care, education in English and also the plantations (first coffee, then tea, rubber and coconut) developed during this time.

Through a process of peaceful and constitutional evolution, Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948 and is now a sovereign state, with membership in the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations. The British colony, called Ceylon, achieved independence in 1948. The young independent nation kept this name until 1972 when the new constitution changed the name to Sri Lanka. Since independence, Sri Lanka has had a democratic, multi-party government. In 1983 civil war broke out between the government and the separate Tamil movement in the northeast of the island. In February 2002, after nearly two decades of civil war, a ceasefire was agreed between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), the main Tamil liberation movement. Due to advancing procations and an unmistakable armament on the part of the Tamil Tigers, the government of Sri Lanka terminated the fragile ceasefire in early 1998 and began the humanitarian operation to liberate the north and east of Sri Lanka from the hands of the Tamil Tigers. This ended on September 20, 2009 with the smashing of the Tamil Tigers. Since then there has been peace in Sri Lanka, and the resettlement of the Tamils ​​in the north and east of Sri Lanka and the reconstruction of the infrastructure in the former crisis areas are progressing.