History of Sri Lanka: Who Founded the Island Nation?

Unearth the past of Sri Lanka and uncover who set up this age-old country. Delve into the annals of time to unearth the roots of this nation, and find out who was responsible for its inception. Take a journey through history to uncover the origins of this ancient land, and explore who established it long ago. Unwind the threads of time to discover who created this storied nation, and uncover its founding fathers. Investigate the history of Sri Lanka to uncover its creators, and learn more about how it came to be.

Traveling back through the ages, Sri Lanka’s origins can be uncovered. Believed to have been first settled by ancestors of modern-day Veddas around 125,000 years ago, these hunter-gatherers lived off the land and sea. Then in 543 BC, Prince Vijaya arrived from India with 700 followers and is credited with introducing Buddhism to the country, establishing a kingdom and beginning a two thousand year reign of his descendants.

The arrival of Europeans in 1505 brought about a new era for Sri Lanka as their culture and religion had an impact on society and politics. This period saw European powers competing for control over the island, resulting in Dutch and British colonialism until 1948 when independence was declared.

Nowadays, many archaeological sites such as Anuradhapura, Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa are preserved across the island to celebrate its unique history and provide insight into its past civilizations and cultures. Through exploration of this heritage one can discover who set up this ancient country: its indigenous people, its founder Prince Vijaya, and later European colonizers all played a role in shaping what we know today as Sri Lanka.



Awe-inspiring, a timeline of antiquity stretching back to eons past – the island of Sri Lanka has been home to human habitation since the Paleolithic period. Through the ages, it was first populated by the Sinhalese people in the 5th century BCE, who established an autonomous realm that spanned two millennia. Subsequently, foreign forces – Portuguese, Dutch, and British – invaded and took control of the isle. But in 1948, Sri Lanka finally achieved independence from Britain and declared itself a republic. Its inaugural leader was Junius Richard Jayawardene, who governed from 1978 until 1989.

– Exploring the History of Sri Lanka’s Founding

A vast and multifaceted history, stretching back to ancient times, lies behind the nation of Sri Lanka. Taprobane and Serendib were two names used to refer to the country in antiquity. European colonization began in 1505 when the Portuguese took control, followed by the Dutch in 1658. British rule was established in 1796 and endured until independence was declared in 1948.

The 1815 Kandyan Convention saw Ceylon declared an independent kingdom under British control, a major step towards self-governance for its people. This period also saw economic growth due to increased trade with Europe. After almost five centuries of foreign rule, Sri Lanka finally achieved freedom from Britain and changed its name to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Every year on February 4th this momentous occasion is commemorated as Independence Day.

Subsequent political changes and civil wars have had a huge impact on the lives of Sri Lankans, yet their cultural heritage remains strong. Anuradhapura is one example of a site that testifies to this long-standing tradition which continues to shape modern life across the nation today. Exploring all aspects of Sri Lankan history can give invaluable insight into how this vibrant nation has evolved over time.

– Colonialism and the Founding of Sri Lanka

The annals of Sri Lanka have been drastically changed by the effects of colonialism. 1505 marked the first arrival of Portuguese settlers, followed by Dutch occupation from 1658 to 1796; then in 1815, British control was asserted and lasted until independence in 1948. This colonial period brought about radical transformations to the nation’s laws, language, culture, and economy. Plantations were established on a large-scale basis, profoundly influencing both the economy and social structure of Sri Lanka.

Politically speaking, a constitutional government based on Westminster model was introduced instead of the traditional monarchy; this system also included a legislative council for greater representation from all sections of society. This enabled citizens to enjoy more civil rights and liberties such as freedom of speech and press as well as fairer taxation policies. Christianity displaced Buddhism as the main religion during this time period, altering many aspects of life including education, marriage customs, and family structure.

On top of these changes came economic growth due to foreign investment in Sri Lanka; plantation agriculture provided jobs for many people while infrastructure projects enhanced transportation networks around the island nation. Modern medicine was also implemented which greatly improved public health throughout history.

Colonialism undeniably played a major role in forming modern day Sri Lanka; however it is crucial to recognize that not all outcomes were beneficial – inequality between ethnic groups and economic disparities remain present even today.

– The Ancient Kingdoms that Preceded Sri Lanka’s Founding

Perplexing tales of times gone by linger in the air of Sri Lanka, a land with a rich and captivating past that reaches far back into antiquity. Evidence of civilization on the island dates to an astounding 10,000 BC, when the Mesolithic period began. In the 6th century BC, the Sinhalese people arrived and established numerous small kingdoms throughout the region. These realms were ruled by powerful monarchs who fought for control over their lands and resources.

The first major kingdom to arise was Anuradhapura in 377 BC, founded by King Pandukabhaya. It quickly became a major Buddhist center and an influential power that lasted until 1017 AD; during this time, many renowned Buddhist monuments were created, including stupas and monasteries. The city also served as an important trading post for merchants from India and beyond.

In 1070 AD, King Vijayabahu I overthrew the Chola Empire to establish Polonnaruwa as the next major kingdom in Sri Lanka. This prosperous realm endured for more than two centuries before its decline due to internal conflicts and invasions from South India. During its heyday, it was both a significant Hinduism and Buddhism center as well as a hub for traders from China and other parts of Asia.

Finally came Kandy in 1592 AD under King Wimala Dharma Suriya I after he overthrew Portuguese colonialism; it remained independent until 1815 when it was annexed by Britain’s Empire. Still today Kandy is regarded as one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful cities with its temples, palaces and gardens drawing visitors from near and far alike.

These ancient kingdoms have left lasting impressions on modern-day Sri Lanka; locals fondly remember these realms for their contributions to culture, religion and trade throughout history.

– Religion and the Founding of Sri Lanka

Enshrouded in a long and tangled history, Sri Lanka has been steeped in religious beliefs since its earliest days. Migrants from India brought Hinduism and Buddhism to the island, two of the world’s most ancient religions, and both have been fundamental to the culture and identity of Sri Lanka ever since. Subsequently, other faiths like Islam and Christianity were introduced but Hinduism and Buddhism still reign as the predominant religions.

The foundation of Sri Lanka as a nation-state was significantly impacted by religion. The mostly Buddhist Sinhalese people began settling on the island during the 3rd century BCE, forming various kingdoms which eventually amalgamated into one state in 1815 under British rule. During this time period, Buddhism became increasingly influential as it provided a sense of national identity for the Sinhalese people. This was further solidified when Ceylon (as it was then known) achieved independence from Britain in 1948 and adopted Buddhism as its official religion.

Presently, religion is still an integral part of Sri Lankan society with most citizens identifying as either Buddhist or Hindu, while smaller populations recognize themselves as Muslim or Christian. Religion is deeply entrenched in everyday life and affects everything from politics to art and culture; furthermore, it remains an essential component of national identity and is seen by many as key to preserving peace and harmony on this island nation.

– Examining the Political and Social Factors Behind Sri Lanka’s Founding

Enveloped in a long and intricate history, Sri Lanka has been subject to various invasions and occupations that have left an indelible impact on the country’s political and social landscape. Believed to be founded by the Sinhalese people around 500 BC, the kingdom of Anuradhapura was ruled by an absolute monarchy until 1815. Buddhism had a significant effect on many facets of Sinhalese culture, including the establishment of a four-tiered caste system.

In 1505, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived in Sri Lanka and swiftly established control over much of its trade routes, leading to a period of European domination that lasted for more than two centuries. The Portuguese imposed their own laws, while also attempting to convert the island’s inhabitants to Catholicism; this caused resentment among some Sinhalese people who felt their culture was being threatened by outside forces.

In 1796, Britain defeated the Dutch in a naval battle off the coast of Trincomalee and assumed control over much of Sri Lanka’s politics and economy until independence in 1948. During this period, English was introduced as an official language alongside Tamil and Sinhala while economic development was encouraged through investments in tea plantations and other industries.

The present day still bears traces of Sri Lanka’s past political and social influences: ethnic divides between Tamils and Sinhaleses remain despite attempts at reconciliation following decades of civil war; Buddhism continues to play an important role in society; colonial-era laws still govern certain aspects such as land ownership rights. Examining these factors behind Sri Lanka’s founding helps us understand how they continue to shape life on the island today.


A mysterious and tumultuous past, shrouded in the mists of time, lies behind the isle of Sri Lanka. It began with the legendary arrival of Prince Vijaya of the Vanga Kingdom, who is thought to have been the first recorded ruler in the 5th century BCE. Coming from northern India, he and his followers established a new realm known as Tambapanni. Throughout its history, Sri Lanka’s destiny has been entwined with that of its neighbouring nations, particularly India and South East Asia.


Some questions with answers

Q1. Who founded Sri Lanka?
A1. Sri Lanka was founded by the Sinhalese people in 543 BC.

Q2. What is the history of Sri Lanka?
A2. The recorded history of Sri Lanka begins in the 6th century BC with the arrival of Buddhism and covers a period of over 2500 years.

Q3. What is the ancient history of Sri Lanka?
A3. Ancient Sri Lanka was a rich civilization that included trade and agriculture, as well as an advanced system of government and culture.

Q4. Who were the first rulers of Sri Lanka?

A4. The first rulers of Sri Lanka were the Sinhala kings, who ruled from 543 BC to 1815 AD.

Q5. How did British rule affect Sri Lanka?

A5. British rule brought many changes to Sri Lanka, including new laws, systems of government, and economic policies that had lasting effects on the country’s development.

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