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Forming a teardrop island at the southernmost tip of south Asia, Sri Lanka has long been at the crossroads of religious, cultural, and colonial history. The population of 20,064,776 is more than 69 percent Buddhist. As Ceylon, the country achieved independence in 1948 from the British, who had taken over from the Dutch, who had superseded the Portuguese. In 1972 Ceylon officially became Sri Lanka. Ethnic tensions between the Sinhalese and the Tamil led to war in 1983 and to the deaths of tens of thousands of Sri Lankans. Approximately 200,000 Tamils emigrated to Western nations, and several thousand Sri Lankans sought refuge in other Asian nations. Under the leadership of Norway, a cease fire was negotiated in February 2002.

Bordering the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka ...

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