National Day of Sri Lanka

Article excerpt

SRI Lanka celebrates its Independence Day today. Over a period of 2,500 years, the island was known by a variety of names. The ancient Greeks and Romans knew Sri Lanka as "Taprobane." Arab writers and sailors in olden days knew Sri Lanka as "Serendip."

According to the Sri Lankan historical tradition, "Lankan" was the original name of the island. It was in use for centuries until the European invasions in the 15th Century. During the British period (1815-1948), the island was popularly known as "Ceylon." This name was used even after the country gained independence in 1948. With the adoption of the New Constitution in 1972, the traditional name "Sri Lanka" (Resplendid Island) was adopted, in keeping with the rich and varied culture of the nation.

Sri Lanka's economy is predominantly agricultural. A large export trade has been in tea, rubber, and coconut-dominated commercial activities. Tea has been the principal commercial crop in Sri Lanka since the early 1970s. Ceylon tea, said to be the best in the world, has unique characteristics and a reputation running through more than a century. Since 1996, Sri Lanka tea producers have achieved record outputs. Today, Sri Lanka is the world's largest exporter of tea.

Sri Lanka has demonstrated a strong commitment to protecting its environment and rich natural resources. One of the first countries to develop a natural environment action plan, Sri Lanka has outlined its objectives for bio-diversity, conservation, protection of coastal zones, forestry, and land and water management. …