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Along with the Maldives, Sri Lanka is one of only two South Asian countries rated "high" on the Human Development Index (HDI), with its HDI rating and per capita income the highest among South Asian nations.The island is home to many cultures, languages and ethnicities.In antiquity, Sri Lanka was known to travellers by a variety of names.According to the Mahavamsa, the legendary Prince Vijaya named the land Tambapanni ("copper-red hands" or "copper-red earth"), because his followers' hands were reddened by the red soil of the area.Because the Pāli Canon was at that time oral literature maintained in several recensions by dhammabhāṇakas (dharma reciters), the surviving monks recognized the danger of not writing it down so that even if some of the monks whose duty it was to study and remember parts of the Canon for later generations died, the teachings would not be lost.Sri Lankan monarchs undertook some remarkable construction projects such as Sigiriya, the so-called "Fortress in the Sky", built during the reign of Kashyapa I of Anuradhapura, who ruled between 477 and 495.Sinhala: ශ්රී ලංකා Śrī Laṃkā; Tamil: இலங்கை Ilaṅkai), officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea.
Sri Lanka's recent history has been marred by a 30-year civil war, which decisively ended when the Sri Lanka Armed Forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009.
It was also the leading exporter of cinnamon in the ancient world.
It maintained close ties with European civilisations including the Roman Empire.
The legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo.
Sri Lanka's documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years.).