Nickname: Pearl of the Indian Ocean
Map Sri Lanka
|Area||65,610 km2 (25,330 sq mi)|
|Coastline||1,340 km (833 mi)|
|Highest elevation||2,524.13 m (8,281.27 ft)|
|Largest settlement||Colombo (pop. 752,993)|
|Pop. density||323 /km2 (837 /sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||Sinhalese - 75%, Sri Lanka Tamils - 11%, Sri Lankan Moors 9%|
Sri Lanka, formerly called Ceylon, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, southeast of the Indian subcontinent, in a strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes. The nation has a total area of 65,610 km², with 64,740 km² of land and 870 km² of water. Its coastline is 1,340 km long. The main island of Sri Lanka has an area of 65,268 km² – it's the twenty-fifth largest island of the world by area. Dozens of offshore islands account for the remaining 342 km² area. The largest offshore island, Mannar Island, leads to Adam's Bridge.
Adam's Bridge, a land connection to the Indian mainland, is now mostly submerged with only a chain of limestone shoals remaining above sea level. According to temple records, this natural causeway was formerly complete, but was breached by a violent storm (probably a cyclone) in 1480. The formation is also known as Rama's Bridge, as according to Hindu mythology, it was constructed during the rule of Lord Rama.
Sri Lanka's climate includes tropical monsoons: the northeast monsoon (December to March), and the southwest monsoon (June to October). Its terrain is mostly low, flat to rolling plain, with mountains in the south-central interior. The highest point is Pidurutalagala at 2,524.13 m. Natural resources include limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower.