Sinhalese people

සිංහල ජාතිය
Sinhalese of India, Mumbai, India, 1897.jpg
A Sinhalese man in Mumbai, India in 1897
Total population
c. 16.2 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Sri Lanka       15,173,820 (74.88%)
 United Kingdom ~100,000 (2010)[3]
 Australia 85,000 (2016)[4]
 Italy ~56,000 (2016)[5]
 Canada 19,830 (2006)[6]
 US 41,000 (2016)[7][unreliable source?]
 Singapore 25,000 (2016)[8]
 Malaysia 10,000 (2009)[9]
 New Zealand 7,257 (2006)[10]
 India 4,100[11][12]
Sinhalese · English
Dharma wheel.svg Theravada Buddhist majority
Gold Christian cross.svg Christian/Catholic
Related ethnic groups
Ethnic groups in northeast South Asia[13]
Tamils (especially Sri Lankan Tamils)[13]
Austro-Asiatic peoples[14]

The Sinhalese (Sinhala: සිංහල ජාතිය Sinhala Jathiya, also known as Hela) are an Indo-Aryan-speaking ethnic group native to the island of Sri Lanka.[15] They constitute about 75% of the Sri Lankan population and number greater than 16.2 million.[16][2] The Sinhalese identity is based on language, historical heritage and religion. The Sinhalese people speak the Sinhalese language, an Indo-Aryan language, and are predominantly Theravada Buddhists,[17] although a small percentage of Sinhalese follow branches of Christianity. The Sinhalese are mostly found in North central, Central, South, and West Sri Lanka. According to the 5th century epic poem Mahavamsa, and the Dipavamsa, a 3-5th century treatise written in Pali by Buddhist monks of the Anuradhapura Maha Viharaya in Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese are descendants of settlers who came to the island in 543 BCE from Sinhapura in India, led by Prince Vijaya.[18]

  1. ^ "Sinhala". Ethnologue. 
  2. ^ a b "A2 : Population by ethnic group according to districts, 2012". Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka. 
  3. ^ Nihal Jayasinghe. (2010). Letter to William Hague MP. Available:,%20MP.pdf Last accessed 3 September 2010.
  4. ^ "Country: Australia". Joshua Project. 
  5. ^ "Statistiche demografiche ISTAT". 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  6. ^ TorontoSLSA [@TorontoSLSA] (6 October 2016). "@CanHCSriLanka @JustinTrudeau To date the CDN Gov is yet to publicly recognize 70,000 strong Sinhala community in Canada #canpoli #onpoli" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Stuart Michael. (2009). A traditional Sinhalese affair. Available: Archived 15 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. Last accessed 3 March 2010.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b Kirk, R. L. (1976). "The legend of Prince Vijaya — a study of Sinhalese origins". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 45: 91. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330450112. 
  14. ^ Hawkey, D E (1998). "Out of Asia: Dental evidence for affinity and microevolution of early and recent populations of India and Sri Lanka". 
  15. ^ Sinhala Aryans Source-2 (Britannica)
  16. ^ "Sinhala". Ethnologue. 
  17. ^ Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Online version:
  18. ^ John M. Senaveratna (1997). The story of the Sinhalese from the most ancient times up to the end of "the Mahavansa" or Great dynasty. Asian Educational Services. pp. 7–22. ISBN 978-81-206-1271-6. 

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