General Information About Sri Lanka

Official name:     Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka     
Government type:     Republic     
Location:     Latitude 5° 55. to 9° 50. north, longitude 79° 42. to 81° 52., 650km north of the equator     
Dimensions:     430km north to south, 225km east to west     
Coastline:     1,340km     
Area:     65,525km     
Currency (code):     Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)     
Independence:     4 February 1948     
Administrative capital:     Sri Jayewardenepura     
Commercial capital:     Colombo     
Administrative divisions:     9 provinces; Central, North Central, North Eastern, North Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva, Western, Eastern Province     
Climate:     Typically tropical, with a northeast monsoon (December to March) bringing unsettled weather to the north and east, and a southwest monsoon (June to October) bringing bad weather to the south and west     
Terrain:     Mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior     
Highest mountain:     Pidurutalagala, 2,524m     
Highest waterfall:     Bambarakanda, 263m     
National flower:     The Blue Water Lily (Nymphaea stellata).     
National parks and nature reserves area:     8,000sq.km     
Population:     21,128,773     
Population growth rate:     1.3%     
Population density:     309 people per sq km     
Life expectancy at birth:     74 female, 64 male     
Literacy rate:     Female 87.9 Male 92.5     
Ethnic groups:     Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10% (2001 census)     
Languages:     Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8% Note: English (a link language commonly) is used in government and spoken competently by about 10% of the population     
Religion:     Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, unspecified 10% (2001 census)     
Time zone:     Sri Lanka standard time is five and a half hours ahead of GMT. (Allowance should be made for summer-time changes in Europe.)

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