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.
It is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait.
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.).
It is probable that many of the scriptures from Nalanda are preserved in Sri Lanka's many monasteries and that the written form of the Tipitaka, including Sinhalese Buddhist literature, were part of the University of Nalanda.
The next invasion came immediately in 205 BC by a Chola king named Ellalan, who overthrew Asela and ruled the country for 44 years.
The island is home to many cultures, languages and ethnicities.
The majority of the population is from the Sinhalese ethnicity, while a large minority of Tamils have also played an influential role in the island's history.
Moors, Burghers, Malays, Chinese, and the aboriginal Vedda are also established groups on the island.
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.