HistoryThere only exist legends about the early history of Sri Lanka. They say that the natives of Sri Lanka were descended from ghosts and demons. I t is told that three groups lived on the island: the Yakshas, the Nagas and the Rakshas.
The history which is certain, begins with the arrive of the North Indian prince Vijaya and a retinue of 700 men BC 543. However Vijaya history begins with a forefather, the King of Bengal, whose daughter had a loving affair with the King of the animals. This tells the legend. This daughter called his son Sinhabahu because of his lion paws. Sinhabahu killed his father and conquered the throne. His favoured son was Vijaya , the progenitor of the Singhaleses, who was exiled from India however because of his bad manners. These circumstances explain why the Singhaleses call themselves lion sons and why the symbol of the lion is seen everywhere in Sri Lanka.
Vijaya and his men met the Yakshas the first time in Sri Lanka, who they forced in the interior of the land. Vijaya called Sri Lanka at first Tambapanni which means the copper coloured hand because of the colour of the earth. The modern Veddas are regarded as the descendants of these Yakshas. For a long time the Veddas lived in seclusion and kept their own culture. Vijaya married a South Indian princess and his men looked for their wives in South India too. Up to this point 180 generations of Ceylonese kings ruled the island over 2300 years constantly. They left behind beautiful palaces and tremendous buildings. Sri Lanka received the Dominion status on February, 4 1948 and became an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations. At that time Sri Lanka carried still the colonial name Ceylon. On May, 22 nd 1972 the republic was proclaimed with the historian name Sri Lanka which is a member of the British Commonwealth since then