Chronography of Sri Lanka)

Page last modified 19/6/2022


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Tamil Conflict

18/5/2009, The Sri Lankan civil war ended, after over 25 years, with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. 80,000 people had died in the war.

2007, Sri Lankan troops cleared Tamil rebels from the east coast.

16/10/2006, 100 died in Sri Lanka when the Tamil Tigers hit a military convoy with a truck bomb.

2006, The Tamil Tigers began a bombing campaign, in breach of the 2002 ceasefire.

2004, The Tamil Tigers gained control of the east coast.

6/10/2003, Sri Lankan schoolchildren protested at the abduction of 25 of their classmates by the Tamil Tigers. This drew worldwide attention to the plight of child soldiers.

22/2/2002. A Norwegian-mediated ceasefire began in Sri Lanka. Civilian flights to Jaffna resumed, and the Tamils dropped their demand for a separate State.

1999, Kumaratunga was injured in an assaniation attempt; she was re-elected.

1/5/1993, President Ranasinghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka was assassinated by a Tamil suicide bomber.

15/7/1990, Tamil Tigers killed 168 Muslims in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

24/3/1990, Indian peacekeeping troops pulled out of Sri Lanka. Tamil violence escalated.

15/2/1989, The United National Party won the Sri Lankan parliamentary election.

2/1/1989, Ranasinghe Premadasa was sworn in as President of Sri Lanka.

1/5/1988. Tamil guerrillas set off a land mine in Sri Lanka under a bus, killing 26 passengers.

9/11/1987, A bomb explosion in Colombo, Sri Lanka, killed 32.

4/8/1987, Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka agreed to surrender arms to theIndian peacekeeping force.

29/7/1987, President Jatawardene of Sri Lanka and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi (mediator in the Tamil conflict) signed a Treaty to end Tamil violence in Sri Lanka. A semi-autonomous Tamil homeland in northern Sri Lanka was proposed, and recognition of the Tamil Tigers as a political Party once they had disarmed. An Indian peacekeeping force was to police the agreement.

18/5/1986, Sri Lankan forces attempted to gain control over the Jaffna Peninsula in the north, held by Tamil rebels.

2/6/1985, President Jayawardene of Sri Lanka discussed the ethnic violence in his country with Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

14/5/1985. Tamil violence spread across Sri Lanka.

30/11/1984, Tamil Tigers began a purge of Sinhalese from north east Sri Lanka, killing 127 people.

4/8/1984, Violent clashes between Tamils and Sinhalese in Sri Lanka.

28/7/1983, Sri Lanka imposed a ban on political parties advocating partition of the island between Tamils and Sinhalese.

27/7/1983, Prisoners in Welikaldi jail killed 52 Tamil inmates in their cells.

25/7/1983, The Sri Lankan Government imposed a curfew following attacks on the Tamil community.

24/7/1983, 20 Tamils on a bus were lynched by a Sinhalese mob.

23/7/1983, Civil war began in Sri Lanka. Following an attack by Tamil Tigers on 13 Sinhalese spoldiers, after a provocation, this day a mob of Sinhalese attacked Tamil homes, businesses and factories. The police and military colluded.

4/2/1978, Junius Jayawardene became President of Sri Lanka.

1977, In Sri Lankan elections, Tamil Separatists won all the seats in the Tamil areas.

1975, The Tamil Tiger rebel group was formed.


22/5/1972. Ceylon, a self-governing dominion since 4/2/1948, became a republic within The Commonwealth, and adopted the new name of Sri Lanka.

1972, Ceylon officially changed its name to the Sinhalese name of Sri lanka.

27/5/1970, The opposition won elections in Sri Lanka. Mrs Bandaranaike became Prime Minister,

25/3/1965, In elections in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Mrs Srimavo Bandaranaike lost to Dudley Senanayake.

20/7/1960, General election in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) was won by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike, widow of the late Prime Minister assassinated September 1959, became Prime Minister, She was the first woman Prime Minister of a Commonwealth country.

25/9/1959, Solomon Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1956, was shot by a Buddhist monk in Colombo, for having concluded a trade deal with China; he died the following day.

27/5/1958, A State of Emergency was declared in Sri Lanka. This was due to Sinhalese-Tamil riots following the declaration of Sinhalese, not English, as the official language in 1956.

15/10/1957, The naval base at Tricomalee was handed over to Sri Lanka by Britain.

7/7/1956, In Ceylon (Sri Lanka), after the electoral victory of the Freedom Party, Sinhalese replaced English as the official language.

10/4/1956, Solomon Bandaranaike became Prime Minister ofa United Front Government of Sri Lanka. He ended the British military and naval presence in Sri Lanka, but also provoked Tamil riots by attempting to institute Sinhalese as the only official language.

10/10/1950, The Royal Ceylon Air Force was formed, with assistance from the RAF.

1949, Indian Tamil workers in Sri Lanka were stripped of voting and citizenship rights.


British colonialisation

4/2/1948. Ceylon became a self-governing dominion; it had been a British colony since 1802. It achieved full independence on 22/5/1972.

26/9/1947, In Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Don Stephen Senanayake became Prime Minister.

8/1/1899, Solomon Bandaranaike, Sri Lankan Prime Minister 1956-59, was born in the capital, Colombo.

1833, English was made the only official language of Ceylon.

1815, The British occupied Kandy, and brought in Tamil labourers from southern India to work on the tea, coffee and cocnut plantations.

1802, Ceylon became a British colony under the Peace of Amiens. This formalised Britiush control of areas they had occupied de facto since 1796. Before 1796, the Dutch had controlled Ceylon.

11/1/1782, The United Netherlands surrendered Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, to Britain


1656, The Dutch took control of Ceylon; their rule lasted until 1796.

1411, Cheng He, Chinese admiral, captured the King of Ceylon and took him back to China.

1017, Ceylon was conquered by the Chola Empire.


29 BCE, Tamils ejected; civil conflict again.

44 BCE, Further Tamil invasion.

130 BCE � 44 BCE, Further period of civil conflict in Sri Lanka.

137 BCE, Death of Prince Guttha-Gamani after a 24-year reign.

161 BCE, Sinhalese national hero Prince Guttha-Gamani ejected the Tamils.

150 BCE, Tamils under the Chola leader Elara conquered Sri Lanka. Conflict ceased.

175 BCE, Ongoing civil conflict.

247 BCE, King Tissa of Sri Lanka converted to Buddhism.


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