Ceylon 1956-1972 History of Ceylon Sri Lanka 1983-1994

Sri Lanka, 1972-1983

Political Status and Administration . In 1972 Ceylon was renamed into Sri Lanka and became a republic. In 1975 the coalition of SLFP, LSSP and CCP dissolved; a new coalition of SLFP and CCP was formed, with the LSSP joining the UNP and the TUF in the opposition. The opposition UNF won a landslide victory in the elections of 1977. The 1978 constitution proclaimed Sri Lanka a Democratic Socialist Republic and created a strong French-style presidency. In 1979, the capital was relocated from Colombo to Sri Jayawardhanapura Kotte (brief : Kotte), which had been the capital of the Kingdom of Kotte 1415-1565, until the Portuguese abandoned the site and it had been overgrown by the jungle. In 1980, ex PM Srimavo Bandaranaike, accused of abuses of power, was expelled from parliament. In the presidential elections of 1982, President Jayawardene (UNP) was reelected.

Foreign Policy . The SLFP-LSSP-CCP administration continued to pursue a policy based on neutrality. In 1974 India and Sri Lanka agreed to deal with the remainder of Sri Lanka's "stateless" Tamils by repatriating half of them to India, the other half being granted Sri Lankan citizenship. In 1976 the Conference of Non-Aligned Nations was held in Colombo. Sri Lanka condemned the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Relations between the Country's Ethnicities . By the means of legal provisions, Buddhism was granted privileged status in Sri Lanka, thus favoured over Hinduism dominating among the Tamil minority of northern and northeastern Ceylon (the Tamils had already been antagonized by Sinhala being declared the sole national language in 1956).
In 1976 the LTTE (Tamil Tigers, full name Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) were founded; In the 1977 elections all seats in Tamil majority areas were won by the separatist TULF (Tamil United Liberation Front). Riots in the Tamil majority regions of the north followed; in 1979 a number of Sri Lankan policemen was assassinated in the north. In 1980 a presidential committee declared the suggested creation of a Tamil homeland unconstitutional, and instead pleaded for decentralization; this caused further riots. A lengthy civil war began in 1983, long little noticed by the outside world; the tourism industry of Sri Lanka's south was unaffected for almost two decades. However, the number Sri Lankans, mostly Tamils, who requested asylum in western countries, rose.
The year 1982 saw Sinhalese-Muslim riots.

The Economy . In 1972 the number of unemployed exceeded 500,000. With the price for tea continuing to be low due to overproduction, the Sri Lankan economy was in crisis in 1973; the government called upon the populace to increase domestic rise production and cut the rations of free rice in half. The oil crisis of 1973 only worsened the already critical situation.
Following the elections of 1977 the new UNP administration increased the rice rations, reduced the price for bread. Following the collapse of Air Ceylon in 1978, Sri Lankan Airlines was established in 1979.

Modern Institutions . In 1974 the University of Jaffna was estasblished, in an attempt to appease Tamil demands.

KMLA Students' Paper Kim, Kyung Mook : History of the Civil War in Sri Lanka, since 1983
Timeline Sri Lanka, from BBC News
Article Janatha Vimukhti Peramuna, from Wikipedia
Article History of Sri Lanka, from Wikipedia
The Remains of the Kingdom of Kotte, by J.F.R. de Fonseka
History of Sri Lankan Airlines, from Wikipedia
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Sri Lanka, by Ben Cahoon
REFERENCE Patrick Peebles, The History of Sri Lanka, Westport CT : Greenwood 2006, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 954.93 P373h
Valli Kanapathipillai, The Repatriation of Indian Tamil Plantation Workers from Sri Lanka to India, pp.326-330 in : Robin Cohen, The Cambridge Survey of World Migration, Cambridge : UP 1995, KMLA Lib.Sign. 304.809 C678c
Article : Ceylon, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1972 pp.168-169 [G]
Article : Ceylon (Sri Lanka), in : Britannica Book of the Year 1973 pp.165-166 [G]
Article : Sri Lanka, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1974 p 632, 1975 p.640, 1976 p.630, 1977 pp.629-630, 1978 p.643, 1979 p.636, 1980 p.636, 1981 p.631, 1982 p.637, 1983 pp.631-632 [G]
Article : Sri Lanka, in : The Statesman's Year-Book 1975-1976 pp.481-487, 1976-1977 pp.487-494, 1978-1979 pp.1103-1110 [G]
1979-1980 pp.1112-1119, 1980-1981 pp.1108-1115, 1981-1982 pp.1114-1121 [G]
Article : Sri Lanka (Ceylon), in : Americana Annual 1974 p.565 [G]
Article : Sri Lanka, in : Americana Annual 1976 p.524 [G]
Article : Sri Lanka, in : The World in Figures 1st ed. 1976 pp.197-198, 2nd ed. 1978 pp.197-198 [G]
Article : Sri Lanka, in : Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1976 pp.382-384 (Babara Reid), 1980 pp.297-299 (B.R.) [G]
Entry : Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Cabinet, p.92 [G]
IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2002, last revised on May 6th 2007

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