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English was introduced during British rule and continues to be the language of commerce and the higher levels of both public and private sector administration.Language has been a volatile issue in Sri Lanka, particularly following independence when the "Sinhala Only" campaign came to the political fore, provoking resistance from the Sri Lankan Tamils in particular, and thus paving the way toward the civil war. The official symbols of Sri Lanka are largely drawn from those representing the Sinhala Buddhist majority.For instance, the color blocks on the nation's flag represent each of Sri Lanka's three major ethnic groups.
The island's history of immigration, trade, and colonial invasion has led to the formation of a variety of ethnic groups, each with its own language and religious traditions.
The Dutch then kept the land for themselves, controlling all but the kingdom of Kandy until they were driven out by the British in 1796.
In 1815 the British ousted the last king of Kandy, gaining control over all of Sri Lanka, which remained a British colony until 1948.
Although the civil war in the north and east of the island has thwarted subsequent census plans, it was estimated that the population in 2000 stood near nineteen million. There are three official languages in Sri Lanka: Sinhala, Tamil, and English.
Sinhala, the language of the majority, and Tamil, spoken by Muslims as well as ethnic Tamils, are the primary languages of the island.
This contrast in rainfall combined with topographical differences has fostered the development of regional variation in economy and culture.