Trip Round Sri Lanka

This week we were treated to a conducted tour and a brief history of Sri Lanka by Matt Harding.
He started off by explaining that the first humans had arrived in Sri Lanka 2 million years ago and that Sri Lanka was about the size of Tasmania with roughly the population of Australia. It is a very lush island with very high rainfall and as a consequence all insect and animal life is big.
Northern Indians arrived in 500 BC and formed the basis of the Sinhalese people and they brought with them the Buddist faith. The Tamils arrived 200 years later from Southern India bringing the Hindu religion with them. They were followed by the Arabs later who brought Islam to the Island.
The Portugese arrived in AD 1500 lured by the spice trade and they were followed in 1600 by the Dutch and in 1800 by the British who were also attracted to the spice trade. The Sinhalese rule the Island and do not tolerate the Tamil uprising and there now exists an uneasy truce between the two populations.
Some interesting facts about the island emerged including the situation of the Indian elephant which is an endangered species and is estimated to kill between 80 and 100 people a year.
Tea is Sri Lanka’s major export at $1.5 billion annually and the 2nd major export is textiles.
Sri Lanka gained independence from the British in 1947 and formed a Republic in 1972. There has been tension between the Sinhalese and the Tamils ever since.
Matt gave us an interesting tour of the island by way of some excellent pictures which were taken by his wife who is a professional photographer. A most enjoyable and colourful evening resulted and Bernie Boxer thanked Matt on behalf of the club and presented him with a bottle of red wine.