where it is, capital, language and other data

(CNN Spanish) — Sri Lanka is in one of its worst political, social and economic crises since becoming an independent country in 1948.

Beleaguered President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka for the Maldives before officially stepping down, something he had agreed to do on Saturday after more than 100,000 people gathered outside his residence and called for his resignation.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was named the country’s interim president, just hours after Rajapaksa fled. Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena confirmed the appointment during a televised speech on Wednesday.

The move came as Wickremesinghe’s office said it planned to declare a state of emergency across the country, as protesters took to the streets of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s commercial capital. He also ordered the Defense Ministry to impose a curfew in Colombo and the rest of the country’s western province after police fired tear gas into the crowd outside the prime minister’s office, a ministry official told CNN. .

In the midst of this context of political, social and economic instability, and before the upcoming elections on July 20 to elect the president, we leave you with some information so that you can learn more about the country.

This is Sri Lanka

Where is it?

Sri Lanka is an island country located on the Asian continent. Specifically, it is located in the Indian Ocean and is “separated from mainland India by the Palk Strait,” according to the encyclopedia Britannica.

Due to its proximity, adds Britannica, there has been a cultural influence with India since ancient times, as well as with other Asian civilizations.

It was previously known as Ceylon (Ceylon in English) until it was officially named Sri Lanka in 1972, although it is still sometimes called Ceylon for commercial purposes, the encyclopedia indicates.

Sri Lanka, with an area of ​​65,610 square kilometers, is slightly larger than West Virginia, according to the CIA Fact Book.

Which is his capital?

Colombo It was the main urban center of Sri Lanka under British rule (nearly 150 years before its independence in 1948), and remains the executive and judicial capital of the country to this day.

Sri Jayewardenepura Kottea suburb of Colombo, is the legislative capital.

How many people live in Sri Lanka

  • The population of the island country is 23.1 million of inhabitants, according to the CIA. At the time of its independence, the population amounted to 6.5 million of people.
  • Three ethnic groups make up more than 99% of the country’s population: Sinhalese, Tamils ​​and Muslims.
  • Sri Lanka is a young country. Until 2019, the age range with the highest prevalence in the population was under 15 years of age (25.2%). It is followed by the ranges of 15-29 years (23.2%), 30-44 years (21.6%), 45-59 years (17.5%), 60-74 years (9.6%) and older of 75 years (2.7%).

Language, religion and other data

  • The Sinhalese speak Sinhalese (an Indo-Aryan language); Tamils ​​speak Tamil (Dravidian language); Muslims usually speak Tamil.
  • In terms of religion, more than 90% of Sinhalese are Buddhist; Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils ​​(migrants in the country) mostly practice Hinduism; Muslims adhere to Islam; and about 7% of the population identifies with Christianity.
  • More than 80% of the population in Sri Lanka lives in rural settlements and the rest are in urban centers.
  • According to him world BankSri Lanka is a low- and middle-income country with a gross domestic product per capita of US$3,852 (2019 data).

With reporting from CNN’s Hannah Ritchie, Heather Chen and Jessie Yeung

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