One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An island country off the south-eastern coast of India; population 20,700,000 (estimated 2015); languages, Sinhalese (official), Tamil; capital, Colombo.Former name (until 1972) Ceylon
The island was ruled by a strong native dynasty from the 12th century but was successively dominated by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British from the 16th century and finally annexed by the British in 1815. A Commonwealth state from 1948, the country became an independent republic in 1972. Since 1981 there has been fighting between government forces and Tamil separatist guerrillas
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