(formerly Ceylon). An island republic situated in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern tip of the Indian Peninsula. It has an area of 25,332 square miles (65,600 square kilometers) and a population (1994) of 18 million. The major racial groups are Sinhalese (about 74 percent) and Tamil (18 percent); the remainder of the population is made up of Moors, a people of Arabic extraction, Eurasians and Burghers (who are mostly descendants of Portuguese and Dutch colonists), Malays, and aboriginal Veddas. The predominant religion is Buddhism (69 percent), but there also are significant representations of Hindus (15 percent, mostly Tamils), Christians (8 percent, four fifths of whom are Roman Catholic), and Muslims (8 percent). Sinhalese, belonging to the Indo-Aryan group, is the official language...

From the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Published with permission from the Review and Herald Publishing Association.

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Sri Lanka