Origins of Sri Lankan Malays

According to the estimates, in 1995, there were 18,112,000 people living in Sri Lanka. The poulation density was 289 Per Sq. Km. Average annual growth rate was 1.37% and the average life expectancy 67.5 years (males 66 years, females 69 years. The population consists of multi ethnic groups: Sinhalese 74%; Tamil 18%; Moor (Muslims) 7%; others (Burghers, Eurasians, Malay, Veddha) 1%. Largest ethnic group divided into low-country Sinhalese (subjected in coastal areas to greater colonial acculturation) and Kandyan Sinhalese (more traditional upland dwellers, named after Kingdom of Kandy, which resisted European encroachments until 1815-18). Tamils divided into Sri Lankan Tamils (on island since early historic times) and Indian Tamils (brought in as plantation labor in the nineteenth century). The Sinhalese moved from north India and conquered the island, in the 6th century; Tamils arrived in the 11th century (Ceylon Tamils) settling in the northern and eastern sections of the island; and Arabs came in the 12th and 13th centuries (Ceylon Moors). The British imported more Tamils (Indian Tamils) from south India in the late 19th century to pick tea on their estates in the central highlands.

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