The Sinhala Dynasties ruled Sri Lanka for over 2,000 years! While people have lived on the Island of Sri Lanka for over 40,000 years, the Sinhala Dynasties began when people started migrating from India. Different families and kingdoms controlled various parts of Sri Lanka over the years as a part of the Sinhala Dynasties. Read the Google Slides to learn more about the Sinhala Dynasties for your AP World History test.
You can read and watch videos on the Sinhala Dynasty using Google Slides, or you can scroll down to read on the website.
People have lived on the Island of Sri Lanka for nearly 40,000 years! The first kingdom on Sri Lanka was the Anuradhapura Kingdom. It began in 377 BCE.
There were many other kingdoms on Sri Lanka over the next 2,000 years. Sometimes, the entire island was united under one kingdom, such as the Chola Kingdom, from 993 to 1077 CE. Most of the time, the island was split into several kingdoms. The Kingdom of Jaffna, in northern Sri Lanka, wasn’t even ruled by the Sinhala Dynasties. Tamil Dynasties ruled it. Sinhala means people originally from Northern India. Tamil means people originally from Southern India.
The relationship between India and Sri Lanka brought Buddhism to the island. A Buddhist nun even brought a sapling from the original tree where the Buddha found enlightenment and planted it in Sri Lanka.
In 1505, the Portuguese arrived in Sri Lanka and took over many of the kingdoms. The Dutch followed them, and then the British came. One kingdom, the Kandyan Kingdom in the central highlands, was able to resist foreign occupation for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, they, too, fell to the British in 1815.
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The Sinhala Dynasty served as the main empire of the Ancient Sri Lankan civilization, and its legacy has endured through the ages. We have only grazed the surface of its extraordinary history, but you can visit the South and Southeast Asia pages to learn more about the other great civilizations of the area. As the great Sinhalan poet Dappula Kumara said, “If you are wise, study past history and be enlightened.” It is by understanding our history that we can create a better future.