Sinhalese constitute the largest ethnic group in the country, with 74.8% of the total population. Sri Lankan Tamils are the second major ethnic group in the island, with a percentage of 11.2%. Sri Lankan Moors comprise 9.2%. There are also small ethnic groups such as the Burghers (of mixed European descent) and Malays from Southeast Asia. Moreover, there is a small population of Vedda people who are believed to be the original indigenous group to inhabit the Island.
Languages are spoken
Sinhala, Tamil, and English
Ethnicity Of Sri Lanka
The Sinhalese are an Indo-Aryan-speaking ethnic group native to the island of Sri Lanka. They constitute about 74.9% of the population of Sri Lanka. Sinhalas identity is based on language, history, and religious heritage. Sinhalese people speak Sinhala, an Indo-Aryan language, and most are Theravada Buddhists, although a small percentage of Sinhala follow the branch of Christianity. Sinhalese are mostly found in North Central, Central, South, and West of Sri Lanka. According to the 5th-century epic poem Mahavamsa and Dipavamsa, a 3-5 century treatise written in Pali by Buddhist monks from Anuradhapura Maha Vihara in Sri Lanka, Sinhala descend from the Indo-Aryan settlers who came to the island in 543 BC from Sinhapura, in India, led by Prince Vijaya.
Tamils are in Sri Lanka, 15.4% of the population. There are two groups of Tamils in Sri Lanka. The first is the Sri Lankan Tamils, who either descend from Tamil of the old Jaffna region or who migrated to the east coast. The second is the Indian Tamils or Hill Country Tamils, who are descendants of bonded laborers sent from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka in the 19th century to work in the tea plantations. Many came as laborers to work in tea plantations, but some of them come as business people. Most recruits come because they were recruited by the head in their villages, mostly by high caste Tamil, Kallar and Vellars.
Sri Lankan Tamils mostly live in the North and East province and in the capital, Colombo, while the Hill Country Tamils mostly live in the central highlands. The Hill Country Tamil and Ceylon Tamils have historically viewed themselves as a separate community.
Today, approximately 9.3% of the Sri Lanka Muslims comply; mostly Moor and Malay ethnic communities on the island. By the 8th century AD, Arab traders have mastered a lot of trade in the Indian Ocean, including Sri Lanka. Many of them settled on the island in large numbers, encouraging the spread of Islam. The population of Sri Lanka Moors declined significantly during the Portuguese colonial administration because of pogroms against the Moors. King Senarat Sinhala rulers of Kandy provide protection to some Muslims in the central highlands and the Eastern Province, Sri Lanka.
During the 18th century and 19th, Javanese and Malaysian Muslims brought over by the Dutch and British rulers contributed to the growing Muslim population in Sri Lanka. Their descendants, now Sri Lanka Malay, adopted some Islamic traditions of Sri Lanka Moor while also contributing Islamic practice their unique culture to other Muslim groups on the island.
The arrival of Muslims from India during the 19th century and 20th century have also contributed to the growth of Islam in Sri Lanka. Especially, Pakistan and South Indian Muslims have introduced Shafi’i and the Hanafi school of thought to Sri Lanka. Nonetheless, the vast majority of Muslims on the island still adhere to traditional practices, Sunni Islam.
Today, approximately about 0.4% are Roman Catholics and 0.1% are other Burgher. Burgher is a small Eurasian ethnic group in Sri Lanka descendants of Portuguese, Dutch, British and other European men who settled in Sri Lanka and develop a relationship with a native woman Sri Lanka. Portuguese and Dutch have held several Maritime Provinces of the island for centuries before the advent of the British Empire. With the establishment of Ceylon as a crown colony in the late 18th century, most of those detained close relationships with the Netherlands departed. However, a significant community of Burghers fixed and largely adopted English. During British rule they occupy a very important place in the social and economic life of Sri Lanka.