Sri Lanka

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is an island country in South Asia. It lies southwest of the Bay of Bengal and southeast of the Arabian Sea. Sri Lanka’s early distinctive civilization is characterized by two factors: the preservation of Theravada Buddhism, particularly the Pali Canon, and the development of a sophisticated irrigation system. This civilization was further enhanced by Hindi and Islamic influences. The British colonized the whole island of Sri Lanka from 1815 to 1948, when it gained independence as Ceylon. Its current name was adopted in 1972. The 26-year-long civil war between the Sri Lanka Armed Forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ended in 2009. Its executive and judicial capital is Colombo, and its legislative capital is Jayewardenepura Kotte, a suburb of Colombo.

After the Civil War, Sri Lanka experienced annual economic growth of 6.4%. However, it has slowed down since 2013 due to the unsustainable growth of its non-tradable sectors. The World Bank classifies Sri Lanka as a lower-middle-income economy. Its main trade is services, followed by agriculture and industry.  

The official currency of Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan rupee. One Sri Lankan rupee is equivalent to 100 cents. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) was formerly known as the Central Bank of Ceylon (CBC). The bank was renamed in 1985 following the renaming of the country. All Sri Lankan banknotes are horizontally aligned on the obverse side and vertically aligned on the reverse side. The first series issued by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka had the same design as its preceding issue but had minor changes. The 1991 family of banknotes were redesigned to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka. A polymer 200 rupee banknote was issued in 1998 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sri Lankan Independence. In 2009, a 1,000 rupee banknote was issued to commemorate the “ushering of peace and prosperity to Sri Lanka”. The obverse side of the note had a theme of “one country and one nation in harmony, progressing towards prosperity”. The reverse side highlights the “valiant contributions made by the nation’s victorious sons and daughters of the security forces and the police”. To commemorate the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s 60th anniversary, the bank issued a new series of banknotes in 2011. The series was designed by two Sri Lankan artists. The front side of the notes has a theme of “Development and Prosperity” and depict different developmental projects and native birds and butterflies. The backside of the notes depicts traditional dancers and guard stones (muragala) with the map of Sri Lanka in the background. A commemorative 500 rupee banknote was issued in 2013 to commemorate the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Sri Lanka. In 2018, a commemorative 1,000 banknote was issued to celebrate the 70th Independence Celebration.

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