Conflict Breaks Out

Skirmish between Sinhalese and Tamils

The Start

This whole conflict began in the 1790s when the British conquered Sri Lanka and brought in Tamil laborers to work the coffee and tea plantations. The Sinhalese(Buddhists) residents already there resented the British favoritism of the Tamils(Hindus). Due to this tension the British kept the Tamils in the north and east part of Sri lanka, separate from the Sinhalese After Sri Lanka gained its independence from the British, the Sinhalese began to nationalize themselves, which engendered the ethnic division. Around July 23rd 1783 to May 18th, 2009 a riot fumed between the two segregated groups. They both wanted religious victory. On one side the Sinhalese people wanted their religion (Buddhism) to spread and be dominant while the Tamils wanted their own separate land where they could self-rule.

Political Map and Ethnic Map

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The Conflict

Form of Conflict:

There is a lot of tension between the two groups. This conflict has also caused tension and protests among the Tamil population in southern India. This has cause some severe open violence. The violence has killed more than 70,000 people. Human rights have also been violated from both sides of the war by abduction, blackmail, and the use of child soldiers.

Spatial Extent:

The fighting of the war was mainly settled in the north but it also infected the heart of the SriLankan society.

Affect on other countries:

- India got involved and spread a peacekeeping force in 1987

- Norway negotiated a ceasefire.

-Fire agreement (didn't last long due to the assassination of SriLanka's foreign minister.

-The U.S helped with giving aid in recovering but

-All of this fighting has brought tension to India's southern Tamil population.

- 250,000 refugees were sent to camps for months after the war.

Local Scale: Fighting in the north of SriLanka, small skirmishes in the state ( nowadays), religion, and somewhat diversity.

Regional Scale: Caused most tension in South Asia ( Southern India and SriLanka ).

Global Scale: Other countries are trying to negotiate with SriLanka or providing their services.


1948- Ceylon gains independence

1956- Sinhalese becomes the sole language of SriLanka and more laws emerged to produce the Sinhalese (Buddhists) feeling. 100 Tamils killed in large-scale violence after they protest the new laws.

1956- Anti-Tamil riots leave more than 200 people dead.

1970- Srimavo Bandaranaike regains power and rehold nationlisation program.

1971- Sinhalese Marxist uprising led by students and activists.

1972- Ceylon changes name to SriLanka.

1977- Saparists Tamil United Liberation Front ( TULF ) party wins all seats in Tamil areas.

Anti-Tamil disagreements leave more than 100 Tamil's dead.

1981- Sinhalase police accused of burning down the Jaffna Public Library and more riots occur.

1983- 13 soldier were killed in the LTTE ambush which raise the anti-Tamil riots and lead deaths of hundreds of Tamils.

1985- Attempt of peace between the government and LTTE which ultimately fails.

1987- The government signs papers creating new councils in the Tamil area in the north and east. The government reaches and agreement with India on peace keeping force.

1990- Violence begins in SriLankan army. "Second Eelam War" begins.

1993- President Premadasa is killed in LTTE bomb attack.

1995-2001- War rages! Tamils bomb the Buddhists people most holiest sights. President Kumaratunga is wounded in bomb attack. Suicide attack happens in the international airport.

2002- Government and Tamils sign an Norwegian ceasefire.

2004- Tamil Tigers upholds controls of the east. Suicide bombs blast in Colombo.

2006- Attacks begin to escalate. Tamil Tigers attack a naval convoy. Tamil Tigers and Government resume fighting.

2006- Peace talks fall in Geneva

2008- Government pulls out ceasefire agreement and launches massive offensive.

2008- ( December ) The Tamil Tigers and SriLankan troop agree that they inflicted heavy outcomes on each other in the north.

2009- ( March ) Former rebel leader is sworn in as minister. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights say that both sides are accused of the civil war.

2009- ( May ) Government declares Tamil Tigers defeated.

History of the war in Sri Lanka - BBC