Sri Lanka

Located off the southern tip of India. Known to Europeans from at least the 2nd century CE., the island was noted under the name of "Taprobanus" in Ptolemy's Geographos. The following list memorializes the most important states; though often unified, Sri Lanka has had many eras of fragmentation as well. Dynastic names reflect the location of capitals more often than familial descent. Europeans began involving themselves in Sri Lankan affairs from 1505.

The line of Sinhalese rulers from the 5th century BCE to the present. Also noted are the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Chagos Archipelago, Jaffna, Kandy, the Laccadive Islands, the Maldive Islands, Sitawaka, and Trincomalee.

ANDAMAN and NICOBAR ISLANDS An extensive island chain in the eastern Indian Ocean, located between the delta region of Burma and northwestern Indonesia. The Andaman chain is in the northern reach of the group, the Nicobars to the south.

CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO An extended archipelago group of coral reefs and atolls located in the central Indian Ocean, roughly equidistant from East Africa, India, and western Indonesia. All the islands are uninhabited except for the largest, Diego Suarez, located in the southeast corner of the group. Also known as the Oil Islands, from the chief commercial product produced there in earlier times - palm oil.

JAFFNA (Jappane) A Tamil kingdom in the far northern end of Sri Lanka. The area around Jaffna is the center of Tamil resistance to Sri Lankan rule today, and the headquarters of the Tamil Tigers is somewhere in the area.

KANDY (Kgdm. of Udarata) An important city in central Sri Lanka, and an enclave of Sinhalese independence during the Portuguese and Dutch occupations.

LACCADIVE, MINICOY, and AMINDIVI ISLANDS A group of close-knit archipelagos, tiny coral atolls lying about 200 miles (320 km.) southwest of India.

MALDIVE ISLANDS A long archipelago of coral atolls to the southwest of the Indian subcontinent, a Muslim Sultanate from the 12th century. A Protectorate of Dutch Ceylon 1658-1798, in response to increasing pressure from Mopla pirates and Portuguese raiders. From 1887 to 1965 the Maldives were a Protectorate of Great Britain.

A note on the names: the following list will comprise two different names - the first is the (Arabic) personal name of the individual, followed in parentheses by a regnal name derived from an almost forgotten indigenous language.

SITAWAKA A town in west-central Sri Lanka, about 25 miles (40 km.) east of Colombo.

SRI LANKA A general survey of the island as a whole.

TRINCOMALEE A port at the northeastern corner of Sri Lanka.