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How did Sri Lanka transition from Ceylon to its current status?

Sri Lanka transitioned from Ceylon to its current status through a process of decolonisation and constitutional reform.

The island nation of Sri Lanka, known as Ceylon until 1972, was a British colony from 1815 until it gained independence in 1948. The transition from Ceylon to Sri Lanka was a gradual process that involved significant political, social, and economic changes. The British colonial rule had a profound impact on the country's administrative structure, economy, and society. The British introduced a plantation economy based on tea, rubber, and coconut, which transformed the country's economic landscape. They also introduced Western-style education and legal systems, which significantly influenced the country's social structure.

The decolonisation process began after World War II, when the British started to retreat from their colonies. In Ceylon, the process was relatively peaceful and was marked by a series of constitutional reforms. The Soulbury Constitution, introduced in 1946, paved the way for Ceylon's independence. It established a parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislature and a strong executive branch headed by a Prime Minister. The constitution also provided for the protection of minority rights, which was a significant issue in the ethnically diverse country.

Ceylon became an independent nation within the British Commonwealth on 4th February 1948. However, the country continued to maintain strong economic and political ties with Britain. The British monarch remained the head of state, and the country's official name was the Dominion of Ceylon.

The transition from Ceylon to Sri Lanka was completed in 1972 when the country adopted a new constitution and became a republic. The new constitution changed the country's name to Sri Lanka, reflecting the country's pre-colonial Sinhalese heritage. It also replaced the British monarch with a President as the head of state. The constitution further centralised power in the executive branch and marginalised the country's Tamil minority, which led to ethnic tensions and a protracted civil war.

In conclusion, Sri Lanka's transition from Ceylon to its current status was a complex process that involved decolonisation, constitutional reform, and ethnic conflict. It reflects the broader trends of post-colonial state formation in the Global South.

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