The island of Sri Lanka, previously called "Ceylon", is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Known as "Serendip" in the Arabian region, the island was in control of Portuguese, Dutch and finally under the British rule. Sri Lanka is a republic in South Asia, located in about 31 kilometers off the southern coast of India. The location of the island is considered to be an strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia. The country has also been a center of Buddhism and the Sinhalese form the majority of the population. Meanwhile, Hinduism is also practiced here and the Tamils form the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include Moors (Muslims), Burghers, Kaffirs, Malays and the aboriginal Vedda people..