Sinhalese history traditionally starts in 543 BC with the arrival of Prince Vijaya, a semi-legendary prince who sailed with 700 followers to Sri Lanka, after being expelled from Vanga Kingdom (present-day Bengal).He established the Kingdom of Tambapanni, near modern-day Mannar.According to the Mahāvamsa, a chronicle written in Pāḷi, the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka are the Yakshas and Nagas.Ancient cemeteries that were used before 600 BC and other signs of advanced civilization has also been discovered in Sri Lanka.Dutugemunu, the eldest son of the southern regional sub-king, Kavan Tissa, defeated Elara in the Battle of Vijithapura.He built Ruwanwelisaya, the second stupa in ancient Sri Lanka, and the Lovamahapaya.
Biso Kotuwa, a peculiar construction inside a dam, is a technological marvel based on precise mathematics that allows water to flow outside the dam, keeping pressure on the dam to a minimum.
In antiquity, Sri Lanka was known to travellers by a variety of names.
According to the Mahavamsa, the legendary Prince Vijaya named the land Tambapanni ("copper-red hands" or "copper-red earth"), because his followers' hands were reddened by the red soil of the area.
The Sigiriya rock fortress is surrounded by an extensive network of ramparts and moats.
Inside this protective enclosure were gardens, ponds, pavilions, palaces and other structures.
Because the Pāli Canon was at that time oral literature maintained in several recensions by dhammabhāṇakas (dharma reciters), the surviving monks recognized the danger of not writing it down so that even if some of the monks whose duty it was to study and remember parts of the Canon for later generations died, the teachings would not be lost.