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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 era spans the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and early Iron Ages.
The legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo.Sri Lanka has had a long history of international engagement, as a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the G77, and the Non-Aligned Movement.The 19th-century Irish historian James Emerson Tennent theorized that Galle, a city in southern Sri Lanka, was the ancient seaport of Tarshish from which King Solomon is said to have drawn ivory, peacocks, and other valuables.According to the Mahāvamsa, a chronicle written in Pāḷi, the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka are the Yakshas and Nagas.
Sri Lanka's documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years.Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state governed by a semi-presidential system.