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The people of Sri Lanka were originally a group known as the Sinhalese and later the Tamils came in; both groups were from different regions of India. Buddhism became the first major religion on the island when it was introduced in the 3rd century B.C. The Sinhalese people remained in control until the 10th century when invaders came in and power switched to the Tamil people.
The times were unstable however, Europeans were en route to discovering the world and the Portuguese made it to the island in the beginning of the 16th century and took control. Later however, it was passed to the Dutch and the East India Company that then became a British company and thus control went to England.
The city of Kandy had remained an important one and was actually the King's capital city until Sri Lanka became a British colony. The city held onto its strong cultural roots over all the time. When many cities were invaded in Sri Lanka's history, Kandy was protected due to its high elevation in the mountains, making it hard for invaders to reach. The British were the first to really infiltrate into the city but not until 1815. For this reason the culture remains very strong and unique in Kandy still, today.