Colombo is the commercial capital and largest city of Sri Lanka. The city is also the capital of the Western Province. Colombo is an important port and trading center. It is a multicultural city.
Due to its large port and strategic position along an important east-west trade route, the city was already known in 2000 BC, although it is only the capital of the country from 1815. The place was first mentioned in the 5th century under the name Gaolanbu by the Chinese writer Fa Xian. In the 8th century, Arab traders settled at the port.
From the 16th century onwards, Portuguese, Dutch and British successively built out the port and the city. At the Fort of Colombo, the Pettah district grew. A well-known building from the Dutch era is the Wolvendaalsche Kerk.
The fort of the VOC was demolished in British times, but the district that forms the center of Colombo is still called Fort. Cinnamon was grown near the city. In 1815, the British made Colombo the capital of Ceylon after the king was deposed in Kandy. The University of Colombo was opened in 1921. After independence in 1948, western influence in the city diminished.