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Colombo, estimated population 750,000 (1995), is the capital of Sri Lanka. It's a vibrant city with an active nightlife.

Gem cutting is a regional speciality. Other industries include chemicals, textiles, glass, cement, leather goods, furniture, and jewelry. An oil refinery is located near the city.

Colombo was probably known to Roman, Arab, and Chinese traders more than 2,000 years ago. Muslims settled there in the 8th century. The Portuguese arrived in the 16th century and built a fort to protect their spice trade. The Dutch captured the city in the 17th century. The British made the city the capital of their crown colony of Ceylon in 1802.

The University of Sri Lanka[?], several colleges, an observatory, a national museum, and numerous churches, mosques, and Buddhist and Hindu temples are in Colombo; on the outskirts are two Buddhist universities.

While colombo has suffered in the past from Terrorist activities, peace has finally returned to the country.

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