fifty years ago, MAY 23, 1972 Archives

From Ceylon to Republic of Sri Lanka

Colombo, May 22: At the auspicious hour of 12-43 p.m. to-day Ceylon became the Republic of Sri Lanka, severing its 157-year-old link with the British Crown and 2,500-year-old monarchical system — one of the world’s oldest. This transition from a Dominion to a Republic took place at the Navaranghalala Hall, where the historic resolution, moved by the Prime Minister, Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, to set up the Republic was adopted. Although Sri Lanka has cut its ties with the British Crown, it will continue to be in the Commonwealth. Mrs. Bandaranaike, and the last Governor-General, Mr. William Gopallawa, took oaths of allegiance to the new Constitution and assumed the office of the republic’s first Prime Minister and the President respectively. There was a great rejoicing throughout the island, except in the Tamil areas, where the day was observed as one of mourning and prayer. Black flags were seen flying over some buildings in the northern provinces. Religious ceremonies were observed in places of worship of all that the republican and unitary Constitution has been duly adopted by the 157-member Constitution Assembly this morning.

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