There is little scholarly consensus over the presence of the Sri Lankan Tamil people in Sri Lanka, also known as Eelam in Sangam literature.
Although Sri Lankan Tamils are culturally and linguistically distinct, genetic studies indicate that they are closely related to Sinhalese ethnic group in the island.
Excavated ceramic sequences similar to that of Arikamedu were found in Kandarodai (Kadiramalai) on the north coast, dated to 1300 BCE.
Cultural similarities in burial practices in South India and Sri Lanka were dated by archaeologists to 10th century BCE.
Most modern Sri Lankan Tamils claim descent from residents of Jaffna Kingdom, a former kingdom in the north of the island and Vannimai chieftaincies from the east.
They constitute a majority in the Northern Province, live in significant numbers in the Eastern Province and are in the minority throughout the rest of the country.Since Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain in 1948, relations between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil communities have been strained.