The center of an independent kingdom from the 13th to the 15th cent., Jaffna was occupied by the Portuguese (1617–1658) and the Dutch (1658–1795) until the British conquest. Since the 1980s it has been the center of violent Tamil resistance against Sinhalese dominance in Sri Lanka. Guerrilla groups, particularly the Liberation Tigers, which has controlled portions of the peninsula at various times since 1986, have tried to transform the peninsula and E Sri Lanka into an independent nation called Tamil Eelam. Indian troops occupied the peninsula from 1988 to 1990 in an attempt to help quell the rebellion. In 2009 Sri Lanka forces again reopened a land route along the peninsula to the city of Jaffna. The Dec., 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami caused destruction and loss of life on peninsula.
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