Sri Lanka's documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years. It has a rich cultural heritage, and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, the Pāli Canon, date back to the Fourth Buddhist council in 29 BC. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to the modern Maritime Silk Road. Its location as a major trading hub made it known to both the far East as well as the European continent from as far back as the Anuradhapura period. The country's trade in luxury goods and spices attracted traders of many nations to the island, creating the diverse population in Sri Lanka there is now. During a period of great political crisis the Portuguese, whose arrival in Sri Lanka was largely accidental, would intrude into the country's internal affairs by seeking to establishing control over the maritime regions of the island in order to control its lucrative external trade. The Portuguese possessions would later be taken over by the Dutch, and the Dutch by the British who would later extend their control over the whole island, colonising it from 1815 to 1948. Resistance to the British was immediate while a nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century to obtain political independence, which was granted in 1948; the country became a republic and adopted its current name in 1972. Sri Lanka's recent history has been marred by a 26-year civil war, which ended decisively when the Sri Lanka Armed Forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009.