Kotelawala, Sir John Lionel

Kotelawala, Sir John Lionel,

1895–1980, Sri Lankan political and military leader. After studying at Christ College, Cambridge, he returned to Sri Lanka (then the British colony of Ceylon), joining the Ceylon light infantry (1922) as a second lieutenant and rising to become its commanding officer (1939) and a colonel (1942). Upon Ceylon's independence (1948) he was appointed to the senate as a member of the United National party and held several cabinet positions under Prime Minister Don Stephen SenanayakeSenanayake, Don Stephen
, 1884–1952, prime minister (1947–52) of Ceylon (later Sri Lanka). He entered politics in 1922 and became a prominent leader before founding the United National party (UNP) in 1946 and leading Ceylon to independence from Great Britain in 1948.
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. As prime minister (1953–56), Kotelawala established relations with other Asian countries and took Ceylon into the United Nations. Following his party's defeat in the 1956 elections, he was succeeded as prime minister by S. W. R. D. BandaranaikeBandaranaike, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias,
1899–1959, prime minister (1956–59) of Ceylon (later Sri Lanka); husband of Sirimavo Bandaranaike. A lawyer educated in England, he entered politics and rose to hold a cabinet position.
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. A strong supporter of the military, he left his estate to the country, and in 1985 a national defense academy was established there. Kotelawala was knighted in 1948.
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