The Sinhalese (Sinhala:සිංහල ජාතිය Sinhala Jathiya) are an ethnic group native to the island of Sri Lanka. They constitute 75% of the Sri Lankan population and number greater than 15 million. The Sinhalese identity is based on language, historical heritage and religion. The Sinhalese speak Sinhala, an Indo-Aryan language, and are predominantly Theravada Buddhists, although a small percentage of Sinhalese follow branches of Christianity. The Sinhalese are mostly found in North central, Central, South, and West Sri Lanka. According to the Mahavamsa the Sinhalese are the descendants of the exiled Prince Vijaya who arrived from East India to Sri Lanka in 543 BCE. However, in folklore accounts the Sinhalese people predate this event, being the descendants of earlier inhabitants and Vijaya and other Indo Aryans migrants from India. Modern genetic investigations suggest that the Sinhalese are most closely related to the Bengali people.