he district of Batticaloa takes its name form the principal town of  the same name, which was originally Known as Batticaloa, or Puliyanduwa. The name – Batticaloa or Matticaloa – is derived form Mada Kalappua,* Which signifies “muddy swamp.” 

The District extends for a distance of 130 miles along the east coast of the Island, form the Kumbukkan  - aar in the south to the Verugal – aar in the north. The Eastern province, of which Batticaloa is the capital, is in extent the largest of the nine Provinces, although it ranks fifth in the official order of administration and eighth in point of population.

The District in itself is third in order of size and twelfth in point of population in the last Census.

The town of Batticaloa, the capital of the Provinces, is insular in character, and is 103 mils form Badulla and 84 miles from Trincomalee.

Dr.C.A.Krieken beek, Colonical Surgeon, has an interesting note on Batticaloa, which is worth Quoting :-

“ The Island of Batticaloa,”  he says, “called(by the natives) ‘Puliyantivu’- ‘Tamarind Island’ situated in the middle of the lake, about four miles from where it opens into the sea, has been called, with propriety, ‘The Venice of Ceylon.’ It is there miles in circumference and entirely surrounded by water. A narrow strait separates it on the west and south from the mainland, and from another island called ‘Buffalo Island, ‘ by the natives ‘Periacalam.’ The name of Puliyanthivu appears to have originated  either in the resemblance that the shape of the island has to a tamarind seed (Puliyancottai, Gspaq;nfhl;il), or to the number and size of the tamarind trees that are to be found upon it.”  - Page 291 of Volume XXVII. at the literary Register.         

* A Kalappu is format by the water of the rivers or streams being shut in by fringes of the sea coast.

The real significance of the term is the “Island of  Puliyan” (a Vedda chief).

Batticaloa lies in 70 47` north latitude and 810 44` longitude east of Greenwich.

The whole District formed part of the Kandyan Provinces when the Sinhalese Kings held sway, and Batticaloa was then known as Pliyanduwa. “It was part of the Rohana Rata (of which the name still lingers in Ranna, or Rohana, in the Tangalla  District ), which embraced the mountainous  Zone and the region which rose up to it ladderwise (Rohana) from the western , southern, and eastern seas, and was bounded on the north by the Mahaweli-ganga. The Kandyan Provinces corresponded with part of the Central and Eastern Provinces and the Sabaragamuwa and Uva provinces and the Southern Provinces”. –Kandyan Provinces, by sir P. Arunachalam. Saida Tissa (Dutugemunu’s brother), who overcame Elala in 101B.C., ruled over this part of Ruhana, at Digha Wapi (Kandia Kattu Kulam), in Naducadu Pattu.-Vide page 332 of the Mahawansa.

The second article of the Treaty* between the Singhalese Government and the Dutch East India Company, in the Saka Year 1688, i, e., 1766 A. D., supports the statement that Batticaloa included in the Kandyan Provinces The material portions of that Treaty are as follows : -      

Second Article. The illustrious lord Emperor, and the illustrious the principal members of His Majesty’s Great council of Ministers…. recognize the States  General of the  of the united province and the company of Hollanders (in the East) as the rightful and independent overload of the several Districts of this Island of Lanka, which had been held by the company before the war now concluded, to wit:- Yapa Pattanama,©the Districts there to belonging; Hettikula Pattuwa, Ä Mannarama, v with the places appertaining there to ; Kolamba Disava, Gulu Korali, Matara disava, Puliyanduwa, V Trikunamalai Á with the places appertaining thereto.

The boundary between the Maritime District (afterwards acquired by the British at the capitulation of Colombo in 1796) and the Dominions of the Singhalese Monarchy ( ceded to the King of the great Britain by the convention of 1815) was definitely laid down in this Treaty.  

*The treaty in the original Singhalese appears at page 62of volume XVI. of the journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Ceylon Branch, with translated by  Mr.H.C.P.Bell, first published in the Orientalist, Volume III., Page 115

 © Jaffna    v Mannar   Á Trincomalee     Ä Chettikulam