District Area: 1,282.5 km2
Leader: E.A.C. Vidanagamachchi
Name and Etymology:
Matara is said to derive from Tamil Mahathota meaning "great ford" or Matturai meaning "great port."
Matara is one of Sri Lanka's major cities, a commercial hub on the south coast with highway and rail linkages.
Matara was ruled by the Kingdom of Ruhuna and was made capital by King Weerabamapanam. It was captured by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in 1756. In 1796 Matara fort was given to the British. The majority of the city's population is Sinhalese. The city was badly damaged in the 2004 Asian tsunami.