With a history dating back to the 5th century BC, Ruhuna was the centre of a flourishing civilization. The area was ruled by a succession of Sinhala Kings till about the 12th century and came under yoke of alien rule in the 16th century. It has undergone cultural changes more than any other Province in Sri Lanka.
The Southern Province takes pride in its resourcefulness in human skills, having produced warriors, national heroes, clergy, artists, writers and businessmen who have all contributed their share to the national development.
When organized tourism was introduced to Sri Lanka in 1966, the Southern Province was among the first few places identified for development. Today the beautiful beaches of the Southern Province, its art and crafts, and the ancient monuments are known the world over.
Thus, Mahavamsa, the Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka, records the origin of Rohana (better known as Ruhuna) in the 5th cent BC. 1st boundaries extended over time to cover a very large area of the island. Although the ancient boundaries of Ruhuna are not clearly known it is believed that the region extended from Bentota to Trincomalee and included Uva and Sabaragamuwa, However , The demarcations have undergone several changes and the area now remaining is called the Southern Province.
During the British occupation of the country, the island was divided in 1833 into five Provinces, based on the Colebrook Commission Report, when the Southern Province was carved out. It was much larger at that time, but with subsequent delimitation and the creation of nine Provinces it was reduced to its present size.
Today, The Southern Province with Galle as its capital, is administered by a Provincial Council of 55 members elected by the people with a Board of five Ministers including a Chief Minister and a Governor appointed by H.E. the President. Some of the administrative powers are vested entirely with the Provincial Council While Some of the Administrative Powers are vested entirely with Provincial while some are shared Concurrently with the central Government.
The Southern Province is divided in to three Administrative Districts viz., Galle, Matara, Hambantota. They are further asu divided into 47 Divisional Secretariats. Local administration is through 2 Municipal Councils, 5 Urban Councils and 42 Pradeshiya Sabhas.
The Southern Province is represented in the Parliament of Sri Lanka by 25 Members of Parliament. Agriculture and Fishery are the main sources of income of the people. There is a diversity of climatic conditions in the Province from wet zone to dry zone making the region suitable for a wide range of agricultural activities from plantation to chena.
The wet zone receives rain during the south-west monsoon (May to August), with light showers or no rain during the rest of the year. Principal cultivations are paddy, rubber and coconut and to a lesser extent tea, Citronella, cinnamon and oil palm. Fishing is the livelihood of many Southerners and several fishery harbours and anchorages dot the 276 km long coastline from Bentota to Kumana.
It is not only the fisheries industry that has laid claim to the Southern Coastline, but also the tourist industry. Southern beach is the main tourist attraction in Sri Lanka with a number of tourist resorts that turn into hives of activity during the main tourist Season.