The history of Kalpitiya goes beyond the period of the Portuguese, Dutch and Arabs’ arrival to Sri Lanka. According to “Mahawansa” Aryan prince Vijaya landed in “thambapanni” (now its call thammannawa- copper sand or kudirai malai) with his brigade and found princess Kuweni. When the Arabs’ engaged themselves in business on the sea routes, they discovered the natural port known as ‘Kudirai Malai’ as a safe landing area. While these Arabs’ received their provisions and water for their long journey, they also provided medical items and certain other items of trading on a barter system.
In the Year 1495, the Portuguese sailor Vaskodagama came through the Cape of Good Hope and reached Sri Lanka. Thereafter from the beginning of the16th Century the Portuguese conquered the coastal areas of Sri Lanka and began ruling the coastal areas of Sri Lanka. During their period of rule, they built a fort at Kalpitiya. Kalipinya got its name from the Dutch fort as the theory goes, ‘kal’ meaning stone in tamil language, ‘petti’ means box, during the Dutch period only permanent building was the large fort in the shape of the rock box, it is said the village got its name from it. The spot where the Portuguese anchored their ship is known as Portuguese Canal.
Thereafter in the year 1690 the Dutch conquered this area from Portuguese and the Fort was further improved by them. To the south of the Portuguese canal, the Dutch dug a bay and even now this Bay is called as Dutch Bay.
In the year 1795 the Dutch handed over this area to the British. To the west of the Dutch Fortress the Church called St. Peter’s Kerk was built by the Dutch and was given a face lift by the British in the year 1840. The British also constructed many other churches in this area. Churches, Mosques and Temples were built in this division as the population in this area increased.
Alongside the fishing community living at ‘Talawila’ in the Kalpitiya Peninsular a well known Roman Catholic Church was built by about the 17th Century by Portuguese who had a divine vision of St. Anne’s herself. This is the focal point of a pilgrimage for the feast of St. Anne’s which is dedicated to the mother of the Virgin Mary, held in March and July every year. This church has a reputation for its healing and an overwhelming number of pilgrims are thronging the Church right through the year.
As the time passed and increase in population of different communities in the area have segregated and living in different areas of the peninsular.
This historical back ground and natural tourist sites have resulted in declaring the area as a tourist resort by the Government by a gazette notification
It is also mentionable that there are many baby islands are situated around Kalpitiya.
The Kalpitiya Divisional Secretary Division is one of the 16 Divisional Secretary Divisions situated in the Puttalam District in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka. This area is a peninsular surrounded to the east by Puttalam Lagoon, the North and West are surrounded by Indian Ocean and to the south by the land strip connecting to the Puttalam land area. This division is situated around 165km (103 miles) to the North from the Capital city of Colombo there are 102 villages which are connected to 32 Garma Nildahri (Village Headmen) divisions.
The economic resources that have been available in land and sea in this area have been shared by the host community and the IDP community after the influx of IDPs in the year 1990. Due to this development both the host and IDP communities are undergoing severe economic stress among them.
The main professions of the area are fishing and agriculture. 85% of the agricultural produce is marketed at the Nuraicholai Agricultural Marketing Centre and the balance 15% are sent to Colombo Market.
The sea foods caught in this area have been immediately dispatched to Colombo immaterial of their price levels, as there is no any processing or large scale freer facility in the area. When there is a bulk catch, the non dispatched quantities are left for dry fish production.
Apart from this coconut cultivation are under taken by capitalists of the area. The cadjan weaving, Palmyra handicrafts and processing of other sea foods are under taken as cottage industries.