Batticaloa - Encyclopedia


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BATTICALOA, the provincial capital of the eastern province of Ceylon, on the E. coast, 69 m. S.S.E. of Trincomalee, situated on an island in lat. 7° 44' N. and long. 81° 52' E. It is of importance for its haven and the adjacent salt lagoons. The population of the town in 1901 was 9969; of the district (2872 sq. m.) 145,161. The old Dutch fort dates from 1682. Batticaloa is the seat of a government agent and district judge; criminal sessions of the supreme court are also held. Rice and cocoanuts are the two staples of the district, and steamers trading round the island call regularly at the port. The lagoon is famous for its "singing fish," supposed to be shell-fish which give forth musical notes. The district has a remnant of Veddahs or wild men of the wood. The average annual rainfall is 551 in.; the average temperature 80.4° F.

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