Jaffna District is one of the 25 districts of Sri Lanka, the second level administrative division of the country. The district is administered by a District Secretariat headed by a District Secretary (previously known as a Government Agent) appointed by the central government of Sri Lanka. The capital of the district is the city of Jaffna.
Between the 5th century BC and the 13th century AD present day Jaffna District was part of various Kingdoms such as Pandya, Chola, Pallava, Kalinga, Rajarata. Jaffna District was thereafter part of the pre-colonial Jaffna kingdom.The district then came under Portuguese, Dutch and British control. In 1815 the British gained control of the entire island of Ceylon. They divided the island into three ethnic-based administrative structures: Low Country Sinhalese, Kandyan Sinhalese and Tamil. Jaffna District was part of the Tamil administration. In 1833, in accordance with the recommendations of the Colebrooke-Cameron Commission, the ethnic based administrative structures were unified into a single administration divided into five geographic provinces.Jaffna District, together with Mannar District and Vanni District, formed the new Northern Province.At the time that Ceylon gained independence, Jaffna was one of the three districts located in the Northern Province. Parts of the district were transferred to newly created Mullaitivu District in September 1978. Kilinochchi District was carved out of the southern part of Jaffna District in February 1984.
Jaffna District is located in the far north of Sri Lanka in the Northern Province and occupies most of the Jaffna Peninsula. It has an area of 1,025 square kilometres (396 sq mi). It is divided into four areas geographically:
- Thenmarachchi or Thenmaradchi
- Vadamarachchi or Vadamaradchi
- Jaffna Islands