Point Pedro is a town, located in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka, at the northernmost point of the island. Cotton is produced around Point Pedro in the fertile calcic red latosol soils. The eastern coast of Point Pedro forms a 3 mile wide, 20 mile long beach with sand dunes up to 100 feet high, extending to Thalayady.The town came briefly under the control of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) during the early 1990s, until the Sri Lankan Army recaptured it in 1995.
The place name of Point Pedro is a corruption of the Portuguese "Ponta das Pedras" meaning "the rocky cape". The name of the town in Tamil is Paruthithurai, which literally mean "Cotton Harbour". The harbor exported cotton to South India for centuries.
Vallipuram, a village nearby was an ancient settlement with rich archeological remains. During pre-colonial and colonial times Point Pedro was a trading port. There is a large number of people in and around Point Pedro who trace their families to local traders, called Sambangarar, 'சம்பாங்காரர்' in Tamil, meaning 'ship people'.
Portuguese History There are several Catholic churches built around Point Pedro along the coasts and in Nelliady. Sacred Heart College is a major Catholic high school situated in Nelliady.
Dutch Colonial History In the 17th Century Philippus Baldaeus, a Christian missionary from the Netherlands, settled in Jaffna following the Dutch occupation of Ceylon. He documented the lives and customs of the Tamil people of Northern Ceylon. His studies were published in the Netherlands and later in Germany. In Point Pedro's market there is a stone inscription commemorating Baldeus giving lessons from the Bible under a tamarind tree. The tree was uprooted by a cyclone in 1962.
British colonial legacy Wesleyan missionaries from Great Britain established schools in the area including Hartley College and the Methodist Girls High School. There are American mission schools at Uduppiddy and Thunnalai.