Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It is the administrative headquarters of the Jaffna District located on a peninsula of the same name. With a population of 88,138 in 2012, Jaffna is Sri Lanka's 12th most populous city. Jaffna is approximately six miles (9.7 kilometres) from Kandarodai which served as an
emporium in the Jaffna peninsula from classical antiquity. Jaffna's suburb Nallur served as the capital of the four-century-long medieval Jaffna Kingdom. Prior to the Sri Lankan Civil War, it was Sri Lanka's second most populous city after Colombo. The 1980s insurgent uprising led to extensive damage, expulsion of part of the population, and military occupation. Since the end of civil war in 2009, refugees and internally displaced people began returning to homes, while government and private sector reconstruction started taking place. Historically, Jaffna has been a contested city. It was made into a colonial port town during the Portuguese occupation of the Jaffna
peninsula in 1619 who lost it to the Dutch, only to lose it to the British in 1796. During the civil war, the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) occupied Jaffna in 1986. The Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) briefly occupied the city in 1987. The LTTE again occupied the city from 1989 until 1995, when the Sri Lankan Army regained control.
The majority of the city’s population are Sri Lankan Tamils with a significant number of Sri Lankan Moors, Indian Tamils and other ethnic groups present in the city prior to the civil war. Most Sri Lankan Tamils are Hindus followed by Christians, Muslims and a small Buddhist minority. The city is home to number of educational institutions established during the colonial and post-colonial period. It also has number of commercial institutions, minor industrial units, banks, hotels and other government institutions. It is home to many historical sites such as the popular Jaffna library that was burnt down and rebuilt and the Jaffna fort rebuilt during the Dutch colonial period.