Ruhuna is rich in history and legend. The liberating hero of the ancient chronicles, King Dutugemunu, was said to have spent his youth here, and the region has a tradition of resistance against tyrant kings and foreign invaders. Once far more thickly populated than it is now, Ruhuna has yielded relics of ancient Sinhalese civilization ranging in age from five hundred to fifteen hundred years, and the now-unpeopled jungle is dotted with the remains of centuries-old irrigation works.
the Ruhuna tea-growing district lies in what is now the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. The tea-growing terrain, coastal plain with low hills towards the interior, lies mostly in the western part of the province, within the ‘wet zone’ watered by the southwest monsoon. Eastward, the land is predominantly scrub jungle, with some areas of grassy plain and coastal salt-marsh, growing wilder and more barren as one travels eastward
Ruhuna was a latecomer to tea. It was only around 1900 that the first estates were opened up among the foothills of the central mountain massif, at a convenient distance from Galle and Matara with their road and rail connexion to the capital. At a time when most of the plantation enterprise was British-owned and -run, Ruhuna became an early bastion of the Ceylonese planting fraternity – a group that included not only ‘tea men’ but also those planting in rubber and other crops.