Trincomalee 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 Trincomalee.
The population of the district, like the rest of the east and north, has been heavily affected by the civil war. The war killed an estimated 100,000 people. Several hundred thousand Sri Lankan Tamils, possibly as much as one million, emigrated to the West during the war. Many Sri Lankan Tamils also moved to the relative safety of the capital Colombo. The war also caused many people from all ethnic and religious groups who lived in the district to flee to other parts of Sri Lanka, though most of them have returned to the district since the end of the civil war.
The recorded history of Trincomalee spans more than two and a half thousand years, beginning with civilian settlement associated with the Koneswaram temple in the pre-modern era. One of the oldest cities in Asia, it has served as a major maritime seaport in the international trading history of the island with South East Asia. From its suburban village of Kankuveli, some of Asia's earliest medical research at the "Agathiyar Thapanam", the Siddhar Tamil medical university established by Agastya, helped spread Tamil Tamraparniyan culture across the continent. In the ancient world, it was successively the capital of eastern kingdoms of the Vanni country, developing under the Anuradhapura Kingdom, Pallava Dynasty, Chola Dynasty, Pandyan Dynasty, the Vannimai chieftaincies and the Jaffna kingdom through the Koneswaram shrine's revenue.
Trincomalee's urbanization continued when made into a fortified port town following the Portuguese conquest of the Jaffna kingdom, changing hands between the Danish in 1620, the Dutch, the French following a battle of the American Revolutionary War and the British in 1795, being absorbed into the British Ceylon state in 1815. The city's architecture shows some of the best examples of interaction between native and European styles. Attacked by the Japanese as part of the Indian Ocean raid during World War II in 1942, the city and district were affected after Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, when the political relationship between Tamil and Sinhalese people deteriorated, erupting into civil war. It is home to major naval and air force bases at the Trincomalee Garrison. The city also has the largest Dutch fort on the island.