Puttalam was situated on the West Coast of Ceylon, north of Colombo. It became a well-known harbour town during the Portuguese era. When the Dutch came to Ceylon they sought permission to trade from the King of Kandy, who controlled the port. Puttalam functioned as an entropot for areca nut, a crop farmed by the King of Kandy's subjects. The wares were transported to the Indian coast via Kalpitiya. Puttalam was also a point of distribution for the Indian materials and textiles that were sold in Ceylon.