In the early ages of the Anuradhapura Kingdom, the economy was based on farming. Early settlements were mainly made near the rivers of the east, north central, and north east areas which had the water for farming whole year round. The king was responsible for the law, the army and the protector of faith. King Devanampiya Tissa’s (250–210 BCE) links with Emperor Asoka led to the introduction of Buddhism by Arahath Mahinda (son of King Asoka) around 247 BCE. Ellalan (205–161 BCE) was a Tamil King who ruled “Pihiti Rata” (Sri Lanka, north of the Mahaweli and was subsequently defeated by King Dutugemunu (161–137 BCE), at 25 years of age, who united the country.
Again the Northern part of the country fell to the rule of Tamil invaders and King Walagamba I (89–77 BCE) ended the Tamil rule again. Since then there had been frequent wars among the rulers within and outside for a few centuries
In 993, Raja Raja Chola from South India sent a large Chola army which conquered the Anuradhapura Kingdom, in the north, and added it to the sovereignty of the Chola Empire. The whole or most of the island was subsequently conquered and incorporated as a province of the vast Chola empire during the reign of his son Rajendra Chola.
Anuradhapura kingdom lasted for 10 centuries.