Beruwala, known by the exotic name Barberyn in earlier times, is considered to be where Arab traders established the first Moorish settlement on the island around the 9th century AD. Even today Beruwala’s population features a large segment of Sri Lanka Moors, many of whom are gem dealers. Beruwala was once a small port that boasted a considerable coastal trade in locally produced coir and rope, which was shipped to Colombo and Galle. Indeed, the Sinhala meaning of Beruwala is the spot where the sail was lowered. Today, however, it is a thriving fishing village.