Vizianagaram district is a northern coastal district of Andhra Pradesh, India. The town of Vizianagaram is the district headquarters. The district is bounded on the east by the district of Srikakulam, southwest by the district of Visakhapatnam, southeast by the Bay of Bengal, and northwest by the state of Odisha.
Vizianagaram district was formed on 1 June 1979, with some parts carved from the neighbouring districts of Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam. The district is named after the princely state of Vizianagaram (Vijaya means victory and Nagaram means city in Telugu). It is the least populous district in Andhra Pradesh.
The history of Vizianagaram district is with Kalinga dynasty. In modern times, the upper part of Kalinga was gradually merged into Odisha state and the lower part into Andhra Pradesh. The Kalinga empire extended from Cuttack in Odisha to Pithapuram in East Godavari district as far back as the 4th century BC. The Nandas ruled the area between 467 and 336 BC. They were followed by the Mauryas, the Chedis, the Satavahanas, the Pitribhaktas, the Matharas, the Vasishthas, the Vishnukundinas, the early Eastern Gangas, the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi, the late Eastern Gangas, the Reddis of Rajahmundry and the Velanati Cholas till the Kakatiyas appeared by 1210 AD.
Recorded evidence show that some local dynasties like the Rapatri Chiefs and the Gangas of Narayanapura (situated near Balijipeta), the Gangas of Jantarunadu (the track now known as Srungavarapukota), ruled over parts of the district from the 12th to 15th century.
The Kakatiya rulers under Ganapatideva defeated the Velanati Chola Chief, Prithvisvara who was ruling over the territory in 1210 AD. The territory was recovered by the Eastern Gangas during the reign of Ananga Bhima III. The Gajapatis of Odisha then came to rule the territory after overthrowing the Eastern Gangas in 1443 AD. The rule of the Gajapatis lasted for about 140 years till the Qutb Shahis conquered the territory around 1574 AD. Consequent on the occupation of Golconda by the Mughals in 1687 AD, the area came under the control of Mughals. When the Viceroy of the Mughals in Deccan, Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah declared independence in 1724 AD, the area came under the rule of the Asaf Jahis.
In the war of succession after Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah died, Salabat Jung who came to power with the backing of the French General Marquis de Bussy, rewarded the French by ceding four Circars including the Chicacole Circar in 1753. An important event in the history of the district which occurred by about this time is the war between the Rajas of Vizianagaram and Bobbili, popularly known as Bobbili Yuddam. The war was fought between the MahaRaja of Vizianagaram aided by the French General Bussy and the Rajah of Bobbili on 24 January 1757.
Another important event in the history of the district is the war between the French and English fought at Chandurthi in 1758, in which the French were defeated and the Northern Circars were made over to the British under a firmana from the Mughal emperor Shah Alam in 1765 which were placed under the then existing Chief and Council at Vizagapatam. In 1794, the Chiefs and Councils were abolished and Vizagapatam was arranged into three divisions each under a collector. Almost the entire area of the present area of Vizianagaram district fell under the second division. However the three divisions were merged and a collectorate for the whole district was established in 1803 after the introduction of the permanent settlement in the area.
The history of the rebellions against the British rule goes back to 1830s when the people of the district particularly the tribals unable to bear the oppression, rose in frequent rebellions (fituris) leading to the establishment of separate administrative system known as "Agency Administration" under the India Act XXIV of 1839. The rebellion of Korra Mallaiah, a tribal chief of the Salur area against the British rule in 1900 is another important event. The district magistrate dispatched Reserve Police to suppress the revolt, which was seriously resisted by the people. In the skirmish that followed many were killed. Korra Mallaiah along with son was arrested and kept in Jail where he died subsequently. Subsequently in the Indian freedom movement, the people hailing from this area enthusiastically took part in various phases like non-cooperative movement, civil disobedience movement, Quit India Movement etc.