The region covered by the present district of Banda can boast of a rich historical tradition going back to the remote antiquity. The stone implements and other remains found here of the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods prove that human civilization began here in those earliest times in much the same way as in the rest of the country.
In prehistoric times the region seems to have been inhabited by primitive people, the ADIVASIS. The earliest known Aryan people associated with this region were the CEEDIS mentioned in rigveda. The earliest known traditional ruler of this region was YAYATI whose eldest son YADU had inherited this region, which was later, named CHEDI-DESHA by his offsprings. The sacred hill Kalinjar is mentioned in the Vedas as one of the tapasya-sthanas or spots adapted to practices of austere devotions. The great sage BAMDEO from whom this district derives its name BAMDA (later BANDA) lived in this region. Lord RAMA has spent 12 of the 14 years of his exile at Chitrakut, which was part of Banda upto a few years ago.
The famous Kalinjar-hill (Kalanjaradri) is said to have derived its name from Lord Shiva himself who is the main deity of Kalinjar called NILKANTHA even today. Mahabharata has numerous mention of this region, so much so that bathing in devine lakes of Kalinjar was equated to the merit (punya) of the gift of 1000 cows. The puranas do mention this region and this is much talked about in Ramayana too.
Around the fourth century B.C. this region seems to have been annexed to the Nanda empire of Magadha, which later formed the territory under Mauryan empire till Ashoka’s death sometime in 236 B.C. Pushyamitra Sung seems to have captured this region which remained under Sungas for nearly 100 years followed by the Kanvas for a short while. Kushanas too ruled over this tract of land. Plotemy who completed his famous work on geography around 151 AD mentions Kalinjar under the name of Kanagora as included in the kingdom of Prasiake, lying to the south of theYamuna. Nagas ruled over this tract sometimes during third and fourth centuries followed by Guptas during middle of the fourth century AD. The present district of Banda also shared the fruits of golden age under GUPTAS and contributed towards peace and prosperity of central India.
This region was later named JEJAKBHUKTI (or JAJHOTI). For a short while this region passed on under HUNS and then under panduvamsi-King UDAYAN. When famous king Harsha-vardhana (606-647 AD) established his supremacy over north India, this region was a part of this dominion. Well-known Chinese traveler HiuenTsang (641-642 AD) mentions this region as Chih-Chi-to and its capital at Khajuraho. After Harsha-Vardhan, Kalchuris and Pratiharas seem to have ruled over this tract followed by a long kingship of the famous Chandelas. During the second important Chandela king extended his territory to cover entire Bundelkhand and surroundings and was honoured the first Chandela KALANJARIDHIPATI. During first half of 11th century Mahmud of Gazni is reported to have marched several time to kalinjar but was resisted and forced to go back. Chauhan king Prihviraja of Delhi and Ajmer is said to have defeated famous Chandela-king Parmardideo some time during 1182 AD although he could not retain this tract for his own reasons and Paramardideo recovered his position soon. In 1202 AD Kutub-ud-din Aibak, a general of Muhammed Ghuri seem to have captured the fort, through Chandelas recovered their territory and ruled over it through 13th Century AD.
Lodi-sultans did occupy Kalinjar for a short while but again reverted back to the possession of the Hindu raja. Moghul prince Humayun Miza attempted to regain it but death of his father Babur in 1530 AD forced him to abandon this move. Fifteen years later Sher Shah Suri besieged the fort of Kalinjar (1545 AD) but was killed during operations just before its capture. His son Jalal Khan was ascended to Royal throne at Kalinjar fort under the assumed title of Islam Shah. The Chandela-king and his seventy soldiers were executed soon after and thus ended long Chandela-rule over Kalinjar.
Meanwhile Baghela-king Ram Chandra purchased the fort of Kalinjar but was later captured by Akbar’s leautinent, Majnun Khan Quaksal and this district and the Kalinjar fort become an integral part of the Mughul dominion. In later part of his life Raja Birbal seems to have held Kalinjar as his Jagir. Under Mughal sovereignty most of the area under Banda district fell under Kalinjar-Sirkar. Out of ten mahals which Kalinjar-Sirkar possessed six namely Augasi, Sihond, Simauni, Shadipur, Rasin and Kalinjar form part of the present district of Banda.
After Akbar’s death this regions history does not find any mention i.e. the region again became independent under local chiefs. During Jahangir’s time Bundelas consolidated their position and the stronghold of this region shifted to Orchha.
Under the valiant leadership of Champat Raj the Bundelas occupied the southernportion of Hamirpur including Mahoba. His son Ratan Shah too faught against Imperial forces. His another son, Chhatrasal took up the Bundela-cause, uniting under his banner all the less powerful Bundela chiefs and posed a threat to an already declining Mughal power. Chhatrasal made his capital at Panna (1691 AD) and conuered almost entire tract south of Yamuna carving out the region, which is known today the Bundelkhand.
Muhammad Khan Bangash as Governor of Allahabad on imperial order tried to recapture Bundelkhand but had to abandon this move for some important reasons. Bangash made another attempt in 1728 AD but he had to withdraw and forced to drive away because of Maratha-Bundela nexus against him. Humbled Bangash was so much disgraced that he was ousted from Governer’s position.
Peshwa Baji Rao, the Maratha chief regarded Chhatrasal as his father who in turn, during his last days, divided his dominion in three parts giving one part to Peshwa Baji Rao as his third son, Maratha presence in Bundelkhand later owes to this event.Jagatraj, the second son of Chhatrasal got the forts and dominion around Banda which was made capital and the fort of Bhuragarh on the western bank of Ken river seem to have been built sometime during 1746 AD.
In 1762 Awadh Nawab tried to conquer BundelKhand but the united forces of Bundelas almost wiped off whole of the Nawab’s army near Tindwari. The commanders Karamat Khan and raja Himmat Bahadur had to junp into Yamuna to find their escape. The successor Bundela chiefs, however, had in fights and thus gradually the great Bundela-power stood almost crippled by late 18th century.
In 1791 AD Bundela-king of Banda under care of Noni Arjun Singh faught the invaders Bahadur, known to be related to Peshwa Baji Rao and his Muslim wife mastani, herself a Bundela girl, and his friend Himmat Bahadur Gosain. Noni Arjun Singh lost his life and banda came under Ali Bahadur who declared himself as Nawab of Banda. Ali Bahadur lost his life while trying to capture Kalinjar fort in 1802 AD. It was during the nawabi of Shamsher Bahadur, son of late Ali Bahadur that Banda wad made the Chief town of his residence. Bundelas never settled with this situation and they resisted Nawab of Banda till end of the Banda nawabi.
The treaty of Bassein in 1803 brought Banda legally under British rule although Nawabs of Banda resisted their entry throughout. Himmat Bahadur, the one time friend of Nawabs sided with British and Nawab Shamsher Bahadur was defeated and had to accept sovereignty of British rule in 1804 AD.
It was in 1812 AD that Kalinjr came under British occupation; the quiledar of Kalinjar was gifted with separate Jagirs for his family and the negotiator. In March 1819 Banda town was made headquarter of the newly created southern Bundelkhand district.
Nawab Ali Bahadur II actively associated himself with the frredom-stuggle against British during 1857 uprising. The inhabitants of Banda district inspired by the incoming freedom fighters from eastern districts took arms and indulged in large numbers in the move against British rule. On 14th June British officers left Banda and Nawab declared himself to be independent. Khalq Khunda Ka /Mulk Badshah Ka/Hookam Nawab Ali Bahadur ka was the popular slogan.
Nawab of Banda not only organized his own governance in Banda but also assisted the revolutionary efforts elsewhere in Bundelkhand. Simultaneously he was able to convince the revolutionaries not to indulge in killings of British personnel’s. The independence lasted only for a year when British troops under Gen Whitlock plundered Banda after defeating Nawab’s army at Goera Mughli village. Fort Bhuragarh was destroyed and 800 brave freedom fighters were done to death. Nawab Ali Bahadur II was asked to leave Banda for indore with a pension of Rs.36,000.00 per annum.
There seems very strong repression of people during later years upto the beginning of the twentieth century when there is reference of large number of youths’ involvement in ante-partition agitation of 1905 highlighting the awareness against the foreign rule. Swadeshi movement struk deep roots when oaths to boycott foreign articles and to deal in swadeshi goods only were taken by the people. Lala lajpat rai inaugurated Dayanand Vedic Anathalaya at Banda in the year 1908.
Mahatma Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement (1920) spread in the district like fire. The swadeshi movement and boycott of the British goods became more intense during this period. The people were exhorted to leave Govt. services, boycott the courts, and children were advised not go to government schools. A nationalist school was set up in 1920 and SATYAGRAHI started being published which stirred nasses towards revolution.
Mahatma Gandhi visited Banda in the month of November 1929. In 1930 civil disobedience movement was started in Banda along with the rest of the country. The salt Satyagraha was initiated here followed by the civil disobedience movement in which people from all walks of life participated very actively; 65 persons were jailed. This led to widespread awakening and a large number of people including women joined the movement. Over 100 persons were arrested for breaking the law and order during this time. Well-known revolutionary Chandra Shekhar Azad also visited Banda during same time that was assisted by people for his activities through finance, arms and ammunition.
Anti recruitment in the army also campaigned during 2nd World –war and thousands participated in the Satyagraha against war-fund. The district authorities convicted at least 59 persons. On August 8, 1942 Quit India movement was launched with extremist activities, which resulted in at least 84 persons having been for their conduct. The resistance continued till the eve of independence in 1947.
On August 15, 1947 independence was welcome and rejoiced. The tradedy and wounds of partition during the same time bringing in its wake many displaced persons from Pakistan however was also felt with great uneasiness. Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination on 30th January 1948 was a very painful event which people of all walk of the mourned.
The declaration of sovereign Indian Republic along with adoption of its constitution on 26 Th January 1950 was celebrated here with enthusiasm happiness.Again during declaration of emergency in 1977 similar resistance was witnessed by conscious people all over the district who were convicted and jailed for almost 19 months.
In 1998, A new District , Chitrakut was constituted with two tahsils namely Karwi and Mau. District Banda remained with four tahsils namely Banda, Baberu, Atarra and Naraini. A new Commissonary Chitrakutdham with headquarter at Banda comprising four districts Banda, Hamirpur, Mahoba and Chitrakut was also constituted.