The recorded enthralling history of Odisha goes back more than two millennium. Several great empires and dynasties have ruled over the state and have contributed greatly to the history, culture and development of Odisha. Odisha is formally known as orissa. In the different era the region and parts of the region were known by different names.
In the ancient times Odisha was known as Kalinga which was named after son of king Bali. According to some scriptures and mythology he founded the kingdom of Kalinga, in the current day region of coastal Odisha, including the Northern Circars. Kalinga is mentioned in the Mahabharata several times. From the time of Kalinga to Odisha the state is refered/ called by many names like Utkala, Mahakantara, Urda (Odia word is eveolved from the Urda tribe), Oddiyana, Kamala Mandala, South Kosala, Kongoda, Trikalinga, Tosali.
The history of Odisha can be traced back to the prehistoric days. The pre-historic culture of Odisha was very different from that of the northern part of India. During lower Paleolithic times the Acheulian tools was prevalent in the districts of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundargarh and Sambalpur in Odisha. The Gudahandi hills in Kalahandi district have paintings and rock carvings dating to Upper Paleolithic times. Some of the rocks, like the Mayurbhanj granite pluton, have been dated to 3.09 billion years ago. Prehistoric paintings, inscriptions, pieces of pottery and tools like hoes, chisels, pounders, mace heads, grinding stones have been found in different parts of the state.
Ashoka and Kalinga War Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty conquered Kalinga in the bloody Kalinga War in 261 BCE which was the 8th year of his reign. According to his own edicts, the war about 1,000,000 people were killed, 1,500,000 were captured and several more were affected. The resulting bloodshed and suffering of the war deeply affected Ashoka. He turned into a pacifist and converted to Buddhism. The Kalingans had used personnel from the Atavika region, which was in the west of Kalinga, during the war. According to his edicts, Ashoka conquered the coastal region of Kalinga but didn't try to conquer the Atavika region. The Mauryans governed the Kalinga region as a province. They used Tosali as the regional capital and judiciary center. A kumara (viceroy) ruled from Tosali, modern-day Dhauli. Samapa, modern-day Jaugada, was another administrative centre. Ashoka erected two edicts in the region, at Jaugada and Dhauli.
In the 1st century BCE, Mahameghavana established the Mahameghavahana dynasty in Kalinga. Kharavela was the third ruler of the dynasty. He reigned in the second half of the 1st century BCE. Most of the information about Kharavela comes from the Hathigumpha inscription in Udayagiri near Bhubaneswar. The inscription also calls the dynasty as Chedi (also spelled Cheti) but it is not the same as the Chedi kingdom of western India.
The Gajapati Dynasty was established by Kapilendra Deva in 1435, after the fall of the last Eastern Ganga king, Bhanudeva IV. The dynasty is also known as a Suryavamsi dynasty. In about 1450, Kapilendra Deva installed his eldest son, Hamira, as the governor of Rajamundry and Kondavidu. Kapilendra Deva managed spread his kingdom from Ganga in the north to as far as Bidar in the south by 1457. During Kapilendra Deva's reign, Sarala Dasa, the Odia poet, wrote the Odia Mahabharata and his other works. When Kapilendra Deva died in 1467, a civil war occurred to capture the throne, among his sons. In the end, Purushottama Deva succeeded in securing the throne in 1484 by defeating Hamvira.Bhoi Dynasty :
The Bhoi Dynasty was founded by Govinda Vidyadhara who came to throne in a bloody coup, in 1541. The dynasty was short-lived and during this period the kingdom came under conflict with neighbouring kingdoms and reeled with civil wars. First, Raghubhanja Chhotray who was the nephew of Govinda Vidyadhara, became a rebel. Govinda was succeeded by his son, Chakrapratap, who was an unpopular ruler. After he died in 1557, a minister called Mukunda Deva rebelled. He killed the last two Bhoi kings and squashed the rebellion of Raghubhanja Chhotray. After that, he declared himself the ruler of Odisha.Mukunda Deva :
Mukunda Deva (also known as Mukunda Harichandana) came to throne, in 1559, in a bloody coup. According to the Madala Panji (temple records), he was a Chalukya. During this period, Odisha was going through many internal conflicts. Mukunda stuck an alliance with Akbar, that he made him a foe of Sulaiman Khan Karrani, the ruler of Bengal. Sulaiman sent his son, Bayazid Khan Karrani and his infamous general, Kalapahad, to conquer Odisha, in 1567.Bengal (Karrani) rule :
In 1568, Odisha came under the control of Sulaiman Khan Karrani of the Karrani dynasty, who was the ruler of Sultanate of Bengal. In the Battle of Tukaroi, which took place in modern-day Balasore, Daud Khan Karrani was defeated and retreateddeep into Odisha. The battle led to the Treaty of Katak in which Daud ceded the whole of Bengal and Bihar,retaining only Odisha. The treaty eventually failed after the death of Munim Khan (governor of Bengal and Bihar) who died at the age of 80. Daud took the opportunity and invaded Bengal. This led to the Battle of Rajmahal in 1576, where Daud was defeated and executed.Mughal rule :
In 1590, Qutlu Khan Lohani, an officer of Daud, declared himself independent and assumed the title of "Qutlu Shah". Raja Man Singh who was the Mughal governor of Bihar, started an expedition against him. Before facing Man Singh, Qutlu Shah died. Qutlu Khan's son Nasir Khan, after little resistance, accepted Mughal sovereignty and paid homage to Man Singh on 15 August 1590. Nasir Khan was then appointed Governor of Odisha and signed a treaty which ceded the region of Puri.Under Akbar Rule :
Raja Ramachandra Deva, the king of Khurda, had accepted Akbar's suzerainty. Akbar mostly followed a policy of non-interference in the local chieftains' matters. After Akbar, his son, Jahangir came to power, who followed a different policy.Under Shah Jahan :
In 1628, Shah Jahan became the Mughal emperor and Muhammad Baqar Khan was appointed the governor of Odisha. He extended his influence well into the kingdom of Golconda. In 1632, he was recalled. Shah Shuja was appointed by Shah Jahan as the Subahdar of Bengal from 1639 until 1660. From 1645 onwards, a deputy of Shuja called Zaman Teharani was the governor of Odisha.Under Aurangzeb :
In 1658, Shah Jahan took ill and Dara Shikoh took on as the royal regent. This led to a war of succession in which Aurangzeb emerged victorious in 1659. He imprisoned his own father, who later died in 1666. During this period of instability in the Mughal empire, several chieftains in Odisha had declared independence.Maratha rule :
The river Subarnarekha served as the border between Bengal and Maratha-controlled Odisha. Marathas used to
collect a pilgrimage tax at Puri, which was exempt for paupers.
In 1803, the British conquered the region during the Second Anglo-Maratha War, when most of the Maratha forces were engaged elsewhere.