Brief history of the District
The district of Gumla was carved out of old Ranchi district by the Govt. of Bihar Notification No.7/T-1-204/83 dated 16.5.1983. It acquired 5347.25 sq km area from its parent district of Ranchi. It is one of the 5 districts of South Chotanagpur division while other four districts are Lohardaga Ranchi, Khunti and Simdega. The district lies between 22.35° to 23.33° north latitude and 84.40° to 85.1° east longitude. Gumla district Contains 3 sub-divisions , 12 Community Development Blocks as well as 3 census towns (Gumla, Ghaghra and Toto). Gumla is the principal town of the district. It is headquarters of the district and Gumla Sadar sub-division. C.D. Blocks (12) of Gumla sadar Sub-division, viz., Bishunpur, Ghaghra, Chainpur, Dumri, Raidih, Gumla, Sisai, Verno,Kamdara, Basia, Palkot and Albert Ekka (Jari).It is predominarily a tribal district. It is bounded on the north by the districts of Latehar & Lohardaga, on the east by the districts of Ranchi and Khunti, on the South by the district of Simdega and on the west by the State of Chhattisgarh. The various legends are in currency regarding its name . The most popular one ascribes to its word ‘Gumla’ in Mundari language, which relates to the occupation of the local Tribes in rice processing work (dhan-kutna). The second legend ‘Gau-mela’ relates to cattle fair. Cattle fair was weekly held in Gumla town every Tuesday. In rural areas, Nagpuri and Sadri people still call it ‘gomila’.
As the district was created out of old Ranchi district by Government of Bihar Notification dated 16.5.1983, naturally, its recorded history is contained within the parent Ranchi district prior to Notification. Owing to Kol rising in 1881-82 the South-West non-regulation frontier was created after which Lohardaga district came into existence which owned present Gumla district- in 1899 the name of the district was changed from Lohardaga to Ranchi. In ancient times the area of the district along with neighboring west tract was under the undisputed possession of Mundas and Oraons. To Aryans the area was known as Jharkhand or forest territory. It was beyond the pale of Hindu influence, possibly, the area came under Magadhan empire during the reign of Ashoka, the great (273-232 B.C.). With the decline of Mauryan power, king Kharavela of Kalinga led an army through Jharkhand and ransacked Rajgriha and Pataliputra. Later, Samudra Gupta (335-380 AD.) must have passed through the area on his expedition to the Deccan. The Chinese traveller Itsing is believed to have journeyed through the Chotanagpur Plateau in course of his travels to Nalanda and Bodh Gaya. The Chotanagpur Raj is believed to have been set up in fifth century A.D. after the fall of the imperial Guptas. Phanimukut was elected the first king. It is said that he was found by the side of a tank under the protection of a Nag (snake). Hence the dynasty founded by him was named the Nag Dynasty.
It was only Akbar who could extend the Muslim influence in the area. As per Ain-i-Akbari Chotanagpur was reduced to the position of tributary by the force of Akbar by Shahbaz Khan and was included to the Subeh of Bihar. After the death of Akbar in 1605 the area presumably got independence. In 1616 Fateh Jang captured Durjan Sal, the 46th King of Chotanagpur. In 1632, Chotanagpur was given as Jagir to the Governor at Patna against annual payment of Rs.1,36,000. But this arrangement could not last long. In the time of Muhammad Shah (1719-1748) Sar Buland Khan, the Governor of Bihar defeated the Raja of Chotanagpur. It is believed that district enjoyed almost peace from 1624 when Durjan Sal was released till the appearance of the British in 1772.
Emperior Shah Alam-II granted the Diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to the East India Company in 1765. Chotanaagpur was included within Bihar. Prompted by internecin quarrels captain camac in December,1771 attacked Palamu. Captain Camac was succeeded by Chapman, the first Civilian administrator of Chotanagpur. Agrarian discontent against the begari coupled with enhancement of rent by the thikedars or intermediaries caused Sardari agitation. The agitation was led by Sardars. By 1887 the movement got momentum and many Munda and Oraon cultivators refused to pay rent to the landlords. With the appearance of Birsa Munda, believed to be manifestation and incarnation of God, the agitation was at its height in 1895. He declared that the land belonged to the people who reclaimed it from forests and thus there was no need to pay rent. Birsa Munda had far-reaching influence on cultivators and people of Gumla as well. A local leader Jatra Oraon of Bishunpur police station led a religious movement known as Tana Bhagat movement in 1914. The non-co-operation movement led by Jatra soon spread over Palamu and Hazaribagh districts.