Ranchi is one of the 24 districts of Jharkhand in Eastern part of India. The name Ranchi has been derived from Oaron village nearby called ''Archi''. It is also believed that ''ranchi'' was actually a type of bird commonly seen in the local mountain temple.
Ranchi was formerly a part of old Lohardaga district of British India. In 1831, some part of Lohardaga district was carved out which was known as Non-regulation South-West Frontier. In 1899, this name was changed to Ranchi.
Early History of Ranchi:
Much early in history, Ranchi and neighbouring parganas was under the possession of Munda and Oaron tribes. Later, this region was under the control of Magadha Empire (Mahapadmanand Agrasen), Mauryan Empire (under Ashoka the Great) and then a part of the Gupta Empire. The Chota nagpur raj was set up in 5th century A.D. after the fall of Gupta empire. Afterwards, a king named Phanimukut established the Nag dynasty. The entire region of Chota nagpur plateau was under his reign for a long time.
Mughal Period of Ranchi:
The Chota Nagpur Plateau has been referred to as ''Jharkhand'' by historians. When Akbar ascended to the throne of Delhi in 1556, Jharkhand or ''kokrah'' came under Muslim influence. After the death of Akbar, this area regained its independence. But in 1616, Ibrahim Khan defeated Durian Sal (46th raja of Chota nagpur), although the latter was released and allowed to continue as an independent chief.
The year 1632 witnessed Chota nagpur as jagir to governor at Patna for annual payment of 1,36,000. Expeditions were led by Sar Balland Khan and later by Fakhruddoula. Peace prevailed in the area from 1624 till coming of British in 1772.
British Period of Ranchi:
In 1757, Battle of Plassey took place. The British gained control over Indian subcontinent. Chota nagpur region was no exception. It was under British control by 1765, who made a settlement in 1772 with Nagbansi Maharaja. Revolts marked the years from 1811 to 1831. A separate province named South-Western Frontier Agency was formed in 1833. This included Chota nagpur region and neighbouring Dhalbhum region.The region was actually known as Lohardaga district. In 1840, Headquarters was shifted to Ranchi. By 1854, there were lot of changes in the governance of Chota nagpur. The entire region was deemed as a non-regulation province under the control of the commissioner. In the 1857 sepoy rebellion, the Ramgarh battalion participated in the mutiny. The British took control over estates and property of zamindars. They gained control over the region.
Events after 1857:
After 1857, there was lack of proper governance and there was discontent among the tribal people of the region. In 1899, Birsa Munda emerged as a leader and encouraged people to revolt so that the pride of Munda people could be restored. He was however, imprisoned in Ranchi jail and he died after a few years. In 1899, the name of Lohardaga district was changed to Ranchi district.
Ranchi during Freedom Struggle:
Ranchi was a venue for meetings between Mahatma Gandhi and Sir Edward Albert Gait, Lieutenant Governor of Bihar and Orissa. These meetings were held in the year 1917. The purpose of these meetings was to discuss about repressive measures of Champaran indigo planters against the raiyats of the district. The Champaran agrarian law was passed as Bihar and Orissa Act-1 of 1918. The Salt Satyagraha launched by Mahatma Gandhi received great response in Ranchi district.
After India achieved independence in 1947, Ranchi district was a part of State of Bihar. Lohardaga district was created by carving out some portion from Ranchi district in 1983. When Jharkhand was formed on 15th November,2000, the district became the 1st district of the newly formed state. Later, on 12th September, Khunti district was carved out of Ranchi district.