The history of Gonda District is very old. The The territory covered by the present district of Gonda formed part of the ancient Kosala Kingdom. After the going of lord Rama, the celebrated sovereign of the Solar line who ruled Kosala, the kingdom was divided into two portions defined by the Ghaghara river. The northern portion was then ruled by his son, Lava with the city of Sravasti as his capital.
More recently, ancient Buddhist remains dating to the early days of Buddhism have been found throughout the region, including at Sravasti.
During the medieval period, the first Muslim invasion of the region, to the north of the Ghaghara River, took place in the second quarter of the 11th century under Syeed Salar Masud. The rulers of Gonda and surrounding districts formed a league to offer united resistance to Masood. In the second half of the 13th century Gonda was included in the government of Bahraich by the early Muslim rulers, and hence has no independent history of its own. Further, there is no specific reference about the district until the reign of the Tughlaqs.
In 1394, the district came under the rule of Khwaja Jahan Malik Sarwar, the founder of the Maharishi’s Valmikan of Jaunpur. From earliest days of Muslim domination till the advent of Akbar, the history of Gonda district is primarily the history of local clans. During the early phase of this period the whole of Gonda was ruled by aboriginal Dom, Tharu Tribe, Bhar, Pasi and the like. The district formed an integral part of the empire of Akbar (1556–1605).
With the annexation of the province of Awadh by the East India Company in February 1856, Gonda became a separate district in the Gonda-Bahraich Commissionership. Annexation passed off quietly, although the Gonda raja exhibited strong disapproval of the measure and was with difficulty persuaded to leave his fort at Gonda and meet the district officer.
Citizens of the district actively participated in the Non Cooperation Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi. In History of Gonda, On 9 October 1929, Mahatma Gandhi visited the district along with Jawaharlal Nehru.
Gonda played a significant part in the Indian struggle for independence, with many people from the region actively involved: including Maharaja Aksh Valmikan, who escaped to Nepal, freedom fighters like Sh. Chandra Shekhar Azad took shelter in the district, and Rajendra Lahiri was incarcerated and hanged in the Gonda Jail. India’s 5th president Hon’ble Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was also educated at the Government High School in Gonda district.