Sambalpur has a history full of events including Indian Freedom Struggle representing the different sections of the society. History has to say that Samudragupta in the 4th century, defeated King Mahendra of Koshala, the kingdom that included Sambalpur. During the 5th and 6th centuries Sambalpur came under the rule of Sarbhapuriyas. Towards the 7th century it passed into the hands of Panduvansi king Trivaradeva. Towards the close of 9th century king Janmajaya-I Mahabhavagupta extended his empire which comprised the modern districts of Sambalpur and Bolangir. Henceforward, his dynasty came to be known as the Samavansi dynasty. During the last part of the Samavansi rule, Sambalpur was occupied by the Kalachuris of Ratnapua. The 13th century saw a bitter fight between the Kalachuris and the Gandas. Later on, the Gandas occupied Sambalpur.
During the middle of the 14th century Ramai Dev laid the foundation of the Chauhan rule in Western Odisha. However, the Chowhan rule came to a close in April,1800, when Sambalpur was occupied by the Marathas. After the British occupied Odisha and bitterness between the British and Marathas ripened, the former found a convenient route via Sambalpur and annihilated the Marathas. Sambalpur was occupied by the British on 2nd January, 1804. Finally it passed on to the Brithish in 1817. The subsequent years witnessed the movements of the Kandhas and Binjhal Zamidars against the British and their puppet ruler in Sambalpur was Rani Mohan Kumari. Although the modern concept of nationalism was not activating force, one could see the spirit of freedom and hatred of foreign rule reflected in the struggle. The period recorded the heroic saga of Surendra Sai. (Most renowned freedom fighter of Western Odisha).
Sambalpur district, the western most district of Odisha, had been named after the headquarters town, Sambalpur. According to Mr. L.S.S.O. Maller, the town derived its name from the presiding goddess Samalai, whose stone image was discovered by Balaram Dev, the first Chowhan king of Sambalpur.
Sambalpur district lies between 20° 40’ N and 22° 11’ N latitude, 82° 39’ E and 85° 15’ E longitude with a total area of 6,702 Sq. Kms. The district is surrounded by Deogarh district in the east, Bargarh and Jharsuguda districts in the west, Sundergarh district in the north and Subarnpur and Angul districts in the South.