East Godavari District (often abbreviated as E.G.Dist, E.G.Dt) is a district situated on the northeast of the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. In Madras Presidency, The district of Rajahmundry was created in 1823. The Rajahmundry district was reorganized in 1859 into two - the Godavari and Krishna districts. Godavari district was further bifurcated into East and West Godavari districts in 1925. Its district headquarters is in Kakinada. It is the most populous district of Andhra Pradesh (out of 23). It was formed in 1925 when the old Godavari district was divided into west and east. In 1959 the Bhadrachalam Revenue Division, consisting of Bhadrachalam and Nuguru Venkatapuram Taluks of East Godavari district were merged into the Khammam district for geographical contiguity and administrative viability. The district is bounded on the north by Visakhapatnam District, Malkangiri District on the northwest by Khammam District, on the east and south by the Bay of Bengal and on the west by West Godavari District. The small enclave (12 sq mi (30 km²)) of the Yanam district of Puducherry state lies within this district. Rajahmundry and Kakinada are the two large cities in the Godavari districts. East Godavari district is also known as the rice bowl of Andhra Pradesh with lush paddy fields and coconut groves.
Early Hindu kingdoms
The district, like the rest of the Deccan was under the Nandas and Mauryas in its early history. After the fall of the Mauryan Empire, the district was under the Sathavahanas until the 3rd century under the famous poet king Hala. Coins found during excavations have revealed the rule of Gautamiputra Satakarni, Vasisthi-putra Pulumayi and Yajna Sri Satakarni. Gupta emperor Samudragupta invaded during the rule of both Pishtapura and Avamukta in the district in 350 A.D. Samudragupta's invasion was followed by the rule of the Mathara Dynasty from 375 to 500. The earliest known ruler of the dynasty was Maharaja Sakthi Varma.
The district passed into the hands of Vishnukundinas during the rule of Vikramendra Varma I during the 5th century. The records indicate that their domain extended over Visakhapatnam, West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur Districts in addition to East Godavari District. Indra Bhattaraka defeated the rulers of Vasistha Kula and re-established Vihsnukundina authority, but was shortly defeated by Kalinga armies. Indra Bhattaraka was followed to the throne by a few others, including Madha Varma III and Manchanna Bhattaraka, who tried to restore their kingdom. Madhava Varma III was the last important ruler of this family.
There are lot of Princely States and Zamindaris in East Godavari, who are successors to the Suryavanshi Kings of Rajputana, migrated in early 12th century. Famous Zamindaris are Peddapuram, Tuni, Ramachandrapuram. They are Vatsavai Kings and carry titles of Jagapathi's.
Chalukyas and Cholas
The Pulakesin II of Badami Chalukyas and his brother Kubja Vishnu Vardhana acquired Pistapura in the 7th century. The Eastern Chalukya dynasty, founded by Kubja Vishnu Vardhana, ruled at first form Pistapura, then from Vengi, and later from Rajahmundry. Many rulers held sway over the kingdom and their history is at times largely a record of disputes over succession. Chalukya Bhima I of this dynasty built a Shiva temple at Draksha Ramam. Jata Choda Bhima of Peda Kallu (Kurnool District) killed Danarnava of this dynasty and occupied Vengi in 973 A.D. Danarnava's two sons, Sakti Varma I and Vimala Aditya, fled from the kingdom and took refuge in the court of the Chola king Rajaraja Chola I. Rajaraja invaded Vengi on behalf of the sons of Danarnava and killed Jata Choda Bhima. Satya Raya of the Western Chalukyas of Kalyani did not like the Chola influence in Vengi and the area witnessed many wars between the Cholas and Chalukyas. After the death of Vijaya Aditya VII in 0175 A.D., the Eastern Chalukya dynasty came to an end.
Kulothunga Chola I (Rajendra Chalukya), rival of Vijay Aditya VII, fought along the sides of Cholas and established the Chalukya Cholas province. The district along with the rest of the Vengi kingdom became part of their empire. Major portions of the district were under Velanati Chodas, trustworthy chieftains to his. The famous rulers of this dynasty were Gonka I, Rajendra Choda I, Gonka II and Rajendra Choda II. Vikram Aditya vii of Western Chalukyas occupied this region for short period, but it was recovered by Chalukya Cholas and Velanti Chodas. Velanati chiefs also suppressed rebellions from Haihayas of Kona, Gonka II and Rudra of the Kakatiya dynasty.
Kakatiyas and Delhi Sultanate
Inscriptions at this region including the ones at Draksha Ramam in 13th century throw light on their history. Prola II of the Kakatiya dynasty declared independence from the western Chalukyas and became a subject of Chalukya Cholas. His son Rudra obtained the Godavari delta as gift from the Rajaraja II of Chalukya Cholas. Rudra's authority over the Godavari delta was challenged by the Velanadu Chodas. The Velanati king Rajendra Choda II sent an army under his minister Davana Preggada against Rudra. Rudra was succeeded by his younger brother Mahadeva who died in a conflict with the Yadavas of Devagiri. His son Ganapathi succeeded to the Kakatiya throne. Ganapathi defeated Kalinga armies on the north, Pandyas of Madurai and Cholas with the help of Nellore Chodas. The Kakatiya power remained undisturbed in the Godavari region throughout the reign of Ganapathi and her daughter Rudrama devi. Pratap Rudra ascended the throne in 1295 and faced many attacks from Sultans of Delhi. After his defeat by Muhammad-bin-Tughluq in 1323, the district came under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate. Muhammad-bin-Tughluq divided South India into five provinces and appointed governors.
Musunuri Nayaks, Reddy and other Hindu Kingdoms
Delhi sultans faced rebellions from the confederacy of local chiefs under the authority of Prolaya of the Musunuri Nayaks clan. The Reddis of Addanki, Koppula Telagas of Pithapuram and the Recherla Velamas of Rachakonda actively helped him. Warangal was liberated and Telugu land enjoyed freedom for fifty years. Musunuri Kapaya Nayaka appointed his relatives Toyyeti Anavota Nayaka and Mummadi Nayaka (Korukonda) as governors in Godavari region. Mummadi Nayaka married the niece of Kapaya Nayaka. Mummadi Nayaka lived till 1388. He had three sons who ruled for a period of 40 years and later they were reduced to submission by the Reddys of Kondaveedu and their principality was merged in the kingdom of Kondaveedu. Subsequently, Narasimha Deva IV of Kalinga succeeded in conquering this region, but was repulsed by Anavota Reddy of Rajahmundry. He was succeeded by Anavema Reddy and Kumaragiri of the same dynasty.
Kumaragiri fought many wars with the Racherlas of Rachakonda and the Kalinga rulers. He sent his general Kataya Vema along with Prince Anavota to conquer the eastern region. This resulted in the annexation of a large tract in the north as far as Simhachalam. The newly acquired territory was annexed to the Reddi Kingdom and constituted into a separate province called the eastern kingdom. Prince Anavota ruled this province with Raja-mahendra-varam as his capital. He died a premature death around 1395 and Kataya Vema, the general and brother-in-law of Kumar Giri, was given Rajamahendra Rajya in appreciation of the services rendered by him to the State. Kataya Vema's departure to Raja-mahendra-varam led to the seizure of the throne of Kondaveedu by force by Peda Komati Vema.
Peda Komati Vema's authority was defined by Kataya Vema. Kataya Vema was also involved in conflict with Eruva chief Annadeva Choda, who managed to occupy a large portion of the Rajamahendra Rajya. He was, however, defeated and driven back by Kataya Vema. Later, Kataya Vema died in a battle with Anna Deva Choda. After his death, Allada Reddi placed Kataya Vemas' son Komaragiri on the throne of Rajamahendravaram and ruled the kingdom as his regent. Komarigiri died a premature death. Allada Reddi ruled this region till his death in 1420. About 1423, the Vijayanagara ruler Deva Raya II defeated Vira Bhadra, who was then ruling this kingdom and reduced it to subjection.
After the death of Kapileswara Gajapati in 1470, there was a fight between his sons Hamvira and Purushottama for succession. Hamvira succeeded in occupying the throne with the help of Bahmanis but he could not retain it for long. Purushottama overthrew Hamvira and tried to reconquer Rajahmundry and other places. But Muhammad Shah III led the forces to Rajahmundry. This battle, However, ended with the conclusion of peace treaty. After the death of Muhammad Shah III, Purushottama Gajapathi overran the whole of the Godavari-Krishna doab and drove the Bahmani forces as far south as Kondaveedu. Purushottama was succeeded by his son Prataparudra. The Vijayanagar monarch Krishna Deva Raya invaded his kingdom and brought Rajahmundry under subjugation. However, a treaty was concluded wherein Pratapa Rudra agreed to give his daughter in marriage to Krishna Deva Raya in return of the territory north of the Krishna conquered by Krishna Deva Raya.
Later Muslim Kingdoms
Taking advantage of the disturbed conditions, the Qutb Shahi ruler of Golconda, Sultan Quli Qutb Shah, invaded the coastal region and took possession of Rajahmundry and the neighbouring kingdoms. Sultan Quli was murdered and he was succeeded to the throne by his son Jamshid Qutb Shah and then by his grand son Subhan Qutb Shah. During his reign, Ibrahim Qutb Shah had to ward off challenges from Shitab Khan and Vidyadhar. The last ruler of this dynasty was Abdual Hasan Tana Shas, who ruled from 1672 to 1687.
During this period, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb brought most of southern India under his control. Aurangzeb conquered the sultanate of Golconda in 1687, and Golconda, including East Godavari District, became one of the twenty-two provinces of the Mughal Empire. Aurangzeb appointed viceroys to carry out the administration of these provinces. The Nizam-ul-Mulk (viceroy) of Golconda looked after the administration through military officers called Fauzdars. The Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar appointed Asaf Jah as the Nizam-ul-Mulk of the Deccan. He was, however, replaced by Husian Ali Khan, and during the time of emperor Muhammad Shah, Asaf Jah invaded the Deccan, defeated and killed Mubariz Khan in the battle of Shakar Khera in 1724 and ruled the Deccan as Nizam of Hyderabad.
The Nizam-ul-Mulk's death in 1748 led to a war of succession between his son Nasir Jung and his grandson Muzaffar Jung. The French and the British took different sides each. The dispute ended with the accession of Salabat Jung, with the help of the French General Bussy. General Bussy was, however, summoned to the south by Lally, the new Governor-General of the French possessions in India. As soon as he left, Pusapati Ananda Gajapati Raju, the new Raja of Vizianagaram, invited the English to come and occupy the Northern Circars. The tussle that ensued between the French and the English ended with the French losing all possessions in Northern Circars, save for Yanam, which (save for brief periods of British rule) they would hold onto till after Indian independence in 1947.
Salabat Jung was subsequently deposed by his brother Nizam Ali Khan, who leased out Rajahmundry and Chicacole to Hasan Ali Khan. Lord Robert Clive, entered into negotiations with the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam, and obtained a firman ceding the Northern Circars to the British East India Company in August 1765, but it was kept a secret until March 1766. The fort of Kondapalli was seized by the British, and General Cillaud was sent to Machilipatnam to undertake military operations, if necessary. The Nizam also made brisk preparations for war. War was prevented by the signing of a treaty on November 12, 1766 by which the Company, in return for occupying the Circars, undertook to maintain troops for the Nizam's assistance.
The Zamindars came into prominence during the period preceding the transfer of the district to the British. The Zamindars of Rampa, Totapalli, Jammichavidi, Jaddangi, Peddapuram, Pithapuram, Kota and Ramchandrapuram were the important zamindars of this region.
British rule, 1768–1947
By a second treaty, signed on March 1, 1768 the Nizam acknowledged the validity of Shah Alam's grant and resigned the Circars to the Company, receiving as a mark of friendship an annuity of 50,000. Finally, in 1823, the claims of the Nizam over the Northern Circars were bought outright by the Company, and they became a British possession. The Circars were incorporated into Madras Presidency, and Godavari District was constituted, which included present-day East Godavari and West Godavari districts.
Since Indian independence, 1947-present
After India's independence in 1947, the former Madras Presidency of British India became India's Madras State. In 1953, the northern districts of Madras state, including Godavari District, became the new state of Andhra Pradesh. Yanam was relinquished by the French in 1954, but one condition of the cession treaty was the retention of the district's separate and distinct identity, which also applied to the other South Indian enclaves constituting today's Puducherry state.