Ancient Age: Explorations in the beds/tributaries of Narmada have revealed traces of the Paleolithic men in East Nimar district. Omkar Mandhata, a rocky island on the bank of Narmada river, about 47 miles North-West of Khandwa, is said to have been conquered by the Haihaya king Mahishmant, a scion of Yadu family, who had named the same as Mahishmati.
During the rise of Buddhism, the East Nimar region was included in Avanti Kingdom under Chand Pradyota Mahesana, which was later added to the growing empire of Magadha by Shishunaga.
From the early 2nd Century B.C. to late 15th Century A.D., the Nimar Region (earlier a part of Khandesh) underwent the ruling of many emperors from many dynasties, which include Mauryas, Sungas, Early Satvahanas, Kardamakas, Abhiras, Vakatakas, Imperial Guptas, Kalchuris, Vardhanas (of Harsha Vardhana fame), Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Paramaras, Faruki Dynasty etc.
Medieval Age:Peticularly Khandwa city in this district is not having remarkable history but the nearby district Burhanpur has glourious past during mogul-period and the impact of presence of such mighty places is obvious.
In 1536 A.D., the Mughal Emperor Humayun, after his conquest of Gujarat, had visited Burhanpur and Asirgarh(both are now in Burhanpur District) via Baroda, Broach (Bharuch) & Surat. Raja Ali Khan (1576-1596 A.D.), also known as Adil Shah, was asked to submit to Akbar, when the latter had sent an expedition to Khandesh, in the summer of 1577 A.D. The former, to avoid the unequal contest with the mighty Akbar, dropped his royal title of Shah and accepted the Suzerainty of Akbar. This marked an epoch in the Deccan policy of the Mughals, for Khandesh was used as a base for the future Conquest of Deccan. Raja Ali Khan constructed many buildings like Jama Masjid in the upper portion of the fort of Asir in 1588 A.D., Jama Masjid at Burhanpur in 1590 A.D., Idgah at Asir, mausoleums & Serai at Burhanpur and Serai & Mosque at Zainabad (Near Burhanpur in Burhanpur District).
Bahadur Khan (1596-1600 A.D.) successor of Raja Ali Khan declared his independence & refused to pay homage to Akbar & his son Prince Daniyal, which enraged Akbar, who marched towards Burhanpur in 1599 and occupied the City without any opposition on 8th April 1600 A.D. Akbar paid a visit to Asirgarh, so as to inspect it personally, where he stayed for 4 days before returning to his Head Quarter at Burhanpur.
Shahjahan’s Operation:Prince Khurram was nominated as the Governor of the Deccan in 1617 AD, by Jahangir to succeed Prince Parviz, and was bestowed the title of Shah by Jahangir. Khurram led the Mughal army to a peaceful victory by which Jahangir was pleased with his success & conferred him the title of Shah Jahan on 12th October, 1617 AD. After the death of Jahangir in 1627, Shah Jahan ascended the throne of Mughal empire. Due to troubled conditions in the Deccan, he reached Burhanpur (Deccan) on the 1st March 1630, where he stayed for the following two years, conducting operations against Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, and Golkunda. On 7th June 1631, Shah Jahan lost his beloved & favourite wife Mumtaz Mahall at Burhanpur, and her body was buried at first in the Garden of Zainabad, across the river Tapti. Early in December of the same year (1631 AD), the remains of her body were sent to Agra. Later on 6th March 1632, Shah Jahan left Burhanpur for the north, after appointing Mahabat Khan as the viceroy of the Deccan.
Modern Age:From the mid 16th Century to the early 18th century, the Nimar region (including East Nimar), was under the rule/impact of Aurangzeb, Bahadur Shah (Mughals), Peshwas, Sindhia, Holkar & Pawar (Marathas ), Pindaris etc. Later from early part of the mid 18th century, the management of the Nimar region came under the British.
The East Nimar district did not remain unaffected by the Great Uprising of 1857, which swept the country, against the British rule. In connection with the so called Riots of 1857, Tatya Tope had gone through the region of East Nimar district, and Khandwa and before marching out of the district, burnt the police stations and Govt. buildings at Khandwa, Piplod and a number of other places and escaped again to central India by way of Khargone.
The East Nimar district was greatly affected with the beginning of freedom movement, Non-Co-operation movement, Civil Disobedience movement, Quit India Movement etc., to obtain the Independence of the Motherland India, from late 18th century till 15th August 1947. During this time Khandwa was visited by Swami Dayanad Saraswati of Arya Samaj fame, Swami Vivekanand,the great monk & founder of Ramkrishna Mission, Mahatma Gandhiji in 1921, Lokmanya Tilak etc.
Young Nationalists of the district, like Haridas Chatterjee, Makhanlal Chaturvedi, Thakur Laxman Singh( of Burhanpur District), Abdul Quadir Siddique has attended the Calcutta Session of Congress in 1917. Tilak has visited the district during his whirl-wind tour to central province in 1918. The district did not fail to make its contribution in non-co-operative movement. Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930 has also been participated by many people of the district. Karmavir, weekly , was seized publication and its editor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi was sentenced to two years. Editor of swarajya S.M.Agarkar was also arrested and imprisoned. Nav Jawan Sabha was established at Khandwa in 1931. Students had also participated in this movement. They removed Union Jack from high school building and hoisted the tricolor, in this connection Raichand Bhai Nagda was fined and imprisoned.
The District also has contribution in Quit India Movement. The District Political Conference was held at Harsud sometime before August, 1942 had alerted the people for impending struggle.The Students of Robertson High School, Burhanpur( Burhanpur is now a new district but,formaly part of Khandwa District) hoisted Tri-colour on the school building on the 15th August. But it was removed by the police. The students organized the processions against this act of police till their demands of hoisting tricolor and pasting of photographs of national leaders did not met.