The early history of Boudh is still in obscurity. However, the discovery of remarkable Buddhist statues from Boudh led some scholars to believe that Boudh was an important Buddhist centre of Orissa. From the epigraphic records it is known that in the middle of Eighth Century A.D., Boudh region was under the occupation of the Bhanja rulers and was a part of Khinjali Mandala. The earliest known ruler of this Bhanja family was Nettabhanja who was ruling over the Dhenkanal region as independent ruler, but his successor migrated towards Boudh-Sonepur region and established Khinjali Mandala and ruled there as the feudatory of the Bhauma Karas of Tosali. The Sonepur Copper Plate of Satrubhanja Dev, son of Silabhanja mentions the name Khinjali Mandala for the first time and on this basis it is believed that Silabhanja Dev was the founder of Bhanja Kula of Khinjali Mandala. Their capital was Dhirtipura, which has been identified with Boudh town. Satrubhanja Dev – II, a ruler of this family was defeated and killed by the Somavansi ruler of South Kosala, Janmeyjaya – I. The Bhanja’s were driven out from the Boudh region which was renamed as Odra Desa. Yayati – I, the son and successor of Janmejaya – I established his capital in Odradesa at Yayatinagara, which has been identified with modern Jagati in Boudh District. The Somavansi then occupied and migrated towards Utkala leaving their original home land South-Kosala in charge of viceroys. In course of time Kosala was lost to them and was occupied by the Telugu-Chodas and the Kalachuris. The imperial Gangas of Kalinga, after their occupation of Utkala, entered into a protracted struggle with the Kalachuris for one hundred years for the occupation of Kosala region. It is evident from the Chatesvar Inscription ( 1220 AD) that the struggle finally ended in favour of the Gangas during the region of Anangabhima Deva – III and there after Boudh along with Sonepur came under the Ganga Rule and was administered by the Ganga Administrators. In course of time, the Ganga Administrators became semi-independent and ruled over this territory hereditarily. So far tradition goes, there emerged a Brahmin ruling family in Boudh . Gandhamardan Dev, the last Brahmin ruler of this family, being childless adopted one Ananga Bhanja of Keonjhar Bhanja royal family. He succeeded Gandharmardhan Dev and laid the foundation of the rule of the Bhanjas in Boudh in the first half of fourteenth century AD. He changed his surname from Bhanja to Dev and was known as Ananga Dev. Since then, the new line of kings continued to rule over this region till the merger of Boudh State with the Orissa province in 1948. Their kingdom comprised of modern Athmallik, Boudh and Sonepur regions with its capital headquarters at Swarnapura ( Sonepur). But later on due to the expansionist policy followed by the Chouhan rulers of Patna ( Patnagarh in Bolangir District ) they shifted their capital to Boudh.
In the first half of seventeenth century AD, Boudh was a very powerful kingdom and Sonepur remained under its direct administration. During this period the Chouhan rulers of Sambalpur had already established their supremacy over almost entire Western Orissa. Balabhadradeva ( 1605-1630 AD), the Chouhan ruler of Sambalpur defeated Siddhabhanja Dev (Siddheswar Dev) of Boudh and forced him cede the Sonepur region which was made a separate state by the Chouhans in 1640 AD.
In the mean time Orissa was occupied by the Muslims and though nothing details is known about the relationship between the rulers of Boudh and the Muslim subedars in Cuttack yet it is believed that Boudh maintained a friendly relation with the muslims and probably for this, Raja Pratap Dev of Boudh, had secured from him from the Muslim powers, the title “Swasti Sri Dhirlakhya Dhumbadhipati Jahrkhand Mandaleswar” which was used by the rulers of Boudh till the time of Raja Banamali Deb.
But the Maratha contact with the Boudh State was felt more during the Maratha rule in Orissa than under the Muslim rule. As the vital line of Communication between Nagpur and Cuttack, passes through the Boudh state, it drew special attention from the Maratha governors at Cuttack. The Raja of Boudh was paying tribute to the Maratha and maintained a cordial relation with them. But in 1800 AD this relationship became stained. The Maratha attacked Boudh and defeated Raja Biswambara Dev. However, he was allowed to rule as a feudatory Raja of Nagpur by Paying regular tribute.
During the early year of the region of Raja Biswamabara Dev ( 1778-1817) the Panchara Pragana lying between Baghanadi and Meheruni jore was separated from the Boudh State. It is said that in 1780-81 Raja of Boudh had obtained a loan from the Raja of Sonepur and for the liquidation of the debt he had ceded the above pragana to Sonepur. It is also said that the above said pragana was given to the Raja of Sonepur for rendering military help to Boudh in time of trouble and in lieu there of to enjoy revenue rights of the pragana. But when the Sonepur Raja occupied it permanently a dispute arose for the possession of this tract, which was settled by the Superintendent of Tributary Mahals in favour of Sonepur.
During the region of Sidhabhanja Dev ( Siddheswar Dev) Sonepur region was conquered from Boudh by the Chouhan ruler of Sambalpur. But the process of the vivisection of territories of the Boudh state had started earlier. In 1498-99 AD, the then Raja of Boudh state had made a gift of Dasapalla territory extending from Kamaimuhan near Kantilo to Udandi muhan in the east to his younger brother Narayan Dev, who asserted his independence and made Dasapalla a separate state. Again the strip of territory lying between the Kharang river on the west of Boudh and Amaimuhan was given by Raja Madan Mohan Dev in 1599-1600 AD as dowry to his daughters who married in the Chouhan royal family of Patna State. However, Athmallik and Khondhmal remained as a part of Boudh state for sometime.
After the British conquest of Orissa in 1803 AD, Raja Biswambar Dev of Boudh submitted to the British and entered into a treaty agreement with the East India Company on the 3rd March, 1804.
After the third Anglo Martha War, British Government permanently occupied Boudh from the Marthas and included this state in the South West Frontier Agency till 1837, when it was brought under the superintendent of Tributary Mahals, Cuttack.
In 1817 AD, Raja Biswambar Dev died and was succeeded by his Son Chandra Sekhar Dev. In 1821, he received a fresh “Sanand” from the British Government fixing the annual tribute of Boudh at Rs. 800/-. After his death his son Pitambara Dev ascended the throne in 1839 AD. During his reign, on 15th February 1855 AD, Khondmal was separated from the Boudh state and was annexed with the British territory. Raja Pitambar Dev remained loyal to the British Government and cooperated with the British Agency in suppressing human sacrifice and Khondh rebellion in Ghumsur and Khondhmal. Chakra Bisoi, who remained in Boudh State since 1855 and organized the Khondhas, was ultimately driven out of the state and peace and order was restored. The British Government recognized his title Raja, by a separate Sanand granted to him in 1875 AD.
The Athmallik state was a part of Boudh state and the chief of Boudh was the Raja of Boudh and Athmallik. The Chief of Athmallik was called a Zamidar and was addressed as a Samanta. In 1875, the Chief of Athmallik was officially recognized as a Raja and Athamallik became a separate state in 1894 AD.
Raja Pitambar Dev died in 1880 and was succeeded by his son Jogindra Dev. He was a benevolent and generous ruler and introduced English education for the first time in the state. At the time of his death in 1913, his eldest son Narayan Dev was a minor and hence the administration of the state was managed by the Court of Wards and the Dewan. His formal coronation took place on 31st March, 1925. From his reign, the power and function of the ruler was reduced to a considerable extent and for all practical purposes, it appears that the state was under the grip of the political agent, Raja Narayan Dev successfully suppressed a political agitation organized in Boudh in 1930-31 and adopted stern measures against the Prajamandal Movement in 1945. He had also developed the Jagti village ( Yayatinagar, the Somavamsi Capital) and renamed it Narayan Nagar. He was the last ruler of the Boudh State and on 1st January 1948, the state merged with the Orissa province.
Since then Boudh was a sub-division of the newly created District of Boudh-Kondhamals. But it is raised to the status of a District Headquarters of Orissa since 2nd January, 1994.