It is believed that Jabalpur is the tapasya bhumi of a mythological figure known as sage Jabali, from whom the name Jabalpur is derived. Ashokan relics have been found. Later on it was the capital of the famous Tripuri kingdom in the 9th & 10th centuries. In AD 875, it was taken over by the Kalachuri dynasty who made Jabalpur their capital. In the 13th century, the Gonds seized it and made it their capital. Inscriptions record the existence during the 11th and 12th centuries of a local line of princes of the Haihai people who are closely connected with the history of Gondwana.In the 16th century the Gond raja of Garha-Mandla extended his power over fifty-two districts, including the present Jabalpur. During the minority of his grandson, Asaf Khan, the viceroy of Kara Manikpur, conquered the Garha principality and held it at first as an independent chief. Eventually he submitted to the Mughal emperor Akbar. From time to time, the Mughal rulers tried to overrun it. The legendary Gond Queen Rani Durgavati also died fighting the Mughal forces led by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar.
The Mughal Empire, however, enjoyed little more than a nominal supremacy; and the princes of Garha-Mandla maintained a practical independence until their subjugation by the Maratha governors of Sagar in 1781. In 1798 the Maratha Peshwa granted the Narmada valley to the Bhonsle princes of Nagpur, who continued to hold the district until the British occupied it in 1818 after defeating the Marathas. The British made Jabalpur the commission headquarters of the Narmada territories and established a Cantonment here.Under the British Raj, Jabalpur became the capital of the Saugor and Nerbudda Territories, which was part of the British North-Western Province. At that time it became infamous for the Thuggee murders, but made more famous by the man who suppressed thugee, Col. Sleeman, who was also appointed commissioner at Jabalpur. The Saugor and Nerbudda Territories became part of the new Central Provinces in 1861 which in 1903 became the Central Provinces and Berar. By the early 20th Century Jabalpur was the headquarters of a brigade in the 5th division of the Southern Army.
An important landmark event was the holding of the Tripuri Congress session in 1939 that was presided over by Subhash Chandra Bose. Politically under Lokmanya Tilak's direction Jhanda Satyagraha was launched with success (who visited 3 times) Mahatma Gandhi visited 4 times and famous Congress session was held at Tripuri (Jabalpur) in 1939 when Subhash Chandra Bose was elected the Congress President against the wishes of Mahatma Gandhi. Methodology of two thoughts to achieve freedom was formulated in the session. A memorial Kamania gate was erected in city.
After India's independence in 1947, the Central Provinces and Berar became the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.