Dibrugarh district was a renowned encampment of Ahoms during Ahom Sutiya War and earlier it was popularly known as “Dibrumukh”. The name of the district is derived from the two words “dibru” and “garh”. The word “dibru” which is either evolved from the Dibaru river of Assam or from the Dimasa (a tribal dialect) word “dibru” which means a "blister" and "garh" means "fort". Both the “dibru” and “dibaru” are Dimasa words. During the British rule in the district, they built a fort on the bank of the river “Dibaru”. So, the natives believe that this might be the reason after the name "Dibrugarh". The British came to Assam in the year 1826, by following the Yandaboo Accord. At that time they made Dibrugarh as their administrative and commercial center in the Upper Assam by making it, a hub of the activity in this region of north-eastern India. In the year 1842, the Britishers declared Dibrugarh as the headquarters of Lakhimpur district. During the period of World War II, the town of Dibrugarh was the principal military base and was used as a transit camp for the evacuees from Burma. In 1971 the Dibrugarh Sub-Division itself became a full-fledged district. But in 1976 Dibrugarh was split from Lakhimpur and became a separate district. Later, the Tinsukia sub-division separated as a district in 1989 from the Dibrugarh district. Today, Dibrugarh is a separate district with its administrative headquarters located at Dibrugarh town.
Arun Barua, a prominent contemporary writer of Assam was born on 3rd November, 1931 in Dibrugarh. In 2010 he was awarded the Padma Shri Award for his contribution to Assamese literature. In 1998 he was also awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for the novel “Ashirbadar Rong” (The Hues of Blessing). Moloiya Goswami from Dibrugarh is a popular Assamese actress. She was the first Assamese actress who won the National Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in the Assamese film “Firingoti”.
Geographically, the district lies at 27047'N latitude, 94091'E longitude and 118 m Altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 22.34% forest area of total geographical area. The district occupies an area of 3,381 sq km. and it is bounded by Dhemaji district on the north, Tinsukia district on the east, Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh on the south-east and Sivasagar district on the north and south-west. The Burhi Dihing, a major tributary of the Brahmaputra with its group of tributaries and wetlands flows through the district from east to west. The climate of the district can be characterized as humid subtropical climate with extremely wet summers and comparatively dry winters. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 2053.4 mm in the year of 2018-19.
Administrative wise, the district is divided into 4 catagories-1361 villages, 7 blocks, 93 Gaon Panchayats and 1 Zilla Parishad. Moreover, in order to administer the district in a better way it is divided into 21 tehsils. The administrative languages in the district are Assamese and English.
According to 2011 census, the district has a population of 13,26,335 including 6,76,434 are males and 6,49,901 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 961 (females for every 1000 males) and child ratio of 962 (females per 1000 males). Its population growth rate during the year 2001 - 2011 was 11.92% out of which 10.25% were males and 13.72% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 90.35% of its total population. The population density in the district is 392 (persons per sq. km.). According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Assamese with 76.01%. In the year 2017 the number of live births in the district was 26,640 out of which 13,853 were males and 12,787 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 8,556 out of which 4,461 were males and 4,095 were females.
The major chunks of revenue in the district come from tea cultivation and oil companies like ONGC and Oil India limited. Most of the population of the district earn their livelihood by farming rice, sugarcane and pulses. There are also some coal mining and petroleum production industries. In the year 2009-2010, the gross domestic product of the district was Rs. 6,51,442 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 5,03,498 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 2004-2005. The Net Domestic Product in the district during the period 2007-08 was Rs. 4,47,547 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 2,83,932 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 1999-2000. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during the period 2007-08 was Rs. 34,274 at Current Price and Rs. 21,744 at Constant Prices in the year 1999-2000.
The Dibrugarh University is the easternmost University of India was established in 1965. A new Engineering and Technology Institution (DUIET), has been set up under the Dibrugarh University to promote engineering and technology. Dibrugarh Polytechnic is also one of the famous polytechnic of the district. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 76.05% out of which 82.82% are males and 68.99% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 8,84,531 including 4,91,361 are males and 3,93,170 are females. The total number of illiterates in the district is 4,41,804 including 1,85,073 are males and 2,56,731 are females.
Sarbananda Sonwal, a popular politician of Assam, was born in the year 1962 at Dijan in the district. At present he is a member of the 16th Lok Sabha and his portfolio is Union Minister of State-Independent Charge for Sports & Youth Affairs from BJP, Lakhimpur Constituency of Assam. He is a member of Bharatiya Janata Party. Kirip Chaliha, another veteran politician of Assam was born on 1st November, 1955 at Dibrugarh town. He is a member of Indian National Congress. He was a member of 14th Lok Sabha (2004-2009) of India in which he represented the Guwahati constituency of Assam.
Every year Dibrugarh and its nearby places catch the fancy of a large number of travellers. The district is full of tea estates, wild life sanctuaries, Satras (Satras means Monasteries in Assamese) and Maidams (Maidam means graveyard of Ahom kings in Assamese). Dibrugarh’s tea estates are famous for the finest Assam tea. The well known wild life sanctuaries and rain forests of the district are Jokai Botanical Garden cum Germplasm Center, Dibru - Saikhowa National Park, Jeypore Rainforest and Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuaries. The satras of the district represents the Vaishnavite Culture and helps to unite the natives of Assam. Among the Satras of the district some prominent Satras are Dehing Namti Satra, Dinjoy Satra, Moderkhat Satra, Garpara Satra and Dehing Satra. Maidams of the district also allures the tourists from different parts of the world. Barbarua Maidam, Sarumechlow and Bormechow Maidam, Lekai Chetia Maidam and Bahikhowa Maidam are the foremost of all Maidams of the district.