Historically, the name of the city ‘Shimoga’ is derived either from the term shivmoga meaning Face of Shiva or Shiva-Mukha Face of Shiva, Shivana-Moogu Nose of Shiva or Shivana-Mogge Flowers to be offered to Shiva. It was ruled over by the Kadambas in 4th century, Chalukyas in 6th century and Gangas, Rashtrakutas in 8th century, Hoysalas 11th century, and the Vijayanagara rulers 15th century. The city got an independent identity under the Keladi Nayaka rule during the 16th century. In the year 1763 Haider Ali captured the capital of Keladi Nayakas and consequently the district came into the rule of the Kingdom of Mysore and remained a part of it till India acquired independence from the British. On 1st November, 2014, Shimoga is renamed "Shivamogga" by the Government of Karnataka.
The district also has various famous personalities from different fields. Udupi Rajagopalacharya Ananthamurthywas (1932-2014) was a contemporary writer and critic of the Kannada language and the pioneers of the Navya movement. He is honored with the Jnanpith Award. In 1998, he received the Padma Bhushan award. He became the vice-chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University in Kerala during the late 1980s. Bhavana is a Kannada film and a Bharatanatyam dancer. She has received three Karnataka State Film Awards. She has acted in film Shanti that entered the Guinness Book of Records.
Geographically, the district has total 8,478 sq. km. area and occupies the ranks 6th in State and 84th in India. It lies at 13°93'N latitude, 75°57'E longitude and 569 m altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 50.37% forest area of total geographical area. It is bounded by Haveri District, Davanagere District, Chikmagalur District, Udupi District and Uttara Kannada. Rivers Kali, Gangavati, Sharavati, Tadadi, Tunga and Bhadra passes through the district. Mainly red gravelly clay soil; red clay soil; lateritic gravelly clay soil; lateritic clay soil; medium deep black soil; non-saline and saline alluvo-colluvial soil; brown forest soil soils are found in the district. Limestone, white quartz, kaolin, cyanide, manganese, etc. minerals are available here. The climate of the district remains pleasant almost throughout the year. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1861.4 mm in the year of 2018-19.
Administrative wise, the district is divided into 7 sub-districts namely Bhadravati, Sagar, Shikaripur, Shimoga, Shimoga rural, Sorab and Thirthahalli. Moreover, it has 9 towns and 1,444 villages. Kannada is its administrative language. The district of Shimoga came into existence on 1st November, 1956 in the state of Karnataka with an allotted district code of 568. Shimoga is its district Headquarters which is located at a distance of 302 km. from the State Capital.
Demographically, according to 2011 census, the district has a total number of 4,02,139 households with a total population of 17,52,753 out of which 8,77,415 are males and 8,75,338 are females. The density of population of the district is 207 persons per sq. km. The sex ratio is pegged at 998 (females per 1000 males) while the child ratio stands at 960 (females per 1000 males). As per 2011 census the percentage of major religions practiced by the people of this region is Hindu at 84.41% and Muslim at 13.39%. The population growth rate during the period 2001-2011 was 6.71% out of which 5.64% were males and 7.8% were females. According to 2011 census, the percentage of principal languages spoken in the region is Kannada at 70.20% and Urdu at 12.71%. In the year 2017 the number of live births in the district was 31,765 including 16,419 were males and 15,346 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 14,373 including 8,538 were males and 5,835 were females.
Economically, agriculture is the backbone of the district. The district has plain land which is suitable for agriculture. Rice, cotton, maize, oil seeds, cashew nut, pepper, chili, ginger, paddy and ragi are the crops which are cultivated in this district. It is also largest producer of areca nut in Karnataka. The main industries in the district are Foundry and animal husbandry, iron, agriculture, automobiles and engineering. The Gross District Domestic Product during the period 2016-17 was Rs. 31,97,930 lakh at current price and Rs. 24,15,519 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Net District Domestic Product during the period 2016-17 was Rs. 29,37,129 lakh at current price and Rs. 21,96,022 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, at factor cost during the period 2016-17 was Rs. 1,57,749 at current price and Rs. 1,17,945 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
Education wise, according to 2011 census, the literacy rate in the district is 80.45% out of which 86.07% are males and 74.84% are females. The total literate population of the district is 12,63,016 out of which 6,74,938 are males and 5,88,078 are females. National education society in the district has various educational institutions including CBSE schools, pre-university and first grade colleges such as Jnanadeepa school, National Residential school and Thirthalli. Hongirana School, Sahyadri science college (established in the year 1940), Jawaharlal Nehru national college of engineering and P.E.S Institute of Technology and Management (established in the year 1980), Shimoga Institute of Medical Sciences (established in the year 2005). There are many polytechnics namely Bhadravathi, Government women's Polytechnic-Gopala, Sahyadri Polytechnic, Sanjay Memorial Polytechnic-Sagara, D.V.S Polytechnic. The Kuvempu University provides various courses in Languages, Literature and Fine Arts, Social Sciences, Economic and Business studies, Physical Sciences, Chemical sciences, Bio Sciences, Earth and Environmental Science, Law, Education, M. Tech in Nanoscience and Technology.
The district has various famous political personalities. Jayadevappa Halappa Patel (1930-2000) was the 15th Chief Minister of Karnataka from 1996 to 1999. S.V Krishnamoorthy Rao (1902-1968) was an Indian Politician who belonged to the Indian National Congress. He was the Deputy Chairman a member of Rajya Sabha from 1952 to 1962 and of the Rajya Sabha. He was elected for Lok Sabha from the Shimoga in 1962. He served as Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha from 1962 to 1967.
The district has numerous historical and religious places to visit. These places are Agumbe, Honnemardu, Jog Falls, Kodachaadri, Shimoga, Trekking Narasimha Parvata and Sunset Point Rafting and Kayaking, Jog Falls, Gademane, Jog Roarer, Jog Raja, Linganmakki Dam Kodachadri Hills, Hidlumane Water Falls, Trekking, Tunga Bridge, Shivappanaika Palace, Kuvempu Rangamandir and Ambedkar Bhavan. During the year 2016, there were 4,239 foreign tourists and 19,48,232 domestic tourists who visited the above places of the district.