The first well known dynasty from the place of Uttar Kannada was Chutus of Banavasi. Uttara Kannada was under the Kadamba kingdom from the period 350 to 525. Moreover, they ruled from Banavasi. Historically, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagar Empire have over ruled the Uttara Kannada. In 1750s, the district was under the rule of Maratha Empire. Initilally, it was part of Kanara district in Madras Presidency which was divided into North and South Kanara districts in 1859. In 1862, Uttara Kannada was transferred to Bombay Presidency by Britain. After India got its independence in the year 1947, Bombay Presidency was reconstituted as Bombay State. In 1956 the southern part of the Bombay State was added to the Mysore State, which was renamed as Karnataka in the year 1972. Uttara Kannada was an ancient site of sea trade visited by the Arabs, Dutch, Portuguese, French and later the British.
Pandari Bai (18th September, 1928-29th January, 2003) is considered as the first heroine of Kannada cinema. She did films mostly in Kannada and Tamil during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Gangadhar V. Chittal (1923-1987) was a several administrative positions holder and a recipient of Karnataka Sahitya Academy award.
Geographically, the district has total 10,277 sq. km. area and occupies the ranks 5th in State and 64th in India. It lies at 14°71'N latitude, 74°78'E longitude and 564 m altitude. It is bordered by the state of Goa and Belgaum District on the North, Dharwad District and Haveri District on the East, Shimoga District and Udupi District on the South and the Arabian Sea on the West. The district has Western Ghats or Sahyadri range, from North to South of the district. There is also a narrow coastal strip between the Sahyadris and the sea which is known as the Payanghat. The district has five major rivers Aghanashini, Sharavati, Gangawali, Kali and Venkata with a number of waterfalls. These rivers run from North to South. Jog fall is the most famous water fall of the district. The district enjoys heavy rainfall. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. According to year 2021, there was a total 79.12% forest area of total Geographical Area. The North Western Ghats are moist deciduous forests and cover the Sahyadris. The district also has patches of savanna, degraded scrub jungles, Mangrove forests and rocky beaches. The actual rainfall in the district was 3405.2 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administrative wise, the district is divided into 11 sub-districts. Moreover, it has 18 towns and 1,243 villages. The district of Uttara Kannada came into existence on the 1st November, 1956, in the state of Karnataka with an allotted district code of 563. Karwar is its district Headquarter which is located at a distance of 524 km. from the State Capital. The administrative language in the district is Kannada.
Demographically, according to 2011 census, the district has a total number of 3,19,912 households with a total population of 14,37,169 out of which 7,26,256 were males and 7,10,913 were females. The density of population of the district is 140 persons per sq km. The sex ratio is pegged at 979 (females per 1000 males) while the child ratio stands at 955 (females per 1000 males). As per 2011 census the percentage of major religions practiced by the people of this region is Hindu at 82.61% and Muslim at 13.08%. The population growth rate during the period 2001 to 2011 was 6.17% including 5.73% were males and 6.62% were females. According to the 2011 census, the percentage of other principal languages spoken in the region is Kannada at 55.36%, Konkani at 18.22%, Urdu at 11.83% and Marathi at 9.52%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 20,883 out of which 10,799 were males and 10,084 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 11,715 out of which 6,886 were males and 4,829 were females.
Economically, the district is dependent on the agriculture on the prime base. Small-scale industries in Uttara Kannada are related to roofing tiles, coir products, jewelry, food products, wood and steel furniture, glass, ceramics and seafood. Some of these Small Scale industries are also helping hand for large and medium scale industries. There are eight large and medium scale industries which produce a variety of products like paper, duplex board, caustic soda, Ferro alloys, transmission gears, food concentrate, herbal medicines and pharmaceuticals etc. In the year 2019-20 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 28,93,321 lakhs at current price and Rs. 20,20,751 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 25,67,948 lakh at current price and Rs. 17,58,629 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 1,65,142 at current price and Rs. 1,13,096 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
Education wise, according to 2011 census, the district the literacy rate is 84.06% including 89.63% are males and 78.39% are females. The total literate population of the district is 10,81,906 out of which 5,82,099 are males and 4,99,807 are females. Shri Keshav Gajanan Sabnis (K.G.S) Arts and Science College by Academy of General Education (A.G.E) was started in June 1961. It was second college in the district. Girijabai Sail Institute of Technology (GSIT), an engineering college provides different courses such as B.E in Mechanical Engineering, B.E in Computer Science and Engineering, B.E in Civil and MBA. Government High School, Karwar is the oldest high school in the Uttar Kannaad district of India, established in 1864. The district has numerous educational institutes namely Anjuman Institute of Technology and Management, Arts and Science College, Honnavar, INS Chapal (K94), Dr. A. V. Baliga College, Kumta, Gokhale Centenary College, Government Engineering College, Karwar, Govt polytechnic karwar, Jamia Islamia Bhatkal and MES's M. M. College of Arts and Science, Sirsi etc. the name of some famous schools in the district are Hindu High School, Karwar, Jai Hind High school (Edwards), Anko, Atomic Energy Central School and Bhadrakali High School, etc.
The district has many famous political personalities. Sir Narayan Ganesh Chandavarkar (2nd December, 1855-14th May, 1923) was an early Indian National Congress politician and early Hindu reformer of Western India. Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri (born 10th July, 1961 Sirsi, Karnataka) belong to Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka. He is five time MLA. Now, he is the Minister for Primary and Secondary Education in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government of Karnataka. He represented the Ankola Vidhan Sabha constituency from 1994-99, 1999-04 and 2004-2007.
During the year 2016, there were 9,687 foreign tourists and 53,04,209 domestic tourists who visited famous places of the district. These places are Dandeli, Devbagh, Gokarna, Karwar, Murudeshwar, Siddapur, Uttara Kannada, Yana, Kulgi Nature Camp, Kavala Caves, Shiroli Peak, Karwar Beach, Light House, Narasimha Temple, Gokarna Beach, Half Moon Beach, Kudle Beach, Rabindranath Tagore Beach, Devbagh Beach, Casurina Beach, Netrani Island, Pigeon Island, Murudeshwar Beach, Statue Park, Trekking, Illimane Falls, Burude Falls, Waatehalla Falls, Jog Falls, Unchalli Falls, Magod Falls, Chandika Statue, Durgadevi, SwayambhuLinga and Vibhuti Falls.