The history of Dewas district is primarily the history of the twin treaty States of the Senior and Junior Branch and that of the other main component units viz. Kannod and Khategaon tahsils of former Holkar State. The founder of the Senior Branch of Dewas was TukojiRao(I), as descendant of the old dynasty of Paramars. He died in 1753 and was succeeded by his adopted son Krishnaji Rao who fought the disastrous battle of Panipat in 1761, and was followed in 1789 by his adopted son TukojiRao (II).
India, in the Malwa Political Charge of Central India, founded in the first half of the 18th century by two brothers, Punwar Mahrattas, who came into Malwa with the peshwa, Baji Rao, in 1728 . Their descendants are known as the senior and junior branches of the family, and since 1841 each has ruled his own portion as a separate state, though the lands belonging to each are so intimately entangled, that even in Dewas, the capital town, the two sides of the main street are under different administrations and have different arrangements for water supply and lighting . The senior branch has an area of 446 sq. m. and a population of 62,312, while the area of the junior branch is 440 sq. m. and its population 54,904.
The fortunes of both the branches fell very low at this time owing to the depredations of the Pindaris, Sindhia and Holkar, Krishnaji Rao II, who succeeded Rukmangad Rao in 1860 by adoption was a bad administrator and plunged the State in debt, necessitating its being places under superintendence. He was succeeded by Tukoji Rao III who was adopted from another Branch of the family. He was educated at Daly College, Indore Mayo College, Ajmer. The ruler held the title of His Highness and Raja and received a salute of 15 guns.
Dewas was formerly the capital of not one but two princely states of British India. The original state was founded in the first half of the 18th century by the brothers Tukaji Rao (senior) and Jivaji Rao (junior), from the Pawar clan of Marathas, who advanced into Malwa with the Maratha Peshwa, Baji Rao, in 1728. The brothers divided the territory among themselves; their descendants ruled as the senior and junior branches of the family. After 1841, each branch ruled his own portion as a separate state, though the lands belonging to each were so intimately entangled, that even in Dewas, the capital town, the two sides of the main street were under different administrations and had different arrangements for water supply and lighting. The senior branch had an area of 446 sq. mi. and a population of in 62,312 in 1901, while the area of the junior branch was 440 sq. mi. and had a population of 54,904 in 1901. Both Dewas states were in the Malwa Agency of the Central India Agency. After India's independence in 1947, the Rajas of Dewas acceded to India, and their states were integrated into Madhya Bharat, which became a state of India in 1950. In 1956, Madhya Bharat was merged into Madhya Pradesh state.
Dewas is said to have played an important role in the war of independence of 1857 Thakur Dowlat Singh of Raghogadh (Dewas) faced the British with super courage. He was trapped, arrested and hanged in Guna Cantt. Both these States were merged in to Madhya Bharat in 1948.
The other important constituent of the district is Nemawar consisting of Kannod and Khategaon tahsils of the former Holkar State. In puranic literature Nemawar is spoken of as Nabhapur* and the hillock nearby now called "Gwal Tekri" is mentioned there in as Mani Gir. During Akbar's time this tract was included under the name Nemawar Panch Mahal in sarkar Handia of the subah of Malwa and comprised the five paraganas of Nemawar, Satwas, Rajor, Kataphor and Harangaon, the first three being the headquarters of Mahals. This area passed over to the peshwas between 1740-45 divided between Sindhia and Holkar, the former acquiring Satwas and the latter Kataphor, Pindaris had also a hold on this territory near about 1806. In 1904 Harangaon was merged in to Nemawar and Satwas with Kataphor. In 1908 Nemawar was renamed Khategaon and Rajor named Kannod. Kataphor was then merged with Kannod and remained only the seat of Naib-Tahsildar. Sonkatch was a part of Ujjain District and Nimanpur belonged to Dhar State before their merger with the newly formed district after the formation of Madhya Bharat in 1948. The district was divided into five tahsils as and notified in the Madhya Bharat Gazette of the 5th February 1949.
Shrimati Maharaj Kumari Shalini Raje of the princely state Dewas Senior (central India), poses for the Times of India photographer, in New Delhi on March 25, 1925.
Dewas tahsil consisted of the home blocks of Dewas senior and Dewas Junior excluding Khankhera and Umsod villages of the former and villages Goyta, Tanda and Gujarbardia of the latter, with were joined with Shajapur tahsil. Sonkatch tahsil consisted of all the villages of the Sonkatch pargana excluding 200 villages included in Bagli Tahsil and 26 villages joined with Shajapur. Bagli tahsil was formed with the merger of 200 villages of Sonkatch pargana and two villages (Shivpur Mandia and Borkheda Purbya) of Dewas senior with the Nimanpur pargana of the erstwhile Dhar State. There was no change whatsoever in Kannod and Khategaon Tahsils of Nemawar district of former Holkar State.