The whole District of Keonjhar was a princely state before its merger with Odisha. From the history it reveals that a part of the old Khijjinga territory with headquarters at Khijjinga Kota, identified with modern Khiching. It became a separate state with Jyoti Bhanja as its ruling chief sometime during the first half of the 12th century A.D.
The then State of Keonjhar comprised only the northern half of the modern District for a long time prior to the installation of Jyoti Bhanja as King. During the latter part of the 15th century the southern half of the District was occupied by King Govinda Bhanja under whose rule Keonjhar was extended from Singbhum in the north to Sukinda in the South and from Mayurbhanj in the East to the borders of the States of Bonai, Pallahara and Anugul in the West.
During the rule of Pratap Balabhadra Bhanja (1764–1792 A.D.) two small areas of Tillo and Jujhpada were purchased from the Zamindar of Kantajhari and were added to the District. These were recognised as parts of Keonjhar in the Sanad granted by the East India Company to Raja Janardan Bhanj in 1804. Since then there had been no territiorial changes of the District till its merger with the Province of Odisha. But after merger largely for the reasons of administrative expediency the areas of Tillo (7.51 sq.km) and Jujhpada (9.06sq.km.) were transferred to the Districts of Balasore and Cuttack respectively, while a number of villages called Ambo group (14.84 sq.km.) of Balasore District were added to Keonjhar District.