According to the historical records like Imperial Gazetteer of India, Vol 8, 1908, the district is named after a fisherwoman “Bilasa” in the 17th century. It is also believed that for a long period it consisted only of a few fishermen's huts. At the very beginning Bilaspur was occupied by the Kalachuri dynasty of Ratanpur. But the region came into limelight around 1741 during the period of the Maratha rule. In the year 1818 after Bhosale defeated in Third Anglo-Maratha War, the management of Bilaspur district went into the hands of the British East India Company. In 1853, it was completely captured by British after the death of Raghuji III. In 1861, Bilaspur came into existence as a separate district. It became the part of Chhattisgarh in year 1903. The original Bilaspur district was divided into 3 smaller districts on 25th May, 1998 named as the present Bilaspur, Korba and Janjgir-Champa. Furthermore, the district of Bilaspur is famous throughout the country for its unique quality of rice, Kosa industry and its cultural background. Bilaspur district has a major contribution in the naming “Dhan Ka Katora” for the entire region of Chhattisgarh.
There are a number of famous persons from different fields who belong to the district. Leslie Walter Claudius, an eminent Indian field hockey player was born on 25th March, 1927 at Bilaspur. He became captain of the Indian team for the first team in the year 1959. His name is mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most number of Olympic medalists in the field of hockey. He was awarded with the Padma Shri in 1971.
Geographically, the district has a total 8,272 sq km. area and occupies the ranks 7th in State and 101st in India on the bases of this size. It lies at 22°08'N latitude, 82°14'E longitude and 264 m altitude. In the year 2021, the district had total 29.75% forest area of total geographical area. It is surrounded by Koria on the North, Anuppur district and Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh state on the West, Kawardha on the South-West, Durg and Raipur on the South and Korba and Janjgir-Champa on the East. The climate of the district remains pleasant and mild in the winter whereas medium rains in the monsoon season. On the other hand its summers are very hot and dry. The actual rainfall in the district was 1418.8 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administrative wise, the district is divided into 11 sub-districts, 20 towns and 1,599 villages. Hindi is its official language. The district of Bilaspur came into existence in the year 1861. Its district headquarter is located at Bilaspur, situated at a distance of 113 km. from the State Capital.
Demographically, according to the 2011 census, The district has a total number of 6,15,895 households with a total of 26,63,629 comprising 13,51,574 are males and 13,12,055 are females. The density of population of the district is 322 (persons per sq km.). The sex ratio is pegged at 971 (females per 1000 males) while the child ratio stands at 961 (females per 1000 males). As per 2011 census the percentage of major religions practiced by the people of this region is Hindu with 95.39% of the total population. The population growth rate during the period 2001-2011 was 33.29% including 33.31% were males and 33.27% were females. According to the census 2011, the percentage of the principal language of the region is Hindi with 96.53%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 41,929 out of which 21,811 were males and 20,110 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 16,461 out of which 9,906 were males and 6,554 were females.
Economically, agriculture is the base of the district. It is the headquarters of South Eastern Coalfields Ltd and Regional Headquarters of Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board. It is home of the largest number of cement factories. It has become a commercial hub. It is five time awardees for the most profitable railway zone. The economy of the district is being improving day by day because of its well connectivity with other state and districts by rail and road transport. The GDDP or Gross District Domestic Product during the period 2006-07 was Rs. 5,60,511 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 3,90,243 lakh at Constant Prices during the period 1999-2000. The NDDP, or Net District Domestic Product during the period 2006-07 was Rs. 5,03,341 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 3,48,923 lakh at Constant Prices during the period 1999-2000. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, at factor cost during the period 2006-07 was Rs. 22,686 at Current Price and Rs. 22,188 at Constant prices during the period 1999-2000.
Education wise, as per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 70.78% including 81.54% are males and 59.71% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 15,96,560 including 9,32,474 are males and 6,64,086 are females. There are several primary, secondary and higher secondary schools as well as graduation colleges. Education in the district has much improved in the past decade. The name of the several schools of the international standard is D.A.V PUBLIC School, DPS, St. Xaviers, Maharishi Vidya Mandir, Jain International School, etc.
The district has several famous personalities who belong to the politics. Ajit Pramod Kumar Jogi, the first chief minister of the state of Chhattisgarh and a member of the Indian National Congress (INC) political party was born on 29th April, 1946. He was served as the member of the Rajya Sabha twice i.e. in 1986 and 1998 respectively. In 1998, he was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) to the 12th and 14th Lok Sabha. He represented the Marwahi constituency in 2008 as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Chhattisgarh. Moonje was born in (12th December, 1872-3rd March, 1948) was born in Bilaspur. He was an Indian freedom fighter, a leader of the Hindu Mahasabha and a strong supporter of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Ingrid Mcleod belongs to the Indian National Congress. She is a nominated Lok Sabha member representing India's Anglo-Indian community.
The district has a number of famous historical and religious places to visit. These places are Ratanpur, Mallhar, Talagram, Kuthaghat, Belpan and Kabir Chobutara. During the year 2018 there were 11 foreign tourists from abroad and 38,84,881 domestic tourists who visit the above places. The district is also famous for various cultural and social events.