The history of Darbhanga dates back to the Ramayana and Mahabharata periods. According to the Vedic sources, the Videhas of Aryan stock first migrated to the area from the banks of Saraswati in Punjab. They were guided to the east of Sadanira (Gandak river) by Agni, the God of Fire. Settlements were established and, thus, flourished the kingdom of Videhas-the Selfless. In course of time Videhas came to be ruled by a line of kings called Janaks. In this line of kings there was a very famous king named Mithi. To commemorate his greatness the territory was named as MITHILA. Another famous king was Janak Sirdhwaja, father of Sita. The legends speak of various learned men patronized by Janak Sirdhwaja, who himself was an erudite scholar. Among them prominent were Yagyavalkya, who codified the Hindu law in his Yagyavalkya Smriti and Gautam, who had various valuable philosophical treatises to his credit. King Janak was himself a great philosopher and his ideas have been eternally enshrined in the Upanishads.
Traditions also speak of Kapil Muni's relationship with this area that propounded the Sankhya philosophy. Association of this area with Pandavas is also evident by the belief that they stayed here during their period of exile.
The learned men like Vidyapati, Kumaril Bhatt, Mandan Mishra, Nagarjun, Vibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhya and Vidushi Bhariti belonged to this reason.
The name of the district has been derived from its head quarter and principal town, which is said to have been founded by Darbhangi Khan. It is also said that the name Darbhanga was derived from Dwar-Banga or Dar-e-Bang meaning "THE GATEWAY TO BENGAL".
Darbhanga is one of the important districts of North Bihar situated in the very heart of Mithilanchal - the fertile, alluvial plains of North India. Under the British rule, Darbhanga was a part of Sarkar Tirhut upto 1875, when it was constituted into a separate district. The sub-divisions of the then district Darbhanga were created as earlier as Darbhanga Sadar in 1845, Madhubani in 1846 and Samastipur in 1867. Darbhanga was part of Patna Division till 1908, when the separate Tirhut Division was carved out. Darbhanga became the Divisional headquarters in 1972 when all its three sub-divisions got the status of separate districts. Thus the present Darbhanga district took shape.