In 1910, Ramanathapuram was formed by clubbing portions from Madurai and Tirunelveli districts. Shri J.F. BRYANT I.C.S. was the first collector. During the British period this district was called as Ramnad. The name continued after independence. Later the district was renamed as Ramanathapuram to be in conformity with the Tamil Name for this region. Ramanathapuram is also known as Mugavai(face) as the River Vaigai ends it journey here in the Palk Strait.As per GO Ms.No. 347 dated 08.03.1985, Ramanathapuram was trifurcated on 15.03.1985 as
- Sivagangai District which consists of Thiruppattur, Karaikudi, Devakottai, Sivaganga, Manamadurai and Illaiyankudi Taluks.
- Virudhunagar District which consist of Sriviliputur, Virudhunagar, Thiruchuli, Aruppukottai, Sathur and Rajapalayam Taluks.
- Ramanathapuram District which consists of Tiruvadanai, Paramakudi, Kamuthi, Mudukulathur, Ramanathapuram and Rameswaram Taluks.
In 1063 AD, this area was under the Chola Kings when Rajendra Chola brought it under his territory. In the early 15th Century this area was a part of Pandiya Kingdom. In 1520 AD., the Nayaks of Vijayangar took over this area under their control from the Pandiyan dynasty for about two centuries. In 17th century, Marava chieftains-Sethupathis who were Lords under Pandiyan Kings reigned over this area. At the beginning of the 18th century, family disputes over succession resulted in the division of Ramanathapuram. With the help of the King of Thanjavur in 1730 A.D. one of the chieftains deposed Sethupathy and became the Raja of Sivaganga. Acting upon the weakness of the Nayak rules, the local chieftains (Palayakarars) became independent. Raja of Sivagangai, Sethupathy of Ramanathapuram were prominent among them. In 1730, Chand, a Sahib of Carnatic, captured Ramanathapuram. In 1741, the area came under the control of the Marathas and then under the Nizam in 1744 AD. Nawab’s rule made displeasure in the mind of those chieftains. That made them declare the last Nayak as ruler of Pandiya Mandalam against the Nawab in 1752 AD. By that time, throne of Carnatic had two rivals, Chanda Sahib and Mohamed Ali, and this district was part of Carnatic. The British and French supported Chanda Sahib and Mohamed Ali respectively. It paved the way for series of conflicts.
1795, the British deposed Muthuramalinga Sethupathy and took control of the administration of Ramanathapuram. In 1801 Mangaleswari Nachiyar was made the Zamindar of Sivagangai. After passing of Queen, the Marudhu Brothers took the charge by paying regular revenue to the East India company. In 1803, the Marudhu Brothers of Sivaganga revolted against the British in collaboration with Kattabomman of Panchalamkurichi. Colonel Agnew captured Marudhu Brothers and hanged them and made Gowri Vallbah Periya Udaya Thevar as Zamindar of Sivaganga. After the fall of Tippu Sultan, British took the control and imprisoned the Nawab. In 1892 the Zamindari system was abolished and a British Collector was appointed for administration.