This district was earlier called as Ethlabad. This district was formed in the year 1905. The Adilabad district is bounded by Maharastra State in the East, West and North directions, Karimnagar and Nizamabad districts in the South direction. Main rivers are Godavari, Penganga, Pranahita and Kadem . The water sources to this district are Kadem Project at Lakkipet, Vattivagu Project on Vattivagu, Satnalavagu project on Rallavagu and Chelamalavagu project on Chelamalavagu at Ekkapally village. Pochampadu Reservoir on river Godavari caters the water supply to the farm fields. Adilabad, Nirmal, Bellampalli, Mandamarri, Sirpur, Mancheryal, Lakshettipeta. are main towns. The District is occupied with 50% of Forest area, and hosts Three wild life sanctuaries; Pranahita is famous for Tigers, Jaguars, Deer and different Birds, Shivaram is famous for Crocodiles, Monkeys, Foxes and Spotted deer, Kawal is famous for Tigers, Jaguars, Deer's and Panthers. The mineral Wealth found in this district is Coal, Hematite. The Bamboo's from the forest feeds the Sirpur paper mill at Sirpur Khaghaz Nagar, which was established in 1938. World Famous Nirmal Paintings and Toys, and Bell Metal Craft are the handicrafts of this District. The temple of Goddess Saraswathi, the one and only temple of this deity in South India, located at Basar is a famous pilgrim place.
Adilabad derives its name from the erstwhile ruler of Bijapur, Mohammed Adil Shah.

Historically, Adilabad has been home to a variety of cultures. Owing to its position at the border of central and southern India, it has been ruled by North Indian dynasties like the Mauryas and the Mughals and South Indian dynasties like the Satavahanas and the Chalukyas. The current culture of the district incorporates significant elements of the neighboring Marathi culture into the native Telugu culture. However a multicultural society exists here with Bengali, Malayali and Gujarati people living in harmony.