The earliest known history of the Nilgiris dates back to 930 AD, when Wynaad was under the Ganga dynasty of Mysore. Wynaad and the plateau then came under the reign of the Hoysala rulers during the 12th century, which did the Mussalmans of Delhi later overthrow. With the decline of the regime of the Mussalman rulers, Wynaad and the Nilgiris came under the Mysore kings during the early part of the 17th century.
In the later part of the 18th century, Hyder Ali usurped the throne of Mysore. As a result of the last Mysore war, the Nilgiris plateau which was then known as Danaikancotah district was merged with East India Company. In 1800, Dr. Francis Buchanan reached the hill by walk. It was only in 1812 that a serious attempt was made to climb the hill and the credit goes to William Keys who was Assistant Revenue Surveyor and an apprentice named Mac Mohan and thus they were the first Englishmen to reach the Nilgiris plateau.
Mr. Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore did some pioneering survey work, and formed the first bridal path to reach the hills from Coimbatore. The idea of making the Nilgiris a hill station was conceived by Mr. Sullivan, who discovered Ootacamund, and delighted by the temperate climate, he built the first bungalow at Ootacamund, for his residence, which is, even today popularly known as the Stone House, and the locality as Stone House Hill. Finally, the full status of a district was made only in the year 1882 by designating the Commissioner of the district as Collector and the Assistant Commissioner became the Head Assistant Collector. The Collector was also given the powers of an Additional Sessions Judge. The taluk administration came into being with the appointment of a Tahsildar.