Ongole district, originally constituted on 2nd February 1970, out of Nellore, Kurnool and Guntur Districts, was renamed as Prakasam (12-5-1972) in memory of the great patriot and Andhra Leader, Tanguturi Prakasam Panthulu , also known as Andhra Kesari (Lion of Andhra ) who was born in Kanuparthi village of this district. It was carved out of three taluks of Guntur District, i.e. Addanki, Chirala and Ongole, four taluks of Nellore district, i.e. Kandukur, Kanigiri, Podili and Darsi and two taluks i.e. Markapur and Giddalur of Kurnool district. It is one of the nine coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh.
Prakasam district occupies an area of 17626 sq. kms. It is the largest in area among the coastal districts. This district lies between 15 30 and 16 north latitude and between 79 and 80 east longitude. It is bounded on the north by Guntur and Mahboobnagar Districts, on the south by Cuddapah and Nellore Districts, on the east by the Bay of Bengal and on the west by Kurnool District. The district headquarters is located at Ongole.
The history of Prakasam (Ongole) district, goes back to the rule of the Mauryas.There is no doubt about the rule of later Satavahanas over this area, for an inscription of Gautamiputra Satakarni, dated in his 27th regional year was noticed at Chinaganjam, in Chirala taluk of this district. A good nuber of Roman Gold coins were recovered from Darsi area. Next, it was under the rule of the Ikshvakus, Eastern Chalukyas and Kakathiyas. During the Kakathiya rule, Motupathi served as sea port. It was visited by the Italian traveller marco Polo.It also served as a busy port during the Reddy period. This district was under the rule of the Vijayanagara and Ganapathi of Orissa for a considerable period durinmg the 15th and 16th century A D.
The Saluvas ruled over the Podili area in the 15th century AD with their capital at Podili. A few inscriptions and the kaifayat of Podili form the sources of their history. The rule of the Saluvas of Podili ended with Elugu Rayudu. Their territory was appropriated among the Gajapatis and the Rajas of Vijayanagara.
There are two inscriptions at Cumbum is Bestavaripeta taluk, dated AD 1706 and AD 1729. The first one refers to the death of one Khaja Mohammed Sherieff who was the Qiladar of Cumbum fort during the reign of Aurangazeb. The second refers to one Mohammed Sahin, son of Mohammed Khayum governor of Cumbum during the time of Mohammed Shah.
Under the Mughal rule it formed a part of the Golkonda province, one of the six provinces into which the Deccan subah was sub-divided.
The next dynasty to rule over the district was the Asaf Jahis. During Nizam-Ul-Mulk , the Deccan Subah comprised five Nawabs , one of which was Kurnool. Nellore and Guntur Districts from which certain taluks were taken away to constitute the present Prakasam district were under the Nawabs of Arcot and Rajahmundry. In 1801 AD the English acquired complete authority over the three districts from which the present Prakasam district was carved out.
The people of this district contributed their due share to the growth of the Indian National Congress. The non-co-operation movement in 1920 shows the district setting with political turmoil. After the all India congress committee meeting was over, Gandhiji traveled some of the coastal districts and spread the message of nationalism. The boycott of courts by lawyers met with, a slightly better response in favour of civil disobedience and no tax campaign. Among those who suspended their practicing professions and who dedicated themselves to the cause of the country’s freedom were some of the top ranking lawyers, with late Sri T. Prakasam leading them all.