The history of Jalandhar District comprises three periods — ancient, medieval and modern.
The city is named after Jalandhara, a demon king, who is mentioned in the Puranas and Mahabharta. According to another legend, Jalandhar was the capital of the kingdom of Lava, son of Rama. According to another version Jalandhar is said to have derived its name from the vernacular term `Jalandhar' means area inside the water, i.e., tract lying between the two rivers Satluj and Beas. The whole of Punjab and the area of present Jalandhar District was part of the Indus Valley Civilization. Harappa and Mohenjo-daro are the sites where remains of the Indus Valley Civilization have been found extensively. The archaeological explorations made during recent years have pushed the ancient times of Jalandhar District of Harappa period. Jalandhar was ruled by King Arjan Singh.
The modern history of Jalandhar District states that Khilafat Movement was started in the district in early 1920 to bring pressure upon British rulers to change their policy towards Turkey. Mahatma Gandhi extended sympathy and support to this movement. Jalandhar District was declared 'Proclaimed Area' under the Seditious Meetings Act. After the independence of the country, however, the district was affected by communal riots and exodus of minority communities from both sides of the border, consequent upon the partition of the country.