Stone tools have discovered from Chota Nagpur plateau region which is from Mesolithic and Neolithic period. There are ancient Cave Paintings in Isko, Hazaribagh district which are from Meso-chalcolithic period (9,000-5,000 BC). Several Iron slags, microlith, Potsherds have discovered from Singhbhum district which are from 1400 BCE according to Carbon dating age.
According to writers including Gautam Kumar Bera, there was already a distinct geo-political, cultural entity called Jharkhand even before the Magadha Empire. During the age of Mahajanpadas around 500 BC, Jharkhand state was a part of Magadha and Anga. Jharkhand was part of greater Magadha region and was in some way culturally different from Historical Vedic religion.
Samudragupta, while marching through the present-day Chotanagpur region, directed the first attack against the kingdom of Dakshina Kosala in the Mahanadi valley.
Daud Khan, who launched his invasion starting from Patna on 3 April 1660, attacked south of Gaya district and finally arrived at the Palamu Forts on 9 December 1660. The terms of surrender and payment of tribute were not acceptable to the Cheros; Daud Khan wanted complete conversion of all Hindus under the Chero rule to Islam. Following this, Khan mounted a series of attacks on the forts. Cheros defended the forts but ultimately both forts were occupied.
The King Medini Ray (1662–1674), ruled for thirteen years from 1662 to 1674 from Medininagar in Palamau. His rule extended to areas in South Gaya and Hazaribagh. He attacked Navratangarh and defeated the Maharaja of Chhotanagpur.
Following the death of Medini Ray there was rivalry within the royal family of the Chero dynasty which ultimately lead to its downfall; this was engineered by the ministers and advisers in the court. In 1765, the region came under the control of the British East India Company. Chitrajeet Rai's nephew Gopal Rai betrayed him and facilitated the Patna Council of the British East India Company to attack the fort. When the new fort was attacked by Captain Camac on 28 January 1771, the Chero soldiers fought valiantly but had to retreat to the old fort on account of water shortage. This facilitated the British army to occupy the new fort located on a hill without any struggle. This location was strategic and enabled the British to mount canon supply and the old fort was besieged by the British on 19 March 1771. The fort was finally occupied by the British in 1772. Region under Kings of Chero dynasty, Nagvansh and Ramgarh became parts of territories of East India Company.
The Princly states in Chota Nagpur Plateau, came within the sphere of influence of the Maratha Empire, but they became tributary states of British East India Company as a result of the Anglo-Maratha Wars known as Chota Nagpur Tributary States. The subjugation and colonisation of Jharkhand region by the British East India Company resulted in spontaneous resistance from the local people.
The first ever revolt against the landlords and the British government was led by Tilka Manjhi, a Paharia leader in Rajmahal Hills in 1771.Soon after in 1779, the Bhumij tribes rose in arms against the British rule in Manbhum, West Bengal.
In 1807, the Oraons in Barway murdered their big landlord from Srinagar. Munda tribe rose in revolt in 1811 and 1813. The Hos in Singhbhum revolted in 1820, Kol revolt in 1832. The Santhal rebellion broke out in 1855 under the leadership of two brothers Sidhu and Kanhu.
Thakur Vishwanath Sahdeo, local chief rebeled against Brithish East India Company in 1857 rebellion. He was fighting with Britishers, but caught due to treachery and was hagnged in April 16, 1858.
After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the rule of the British East India Company was transferred to the Crown in the person of Queen Victoria, who, in 1876, was proclaimed Empress of India.
The Cheros and Kharwars again rebelled against the British in 1882 but the attack was repulsed. Then Birsa Munda revolt, broke out in 1895 and lasted till 1900. The revolt though mainly concentrated in the Munda belt of Khunti, Tamar, Sarwada and Bandgaon.
In October 1905, the exercise of British influence over the predominantly Hindi-speaking states of Chang Bhakar, Jashpur, Koriya, Surguja, and Udaipur was transferred from the Bengal government to that of the Central Provinces, while the two Oriya-speaking states of Gangpur and Bonai were attached to the Orissa Tributary States, leaving only Kharsawan and Saraikela answerable to the Bengal governor.
In 1936, all nine states were transferred to the Eastern States Agency, the officials of which came under the direct authority of the Governor-General of India, rather than under that of any Provinces.
In March 1940, INC 53rd Session was accomplished under the presidency of Maulana Abul Qalam Azad at Jhanda Chowk, Ramgarh now Ramgarh Cant. Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Sarojini Naidu, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Acharya J.B. Kripalani, Industrialist Jamnalal Bajaj and others greats leaders of Indian freedom movement attended the Ramgarh Session.
 Mahatma Gandhi also opened khadi and village Industries Exhibition at Ramgarh.
Jawaharlal Nehru, industrialist Jamnalal Bajaj, Sarojini Naidu, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, andMaulana Azad at the 1940 Ramgarh Session of the Indian National Congress
At that time, under the leadership of Netajee Subhas Chandra Bose conference against Samjhauta was also completed. In Ramgarh, Subhsha Chandra Bose was seen as president of All India Forward Block and M.N. Roy was seen as leader of Radical democratic party.
After Indian independence in 1947, the rulers of the states all chose to accede to the Dominion of India. Changbhakar, Jashpur, Koriya, Surguja and Udaipur later became part of Madhya Pradesh state, but Gangpur and Bonai part of Orissa state, and Kharsawan and Saraikela part of Bihar state.
After the last Assembly election in the state resulted in a hung assembly, RJD's dependence on the Congress extended support on the precondition that RJD would not pose a hurdle to the passage of the Bihar reorganisation Bill (Jharkhand Bill). Finally, with the support from both RJD and Congress, the ruling coalition at the Centre led by the BJP which had made statehood its mail poll plank in the region in successive polls earlier, cleared the Jharkhand Bill in the monsoon session of the Parliament this year, thus paving the way for the creation of a separate Jharkhand state.
The dynamics of resources and the politics of development still influence the socio-economic structures in Jharkhand, which was carved out of the relatively under developed southern part of Bihar. According to the 1991 census, the state has a population of over 20 million out of which 28% is tribal while 12% of the people belong to scheduled castes. Jharkhand has 24 districts, 260 blocks and 32,620 villages out of which only 45% have access to electricity while only 8,484 are connected by roads. Jharkhand is the leading producer of mineral wealth in the country after Chhattisgarh state, endowed as it is with vast variety of minerals like iron ore, coal, copper ore, mica, bauxite, graphite, limestone, and uranium. Jharkhand is also known for its vast forest resources.
Jharkhand has been at the centre of the Naxalite-Maoist insurgency. Since the uprising of the Naxalites in 1967, 6,000 people have been killed in fighting between the Naxalites and counter-insurgency operations by the police, and its paramilitary groups such as the Salwa Judum.
Despite having a presence in almost 7.80% of India's geographical area (home to 5.50% of India's population), the state of Jharkhand is part of the "Naxal Belt" comprising 92,000 square kilometres, where the highest concentrations of the groups estimated 20,000 combatants fight. Part of this is due to the fact that the state harbours a rich abundance of natural resources, while its people live in abject poverty and destitution. The impoverished state provides ample recruits for the communist insurgents, who argue that they are fighting on behalf of the landless poor that see few benefits from the resource extractions. As the federal government holds a monopoly on sub-surface resources in the state, the tribal population is prevented from staking any claim on the resources extracted from their land. In response, the insurgents have recently begun a campaign of targeting infrastructure related to the extraction of resources vital for Indian energy needs, such as coal.
On 5 March 2007, Sunil Mahato, a member of the national parliament, was shot dead by Naxalite rebels near Kishanpur while watching a football match on the Hindu festival of Holi. His widow, Suman Mahato, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha candidate, won the Jamshedpur Lok Sabha by-election in September 2007 and served in parliament until 2009.