The term ‘Janjira’ originated from the Arabic word Jazeera which means island. Janjira Island was ruled by Sidi dynasty of African descent and later came under the suzerainty of the Bombay presidency in 1870. Until 1924, the nawabs exercised suzerainty over Jafarabad of Kathiawar peninsula. It lies between Kundalika or Roha creek of Kolaba district in the north, Roha and Mangaon taluka in the east, Bankot creek of Ratnagiri district in the south and the Arabian sea in the west side. The total area of the state was 324 square miles.
An African trader at the service of the Ahmadnagar, conquered Janjira and established his own rule in 1489. During the 17th and 18th century, Marathas attacked numerous times at Janjira but however, could not capture it. Ottoman’s record stated that troops of Ottoman and Janjira uprooted Portuguese fleet from Yemen in 1587.
In 1676, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb officially recognised the ruler of Janjira state as Nawab. The state entered into the union with the Jafarabad state of Gujarat coast in 1759. In 1762, Jafarabad became tributary and its governor was appointed by the Nawab of Janjira. One of the records stated that Aurangzeb supplied 2,000 men, two Frigates and two Man-of-war battleships. East India Company reported that Siddis troops had five Frigates and two Man-of-wars apart from fifteen grabs vessels.
From 1799, Janjira state was placed under the Deccan State Agency of the Bombay presidency by the British. In the 19th century, a ruler could maintain only 123 men as military force. During India’s independence of 1947, aboriginal and rulers expressed to remain as a separate state. Eventually, it was not accepted and it was acceded to the Indian Union on 8th March 1948 by merging with Bombay Province.
Janjira was the only state in the west unconquered by the Marathas. The coins of Janjira were ankosi countermarked with 'Ja' for Janjira and termed ‘Habshi’ or Abyssinian