Rewa or Rewah princely state was the largest state of Bagelkhand Agency and the second largest in Central India Agency. It lies between the United Provinces to the north, Bengal to the east, Central Provinces to the south and to the west side by Maihar, Nagod, Sohawal, Kothi Baghelan and Panna. The Bagelkhand Agency was dissolved in 1933 and so Rewa was placed into Indore Residency. It was the first princely state to declare Hindi as a state language during reign of Maharaja Gulab Singh. It was also popular for its white tigers.
The Rewa state traced its origin from Vyaghra Dev, a descendant of the Vaghelas of Gujarat. In order to expand, he moved to northern India and captured Marpha fort which was located at 18 miles north-east of Kalinjar. He married the daughter of Pirhawan’s ruler and captured the territory between Kalpi and Chandalgarh. His son, Karan Dev married the daughter of the Raja of Ratanpur and got Bandhavgarh territory as dowry. He conquered Rewa region and formed Bandhavgarh as his capital until it was destructed by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar in 1597. Till the 15th century, they were busy in extending their territories and tried to escape from the attention of Delhi Sultanates. But in 1498-9, Sikander Lodi attacked but ultimately failed in capturing the Bandhavgarh fort.
According to legend, Rewa state was founded in 1140. From 5th October 1812, Rewa became a British protectorate. Raja Ramachandra Singh Baghela encouraged musicians in his court, including Tansen. Maharaha Vikramadityag shifted his capital to Rewa in 1617.
After the death of Maharaja Virbhadra Rao in 1593, his minor son Maharaja Vikramaditya succeeded. In order to save his life, he was sent to Delhi. Mughals took an opportunity and sent his noble who was appointed as a temporary governor. After his return, he was pressurized to establish a new capital at Rewa. After the defeat of Marathas, Rewa re-established their control over the administration, revenue and social progress. Next ruler, Maharaja Vishwanath Singh successfully abolished sati and female infanticide in 1813.