The district derives its name from its headquarter's town Rohtak which is said to be a correction of Rohtashgarh, a name still applied to the ruined sites (also called khokhrakot) of two older sites, one lying immediately north of the present town and other about 5 Kms towards the east. Traditionally, it is named after Raja Rohtash in whose time city is said to have been built. It is also claimed that the town derives its name from the Roherra (Tacoma undulate) tree called Rohitaka in Sanskrit. It is said that before the town came into existance,it was the site of a forest of Rohitaka trees and hence ita name became Rohtak.Another version connects Rohtak with Rohitaka, which is mentioned in Mahabharta in connection with campaign of Nakula, the Pandva warrior. History of the district as an Administrative unit.
The areas of Rohtak district underwent many changes, extending over hundreds of years before the administrative unit emerged in its present form. Under the Mughal Emperor Akbar, when his Minister Todar Mal divided North India into administrative circles, the areas of Rohtak (as a part of Suba of Delhi) fell within the Sarkars of Delhi and Hisar firuqa. Lying close to the imperial city of Delhi, the tract which now comprises the Rohtak district was often granted in military Jagir by the Sultan and Mughal emperors to the Nobles of the court. For this reason Rajput, Brahman, Afgan,& Baluch chiefs have at different times enjoyed its revenues. On the death of Bahadur-Shah-I(1707-12),the successor of Aurangzeb, the Mugal empire began to decline rapidly. The areas of Rohtak frequently experienced a change of masters. The claims of Imperials were contested sometimes by the Rajputs, Jats & Sikhs and often by the Marathas. George Thomas, the portage of a Maratha leader, Appa Kandirao, established his authority at Hansi and extended it to Meham and Rohtak for a number of years, until Sindhia and various other regional forces combined to derive him away. Sindhia was, however, not destined to hold for long his conquests to the west of the Yamuna. By the treaty of Surjit Arjungaon, signed on Dec. 30,1803, the Rohtak area along with the other possessions of Sindhia situated to the west of Yamuna passed to the British and came under the administration of the North-west provinces.
The British had no intention at that time to hold large territories beyond the Yamuna. Accordingly, a number of Chiefs and leaders who had done good military service against the Marathas or had at least remained natural, were settled in this tract to form a barrier of independent outposts between the British border and the Cis-Sutlej Sikh estates as well as the trans-sutlej rising kingdom of Ranjit Singh. Accordingly, the Jhajjar territory was given to Nawab Nijabat Ali Khan and the Baluch possessions at Bahadurgarh to his brother, Nawab Ismail Khan. Gohana & Kharkhoda-Mandothi tehsils were given to Raja Bagh Singh of Jind & Bhai Lal Singh of Kaithal as life jagirs. The villages Lohari, Patudha and Kheri Sultan in the south east corner of Jhajjar tehsil were given as a seprate Jagir to Mohmad Khan son & Nawab Nijabat Ali Khan. The estates of Hassngarh, Kirhauli, Pyladgarh (Pehladpur) and Khurampur in Sampla area were also granted to him for life. Rohtak, Beri and Meham tehsils of the present district were given to the Nawab of Dujana who resigned the major portion of the gift in A.D.1809 because it was beyond his power to manage it.
The formation of present Rohtak district began when the gift was abandoned by the Dujana Chief. The Gohana and Kharkhoda-Mandothi estates lapsed to the British Govt. after of the death of Bhai Lal Singh in A.D.1818 and Bhagh Singh in 1820. When the Hisar district was created in the latter year, the Beri and Meham-Bhiwani tehsils were included in Hisar and the other portions of the present northern tehsils in Panipat. In 1824 the Rohtak district was formed as a separate unit consisting of Gohana, Kharkhoda-Mandothi, Rohtak, Beri and Meham -Bhiwani tehsils. The Bahadurgarh territory formed its eastern and Jhajjar its southern boundary. Until A.D.1832, the whole area, including Rohtak, was under the resident of Delhi, but when in that year it was brought under the same regulations as the rest of North India, the resident became commissioner. The District was abolished in A.D. 1841 Gohana going to Panipat and rest of tehsil to Delhi but in the very next year it was created again. The District Rohtak and Jhajjar together with rest of Delhi and Hisar divisions were detached from North-western provinces after 1857 and passed to the Punjab by the Govt. of India on 13th April, 1858. The Rohtak district remained a part of the Hisar division until 1884.
After its transfer to the Punjab, the Rohtak District Experienced several changes before assuming its present form. Bahadurgarh estate was added to the Sampla tehsil, five detached village to the east, going to Delhi. Jhajjar including some areas of Narnaul, Kanaudh and Dahari was at first created as a new District but was abolished shortly afterwards in 1860, when large parts of it were assigned to the Phulkian chief as a rewards for their loyal services. While the Jhajjar tehsil itself was added to Rohtak several Badali villages were transferred either to Delhi or Gurgoan and two detached Jhajjar estates were given to the Raja of Jind. In the following year, The Meham tehsil was abolished and after making necessary territorial adjustments in favour of Hisar and Delhi, the rest of the area was added to Rohtak tehsil. All these changer were completed by 1st July, 1861.
On the abolition of Hisar Division in 1884, the Rohtak District Was transferred to Delhi division. It consisted of four tehsils-Rohtak, Gohana, Jhajjar & Sampla, But in April, 1910, Sampla tehsil was abolished for reasons of administrative economy and its area was divided between the Rohtak and Jhajjar tehsils which had reminded attached to the Delhi District since the year 1861 and was added to the Rohtak District in sept, 1912, on the separation of Delhi Territory from the Punjab. The District Was then attached to Ambala division .In 1948, Dujana state was merged in Jhajjar tehsil and a new sub-tehsil of Nahar was created.
Thus, Rohtak District was given a share with four Tehsils i.e. Rohtak, Sonipat, Jhajjar & Gohana with Nahar & Meham as sub-tehsil of Jhajjar and Gohana tehsils respectively. Tehsil of Bahadurgarh was created in 1973 from Jhajjar tehsil. In 1973 Meham sub-tehsil was upgraded as tehsil .Sonipat tehsil was created by bifurcating Rohtak district, and Gohana and Sonipat tehsils were allotted to Sonipat district. One more tehsil, Kosli was created out of Jhajjar tehsil and Nahar sub-tehsil was abolished and the bifurcated Rohtak District, comprised of five tehsils, namely Rohtak, Bahadurgarh ,Jhajjar, Meham and Kosli and one sub-tehsil Matenhail was also created. In Nov., 1989 reorganization of District took place and Gohana tehsil was again attached with Rohtak District. Three sub-tehsils of Badli, Matenhail and Beri were created again in July ,92,Gohana tehsil was again transferred to Sonipat District and Badli sub-tehsil was abolished later on.
In July ,97,Jhajjar district was created after bifurcating Rohtak district into Rohtak and Jhajjar districts and the present Rohtak District consists of Rohtak and Meham Tehsils, while Jhajjar & Bahadurgarh tehsils are in Jhajjar District The present set up of Rohtak district is as under:-