In the lap of the Sahyadri range

Uttara Kannada was home to the Kadamba dynasty from the 350 - 525CE. They ruled from Banavasi. After the subjugation of the Kadambas by the Chalukyas, Uttara Kannada district came under successive rule of empires like Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagar empire.

Famous Arab traveller Ibn Batuta is said to have stayed for a time in the district under the protection of Nawayath Sultan Jamal al-Din at Hunnur.

This place is presently known as Hosapattana and is located in the Honnavar taluk. Ruins of an old mosque and its minaret can still be seen in the village.

The district came under the rule of Maratha empire from around 1700 CE. to 1800 CE. It was ceded to the British at the conclusion of the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818.

The British established North Kanara district as a part of the Bombay Presidency.

The main geographic feature of the district is the Western Ghats or Sahyadri range, which runs from north to south through the district. In terms of art, Yakshagana, a dance drama form, is very popular in the district of Uttara Karnataka .