- The area was ruled by Alupas till the end of 14th century followed by the emperors of Vijayanagar, Keladi Nayakas, Hyder Ali, Tippu Sultan and then by Britishers in 1799.
- Before 1860, Dakshina Kannada was part of a district called Kanara, which was under the Madras Presidency.
- In 1860, the British split the area into South Kanara and North Kanara.
- During the Reorganisation of States in 1956, Kasaragod was split and transferred to the newly created Kerala state and Dakshina Kannada was transferred to Mysore state (present day Karnataka).
- In 1997, the govt split the Dakshina Kannada district into Udupi and present day Dakshina Kannada districts.
- The district is famous for red clay roof tiles (Mangalore tiles), cashew nut & its products, banking, education and for its exotic cuisine.
- The Moodabidri known as Jain Kashi, Dharmasthala, Subrahmanya and Ullal are major pilgrimage centers.