”Belgaum” (also known as Belagavi, Belgavi and Venugrama or ”bamboo village”) is a city in the Indian state of Karnataka located in its northern part along the Western Ghats. It is the administrative headquarters of the eponymous Belgaum division and Belgaum district. The Government of Karnataka has proposed making Belgaum the second capital of Karnataka, hence a second state administrative building Suvarna Vidhana Soudha was inaugurated on 11 October 2012.
Belgaum has been selected in first phase out of 20 cities, as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under PM Narendra Modi's flagship Smart Cities Mission.
Belgaum was founded in late 12th century AD by the Ratta dynasty, who shifted from nearby Saundatti. A Ratta official called Bichiraja built a Jain temple dedicated to Neminatha in 1204, which came to be called Kamalabasti. Pillars found inside Belgaum fort have Kannada inscriptions in Nagari scripts, one from 1199 by Ratta King Kartaveerya IV. The city original name was Venugrama, a Sanskrit word which means ”village of bamboo”. Alternatively, it is referred to as Venupura in early Indian texts, which means city of bamboo.
Belgaum became a part of the Yadava dynasty kingdom (Sevunas) in early 13th century. An inscription from 1261 of King Krishna belonging to the Yadava dynasty attests to this. The region was invaded by Khalji dynasty of Delhi Sultanate in 14th century. Shortly thereafter, the Vijayanagara Empire was founded, and Belgaum came under the rule of Vijayanagara. In 1474, the Bahmani Sultanate conquered Belgaum with an army led by Mahamood Gawan.
The Belgaum fort was strengthened by the Adil Shah dynasty Sultans and they built the Safa Mosque. A Persian inscription states that the mosque was built by Asad Khan, a Bijapur Commander. In 1518, the Bahamani sultanate splintered into five small states and Belgaum became part of the Bijapur Sultanate. The Adilshahis extended their control to the port of Goa, but retreated after the arrival and wars with the Portuguese. In 1686, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb overthrew the Bijapur sultanate and Belgaum passed nominally to the Mughals, who called it "Azamnagar". However, the Mughal empire control collapsed after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707. The Maratha confederacy took control of the area during the rule of the Peshwas. In 1776, the region was overrun by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan after Hyder Ali's coup in the Kingdom of Mysore. The Peshwa regained Belgaum, after Tipu Sultan was defeated by the British forces. In 1818, the British annexed Belgaum and the region in the control of the Peshwa. Kitturu Chennamma (1778–1829) was the queen of the princely state of Kittur in Karnataka. In 1824, 33 years before the 1857 War of Independence in Murree, she led an armed rebellion against the British in response to the Doctrine of lapse. The resistance ended in her martyrdom and she is remembered today as one of the earliest Indian and the First Indian Queen to have fought for independence.
Belgaum was chosen as the venue of the 39th session of the Indian National Congress in December 1924 under the presidency of Mahatma Gandhiji. The city served as a major military installation for the British Raj, primarily due to its proximity to Goa, which was then a Portuguese territory. Once the British left India, the Indian government continued and still continues to have armed forces installations in Belgaum. In 1961, the Indian government, under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, used forces from Belgaum to end Portuguese rule of Goa.
When India became independent in 1947, Belgaum and its district were part of Bombay State. In 1956, the Indian states were reorganised along linguistic lines by the States Reorganisation Act and Belgaum District (except Chandgad Taluk) was transferred to Mysore State, which was renamed Karnataka in 1972.
In 2006, the Government of Karnataka announced that Belgaum would be made the state's second capital, and that the city would be a permanent venue for the annual 15-day session of the state legislature.