Bilaspur was a part of Kalchuri dynasty of Ratanpur.The city, however, came into prominence around 1741, the year of the Maratha Empire invasion, when a Maratha official took up his abode there and began to build a fort, which however was never completed. The city was taken over by the British East India Company of Great Britain in the year 1854 when the then ruler of the region, Bhosale of Nagpur belonging to Maratha Empire died without an heir. The management of Bilaspur district was taken over by the British Government in 1818, before this it was under harsh, extortionist Marathaan rule for about 60 years.
Bilaspur district was constituted in 1861, followed by Bilaspur municipality in 1867. Famines in the Bilaspur district were recorded by the British administration in 1828-9, 1834-5, 1845-6, 1868-9 and 1899–1900. In 1868-9 and 1899–1900, the rains failed almost completely, resulting in severe distress, migration and desertion of villages. After the 1868-9 famine there was prosperity for the next 25 years; but in 1895 there was a very poor harvest, followed in 1896 by a complete failure of crops, and severe famine continued throughout 1897. In that year the mortality rate was as high as one in six people. The famine of 1897 was followed by two favorable years; but in 1899 the monsoon failed completely and the rice crop was wholly destroyed. Bilaspur is located at 22.09°N 82.15°E. It has an average elevation of 264 metres (866 ft). Bilaspur is situated on the banks of the rain-fed Arpa River, which originates from the high hills of the Maikal Range of central India. This dolomite rich region is surrounded by lush green forests in the north and the coal mines of Hasdeo valley in the east. Bilaspur district is surrounded by Koria District in north, Shahdol District of Madhya Pradesh,Mungeli District in West, Balauda Bazar-Bhata Para District in south and & Janjgir-Champa District in east.