In 1731 Ratnagiri came under the control of Satara kings; in 1818 it was surrendered to the british. A fort was built during the Bijapur dynasty and strengthened in 1670 by the Maratha king Shivaji, which is located on a headland near the harbour. It is one of the ports of the konkan coast. It has a palace where the last king of Burma, Thibaw and later Veer Savarkar were confined.
It is also believed that the Pandavas having performed their pilgrimage on the 13th year had settled in the adjourning territory of the Ratnagiri district and when the Pandavas and the Kauravas had the famous war at Kuruskshetra, the king of this region Veeravat Ray had accompanied them there.
Ratnagiri district is located in the southwestern part of Maharashtra State on the Arabian Sea coast. The sorrounding area is bordered by the Sahyadri Hills on the East and Arabian Sea on the West. It forms a part of the greater tract known as Konkan. This region was under the rule of the Mauryas, the Nalas, the Silaharas, the Chalukyas, the Kadambas, the Portuguese, the Marathas and subsequently the British. In 1948 the independent princely state of Sawantwadi was merged with the Indian union and in 1956 with Bombay Province. In 1960 with the creation of Maharashtra, Ratnagiri became a district. In 1981 Ratnagiri district was bifurcated and the new district of Sindhudurg was created.
Ratnagiri has nine tahsils; Mandangad, Dapoli, Khed, Chiplun, Guhagar, Sangameshwar, Ratnagiri, Lanja and Rajapur. Chief rivers in Ratnagiri are the Shastri, Bor, Muchkundi, Kajali.
Ratnagiri is the district headquarters. It is the birth place of Lokmanya Tilak and many other eminent personalities.
Ratnagiri is noted for the delicious golden Haapus (Alphonso) mangos. The heavy rainfall results into highly eroded landscape in the coastal region. Fertile alluvial valleys produce rice and coconut as the main crops; fruits and cashewnut cultivation is being promoted.