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Karnataka was ruled by the, Nanda Empire the Mauryan empire of Emperor Ashoka, Satavahana, Kadambas, the Western Ganga Dynasty, .Chalukyas, the Rashtrakuta Empire of Manyakheta and the Western Chalukya Empire, Cholas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagar empire, Bijapur, Bahamis, Wodeyars, Tippu Sultan and the British. The Kadambas and the Western Ganga Dynasty were the first to use Kannada in administration. Under the Western Chalukyas, the Hoysala art of 12th century became very prominent.

Literature, construction of temples and sculptures adhering to the Vesara style of architecture flourished during the Hoysalas regime. The Bahamani and Bijapur rulers encouraged Urdu and Persian literature and Indo-Saracenic architecture. The Gol Gumbaz is an example of this style.

After India's independence, the Maharaja, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, allowed accession of Mysore to India. In 1973, after regions from neighbouring states joined, the state was renamed Karnataka.