Like most towns in northern parts of India, Azamgarh is situated on the banks of a river--in this case on the Tons River. Azamgarh was founded around 1665, by a powerful landlord named Azam Khan son of Vikramajit. Vikramajit a descendant of Gautam Rajputs of Mehnagar in pargana Nizamabad, like some of his predecessors, had embraced the faith of Islam. He had a Muslim wife who bore him two sons Azam and Azmat. While Azam gave his name to the town of Azamgarh, and the fort, Azmat constructed the fort and settled the bazar of Azmatgarh in pargana Sagri.
Azamgarh became a center of learning with the founding of Shibli National College, by the Muslim theoligan Shibli Nomani. Around 1883Mr. Nomani, inspired by the works of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan of Aligarh Muslim University, established a college drawing scholars from all parts of Uttar Pradesh (then United Province) and northern India. Allama Shibli Nomani established an academy, now known as Darul Musannefin Shibli Academy, prior to his death in 1914. Darul Musannefin (house of writers) brings out a literary monthly journal in Urdu, Ma'arif.
Azamgarh is well connected to other parts of the state, and the recent launch of direct train connections with Bombay and Delhi (Mumbai and Delhi) has made this town more accessible. People of Azamgarh actively participated in various national movements especially in Quit India Movement in 1942.