The area around the Kameng River has traditionally come under the control of the Mon kingdom, Bhutan, Tibet and the Ahom kingdom. Lamaism got a strong foothold among the tribal groups as early as in the 7th century, where the Kachen Lama constructed the Lhagyala Gompa at Morshing. The name of the district is derived from the Kameng River, a tributary of Brahmaputra that flows through this district. By a Government of India ‘Notification of 1914,’ the area covered by this district, became a part of the ‘Western Section’ of the ‘North East Frontier Tract’ to which the entry of the British subject was regulated by an ‘Inner Line’.
Like other parts of North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), it was also under the ‘Ministry of External Affairs’ and over all in-charge of the district was a ‘Political Officer,’ later on Kameng Frontier Division was renamed as ‘Kameng District’ and the Political Officer was re-designated as ‘Deputy Commissioner’. However, due to political reasons, the Kameng district was bifurcated between East Kameng and West Kameng on the June 1, 1980. East Kameng District was formed, covering the area of the Seppa subdivision. The Tawang district, which initially belonged to part of the district, was separated on the October 6, 1984.
Small, feudal chiefdoms ruled by the Monpa and the Sherdukpen kings exerted control over the area from time to time. The evidence can be witnessed in the fact that ruined fortresses like those in Bhalukpong (10th to 12th century )and the Dirang fort( 17th century ) were constructed to defend against invasions from neighbouring chiefdoms.
Upon the arrival of the British, the entire area became what was known as the North-East Frontier Agency. It was again renamed as the Balipara Frontier tract in 1919, with its headquarters at Charduar in Assam. In 1946, the district area was carved out of the Balipara, with the name Sela Sub-Agency and its headquarters continued to be Charduar in Assam. Following the independence of India ,in 1954, Sela Sub-Agency was renamed as the ‘Kameng Frontier Division’ and it’s headquarter was later shifted to Bomdila.
With the invasion of Tibet in 1950, the influx of ‘Tibetan Refugees’ began in the area. Furthermore, with the invasion of the Chinese troops into this area, many historical monuments were either destroyed or defaced.
The Kameng Frontier Division was renamed as the Kameng District. The Political Officer was also re-designated as the Deputy Commissioner of Kameng.