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Robertsganj was founded in 1872 by British officer Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts. The city is named after him. It was the headquarters of the Sonbhadra district until 1989 when it became a part of Mirzapur district and later on 4 March 1991 it again became a separate district with its headquarter at Sonbhadra town (earlier known as Sonepur). In 2005, this area came under Purvanchal region which comprises five districts: Jaunpur, Varanasi, Chandauli, Mirzapur and Sant Ravidas Nagar. The first settlement in what is now called "Sonbhadra" occurred around 2000 BC during the reign of Raja Sudarshan Sharma; however there are no records to support this claim.