Rajshahi region was ruled by the Puṭhia Raj family based in the Puṭhia Rajbaɽi. The Mughal Emperor Akbar had given the Rajshahi region to the Puṭhia Raj family to govern, the governor was Pitambar. The Puṭhia family was given the title of Raja by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Rajshahi District was established in 1772. Parts of the districts eventually became Bogura district, Malda district, Natore district, Naogaon district, Nawabganj district, and Pabna district. On 1 April 1876 Rajshahi town was made into municipal town. During the Bangladesh Liberation war in 1971, the town was the site of battles between the Mukti Bahini and Pakistan Army. Pakistan Army fought a battle against the Mukti Bahini on 30 March 1971 which resulted in the death of East Pakistan Rifles member. Between 26 and 30 March, 31 individuals in Godagaɽi upazila were killed by Pakistan Army. On 13 April Pakistan Army killed Rajshahi Cadet College Professor AB Siddiqi. Pakistan Army attacked Tahirpur Haṭ in Bagmara upazila on 24 May and killed 25 people. Mukti Bahini commander Havilder Shafiq led an attack on Pakistan Army boat on 8 August killing 18 Pakistan Army personal. Pakistan Army killed two members of Bangladesh Ansar in a war of attrition. Pakistan Army established a camp in the Zoha Hall of Rajshahi University where they massacred hundreds of civilians. Pakistan Army had also established camps inside Rajshahi Cadet College, Roy Saheb brickfield, Sardaha Pilot School, and Sardah Police Academy. The Pakistan Army tortured members of Mukti Bahini and civilians in the camps. The Pakistan Army also killed hundreds of refugees on the banks of Padma river who were fleeing to India. In a fight between Mukti Bahini and Pakistan Army near Kabasmul, a Pakistan Army major was killed. Pakistan Army retaliated by killing 44 civilians in Gaganbari and Palsa. The Pakistan Army stationed in Pabna and Rajshahi districts surrendered on 18 December 1971, two days after Pakistani forces in Bangladesh signed the Pakistani instrument of Surrender in Dhaka on 16 December 1971. Pakistani military surrendered to Indian Army Captain Nanda in Naṭore. The Pakistan Army camp in Rajshahi University was taken over by Mukti Bahini members 0n 17 December after fighting them. Surrender ceremonies took place on 20 December.
Rajshahi town was upgraded to a Municipal Corporation on 13 August 1987. In 1997 the government of Bangladesh made Rajshahi town into a full city corporation, Rajshahi City Corporation. In 2016 Rezaul Karim Siddiquee, a Professor at University of Rajshahi, and a 65 year old Sufi Preacher, Shahidullah, were killed by Islamic extremists.