Ranaghat Sub-division, at the time of its constitution, during the British Raj, was bounded on the West, by the Hoogly river, on the South by the Barasat subdivision of the erstwhile 24 Pargana district, on the east by the Bongaon subdivision of the erstwhile Jessore district of undivided Bengal, and on the north by the Krishnagar Subdivision. The head-quarters of the subdivision originally used to be at Santipur, but it was transferred to Ranaghat in the year 1863. The subdivision was divided, for police purposes into three thanas, viz., Ranaghat, Santipur, and Chakdaha.
Ranaghat is said to be originally called Ranighat, after the Rani (Queen) of the famous Krishna Chandra, Maharaja of Nadia. However, it is also said to be named after Rana Dakat (Dacoit), and it is one record, that dacoits swarmed the place around 1809, when Mr. Tytler was Magistrate of the place. The town was also the seat of the Pal Chaudhuri family, a family of big merchants, as is referred to by Bishop Herber in his journal.
Santipur is an important town-ship in the sub-division. It can be gathered, that Santipur was in existence at the time of Raja Ganesh, who ruled Bengal in the 12th century. The township has a series of very old constructions; the oldest includes a mosque, called Topakhana, was erected by one Yar Muhammad, during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb. Santipur was constituted as a municipality in the year, 1865, with 24 Commissioners, and an ex-officio, Chairman, in the person of the Subdivisional Officer of Ranaghat.