Tiruvallur was originally known as Tiruvallur which specifies the sleeping position of the holy lord "Balaji", in the Veeraragava temple of Tiruvallur. Later people began to refer it by names such as Trivellore and Tiruvallur. Today Tiruvallur is well known, one of the reason being the Veeraragava Temple. The new moon day is very auspicious day for the lord and so for the people of the town.
The district of Tiruvallur has been carved out by bifurcating erstwhile Chengalpattu district (which was renamed as Chengalpattu-MGR/Kancheepuram at the time of 1991 Census). According to the said bifurcation Tiruvallur revenue division which included Tiruvallur, Tiruttani taluks and Uthukkottai and Pallipattu sub-taluks separated from Chengalpattu district along with Ponneri and Gummindipoondi taluks of Saidapet revenue division and formed this new district. At present this district is comprised of nine taluks namely Ambattur, Gummindipoondi, Ponneri, Uthukkottai, Tiruvallur, Poonamallee, Tiruttani, Pallipattu and Madhavaram.
In the far past, this region was under a chain of regimes commencing from the Pallavas during the 7th century ending with the Nawab of Arcot during the early part of 19th century when it came under the British rule. In 1687, the Golkonda rulers were defeated and the region came under the Moghul emperors of Delhi. The towns and villages of this region were the scene of Carnatic wars. Battles are said to have been fought in this region during the struggle for supremacy between the English and French. The town of Pulicat was the earliest Dutch possession in India founded in 1609 which was ceded to the British in 1825. With this, the region came under the British rule which ended on the 15th August, 1947 with India becoming independent.