The Portuguese established a colony in Goa in 1510 and expanded the colony to its present boundaries during the 17th and 18th centuries. Goa was annexed by India on 19 December 1961. Goa and two other former Portuguese enclaves became the union territory of Goa, Daman and Diu, and Goa was organised into a single district in 1965. On 30 May 1987 Goa attained statehood (while Daman and Diu became a separate union territory), and Goa was reorganised into two districts, North Goa and South Goa.
A spacious district administrative headquarters (Collectorate building) is located on the outskirts of Margao, adjoining the inter-city bus stand. It is named after Mathany Saldanha, a former minister and social activist.
Konkani is the mother tongue of a majority of the people living in South Goa district. Marathi is spoken by a substantial number of people. English and Hindi are understood by a majority of the population. Portuguese is also spoken and understood by a small number of people. Kannada, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayam and other languages are spoken by the people whose mothertongue consists of these languages.