Datia State had formerly been a state in the Bundelkhand region founded in 1626. The ruling family were Rajputs of the Bundela clan; they descended from a younger son of a former raja of Orchha. The state was administered as part of the Bundelkhand Agency of Central India. It lay in the extreme north-west of Bundelkhand, near Gwalior, and was surrounded on all sides by other princely states of Central India, except on the east where it bordered upon the United Provinces.
It was second highest in the rank of all the Bundela states after Orchha, with a 17-gun salute, and its Maharajas bore the hereditary title of Second of the Princes of Bundelkhand. The land area of the state was 2130 mi² its population in 1901 was 53,759. It enjoyed an estimated revenue of £2,00,000. The state suffered from famine in 1896-97, and again to a lesser extent in 1899-1900.