In British India it was in the Central division of Bombay province. The town is of considerable antiquity, having been founded in 1494 by Ahmad Nizam Shah, on the site of a more ancient city, Bhingar. This Ahmad established a new monarchy, which lasted till its overthrow by Shah Jahan in 1636.
In 1759 the Peshwa obtained possession of the place by bribing the Mahommedan commander, and in 1790 it was ceded by the Peshwa to the Mahratta chief Daulat Rao Sindhia.
During the war with the Mahrattas in 1803 Ahmednagar was invested by a British force under General Wellesley and captured. It was afterwards restored to the Mahrattas, but again came into the possession of the British in 1817, according to the terms of the treaty of Poona.
Numerous Mogul-era buildings dot the environs. Ahmednagar fort, once considered the second most unimpregnable fort in India, was used by the British to house Nehru and other Indian Nationalists before Indian independence; a few rooms there have been converted to a museum. The town houses the second-largest display of military tanks in the world; the exhibit is open to the public.
The area is notable for a number of spiritual sites as well. Ahmednagar is in the center of Maharashtra's circle of Ganesha shrines. The samadhi (tomb-shrine) of the spiritual master Meher Baba in nearby Meherabad (Pimpalgaon) is place of pilgrimage, visited by thousands each year, particularly on the anniversary of his death, January 31.