Mithila first gained prominence after being settled by Indo-Aryan peoples who established the Videha kingdom.
During the late Vedic period (c. 1100–500 BCE), Videha became one of the major political and cultural centers of South Asia, along with Kuru and Pañcāla. The kings of the Videha Kingdom were called Janakas.
The Videha Kingdom was later incorporated into the Vajji Confederacy, which had its capital in the city of Vaishali, which is also in Mithila.
From the 11th century to the 20th century, Mithila was ruled by various indigenous dynasties. The first of these were the Karnatas, the Oiniwar Dynasty who were Maithil Brahmins and the Khandavalas of Raj Darbhanga who were also Maithil Brahmins. It was during this period that the capital of Mithila was shifted to Darbhanga.
Mithila is a distinct geographical region with natural boundaries like rivers and hills. It is largely a flat and fertile alluvial plain criss-crossed by numerous rivers which originate from the Himalayas. Due to the flat plains and fertile land Mithila has a rich variety of biotic resources; however, because of frequent floods people could not take full advantage of these resources.
Maithili language speakers are referred to as Maithils and they are an Indo-Aryanethno-linguistic group. There are an estimated 45 million Maithils in India alone. The vast majority of them are Hindu but there is a small Muslim minority.
Madhubani art (Mithila painting) is practiced in the Mithila region of India and Nepal. It was traditionally created by the women of different communities of the Mithila region. It is named after Madhubani district of Bihar, India which is where it originated. This painting as a form of wall art was practiced widely throughout the region; the more recent development of painting on paper and canvas originated among the villages around Madhubani, and it is these latter developments that may correctly be referred to as Madhubani art.
There is a movement in the Maithili speaking areas of Nepal for a separate province.Province No. 2 was established under the 2015 Constitution, which transformed Nepal into a Federal Democratic Republic, with a total of 7 provinces. Province No. 2 has a substantial Maithili speaking population and consists most of the Maithili speaking areas of Nepal. It has been demanded by some Mithila activists that Province No. 2 be named 'Mithila Province'.
^Thakur, B.; Singh, D.P.; Jha, T. (2007). "The Folk Culture of Mithila". In Thakur, B.; Pomeroy, G.; Cusack, C.; Thakur, S.K. (eds.). City, Society, and Planning. Volume 2: Society. pp. 422–446.[dead link]
^Burkert, C. (2012). "Defining Maithil Identity". In Gellner, D.; Pfaff-Czarnecka, J.; Whelpton, J. (eds.). Nationalism and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom: The Politics and Culture of Contemporary Nepal. London, New York: Routledge. pp. 241–273. ISBN9781136649561. Archived from the original on 20 August 2017.