The history of the Khabarovsk krai goes back to the first explorers of Priokhotye and Priamurye. The development of the Far East territories began from their campaigns. The first settlements of Russian people have arisen at the Okhotsk coast in the first half of the 17th century. Campaigns of V.D.Pojarkov's (1643-1646 years) and E.P.Habarov (1649-1653 years) have begun joining of the left bank of Priamurye to Russia, settling of extensive, practically lonely territories. However process of development of the krai was interrupted by military actions of Zinskaya empire. Russia had no opportunities to transfer to Priamurye large military forces and Nerchin agreement was signed (1689). According to it Russians left the left-bank of Priamurye for almost one and a half centuries. Development of the Okhotsk sea coast however proceeded. In the 17th century Okhotsk was the main Pacific port of the country. Vigorous steps on returning Priamurye to Russia were accepted in the middle of the 19th century. The Governor-general of Eastern Siberia N.N.Murav'ev and G.I.Nevelskoj who has based in 1850 a military post in a mouth of the Amur river (Nikolaevsk-on-Amur) have played an outstanding role in it. In 1858 under the agreement in Aigun city all left-bank of Priamurye is recognized as a possession of Russia.
The first independent administrative-territorial formation including territory of the krai, was the Primorskaya area with the center in Nikolaevsk-on-Amur. It was created in 1856. In 1858 Khabarovsk (originally - Khabarovka settlement) was established. It received the status of the city in 1893.
Proving the necessity of establishing the post near the mouth of Ussuri G.I. Nevelskoj wrote to the general - governor of Eastern Siberia N.N.Murav'ev-Amurski on the eve of the first Amur alloy in 1854:
«Ussury estuary is the center where we shall start the ways, supported by farm settlements, to main territories, such as the Zabaikalskiy region, the Amur estuary and the harbors situated at the shores of the region." On the eve of the first Amur floating Nevelskoj predicted the position of the future town as a geographic "capital" of the Far East. "Nowadays this post should become the starting point for communication with the harbor, chosen in the South, as well as for the research of Ussury and low Amur basins".
In 1860 new area - Amurskaya with the center in Blagoveshchensk was established. In 1880 the bodies were transferred to Khabarovka with simultaneous formation of the Khabarovsk district in the structure of the area. In 1884 it was formed Priamurskoyr general - governorship with a residence in Khabarovsk which structure included Amurskaya, Primorskaya and Transbaikalskaya areas. In 1909 the Primorskaya area was divided into 3 areas: Sakhalinskaya Kamchatskaya and Primorskaya (the centre - Vladivostok). The structure of it included the Khabarovsk district. In 1920 from the Primorskaya area it is allocated new Priamurskaya area with the center in Khabarovsk, then transformed into the province, that was included in Far Eastern republic.
In 1922 Far Eastern Republic (FER) was abolished, and in its territory it was established the Far Eastern area with the center in Chita, and since 1924 - in Khabarovsk is formed. Into its structure entered Amurskaya, Transbaikalskaya, Kamchatskaya, Priamurskaya, Primorskaya (with northern part of Sakhalin island) provinces and a right-of-way of Chinese East railway (CER).
Provinces existed on the Far East for only three years. The division of the Far East into districts carried out in 1926 and replaced provinces with district system.
In 1926 by the order of Presidium of All-Russian Central executive committee on the territory of the Far East area formed the Far Eastern krai with the center in Khabarovsk, it included Amurski, Vladivostokski, Zeiski, Kamchatski, Nikolaevski, Sakhalinski, Sretenski, Khabarovski, Chitinski districts.
On the 20th of October, 1938 the Far Eastern krai was divided to Khabarovsk and Primorski krais. The structure of the Khabarovsk krai included Amurskaya, Jewish, Nizhne-Amurskaya, Kamchatskaya, Sakhalinskaya areas, Chukotski and Koryakski national districts, areas of the river Kolyma. In 1947 from the Khabarovsk krai Sakhalinskaya area, and in 1948 - Amurskaya area were allocated. In 1953 from the areas of the Kolyma river an independent Magadan area with Chukotski national district were formed, in 1956 the Kamchatskaya area became independent. Then the Nizhne-Amurskaya area was abolished, and areas entering into its structure went in direct submission of the Khabarovsk krai. From 1991 the Jewish autonomous region became an independent subject of the Russian Federation.
At present Khabarovsk krai includes 236 municipal formations: 29 urban settlements, 188 rural settlements, two urban districts (Khabarovsk and Komsomolsk-on-Amur), 17 municipal regions.