The two units of the district i.e. Lahaul & Spiti, have separate historical backgrounds. In the distant past Lahaul had been changing hands between the rulers of Ladakh and Kulu. In the second half of the seventeenth century with the disintegration of Ladakh kingdom, Lahaul passed into the hands of the Kulu chief. In 1840, Maharaja Ranjit Singh took over Lahaul along with Kulu and ruled over it till 1846 when the area came under the sway of the British. From 1846 to 1940, Lahaul formed part of the Kulu sub-division of Kangra district and was administered through the local jagirdars/thakurs. One of the thakurs was designated as Wizier of Lahaul & was invested with judicial and executive powers. Another thakur was given the powers of a Revenue Officer.
These functionaries exercised traditional as well as other power conferred by the Government. The Assistant Commissioner. Kulu used to visit the area once a year for a month or so. In the late thirties the unprecedented prosperity of the people through growing kuth and their consequent awakening created a formidable challenge to the power and influence of the Wizier of Lahaul, which gradually started declining