Present day Plateau State was originally part of the Kwararafa Kingdom, one of the seven states of the Hausa Bakwai. Scholars have noted the close linguistic affinity the original settlers of the region, once known as the Kasashen-Bauchi - have with the Jukuns, founders of Kwararafa. The Kasashen-Bauchi was separated from Kwararafa when the latter kingdom disintegrated around the eighteenth century. Usman dan Fodio brought the kingdom under the Sokoto Caliphate and appointed Yakubu, an indigene of Bauchi to administer it as the first emir. The British colonialists eventually merged Kasashen-Bauchi into Bauchi Province. The Hausas who had settled on the plateau founded the settlement of Jos at the advent of tin mining in the region.
In 1926, Plateau Province (made up of the Jos and Pankshin Divisions) was carved out of Bauchi. It was part of the Northern Region in the three-region structure of 1954. In May 1967,Benue and Plateau Provinces were merged to form Benue-Plateau State during the military administration of General Yakubu Gowon. At this time, Nigeria had twelve states. In 1976, following the creation of nineteen states out of the existing twelve, Plateau State was carved out of Benue-Plateau, covering the area of the original Plateau Province. In 1996, Plateau State was divided to create Nasarawa State by General Sani Abacha's military regime.
The state has over forty ethno-linguistic groups. Some of the indigenous tribes in the state are the Berom, Amo, Anaguta, Gashish, Kofyar (comprising Doemak, Kwalla, and Mernyang), Miango, Talet and Fulani-Kanuri in Wase. Christianity is the main religion in Plateau State, although a significant number of its inhabitants are Muslims.