At the time of European invasion the area belonged to the Caíçimu-Higüey kingdom of Taino Indians under the leadership of the Caciques Cotubanama and Cayacoa, the female Chieftain Higuanama and other leaders male and female. The area, the last on the Island to be conquered by the Spanish was subdued by a Spanish force led by Juan de Esquivel in 1503. The invasion by Esquivel was motivated by an attack by the Indians led by Cotubanama on 8 Spanish sailors, which was in turn revenge for the killing of the Cacique of Saona, who was killed by a Mastiff that a group of Spaniards set on him for sport as he was loading traded cassava bread on a barge.
Bartolome de Las Casas participated in and later described the massacre of the Indians of Higüey who surrendered after a short but heroic resistance. Men, women and children were disemboweled as animals, had hands and feet cut off accompanied by taunting, or they were hanged or rounded up and knifed to death. In 1519 the Indian population of the Higuey region was enslaved and numbered only 1,189 individuals.
Later, by Royal Privilege attended to from Sevilla December 7, 1508 was granted him to this village the Coat of Arms. During the Spanish colonial period, Higüey remained a Parish of the party of El Seibo. Then in 1801, due to the territorial partition carried out by Toussaint-Louverture during his control of the Spanish part of the island, it became a district of the department of the Ozama.
After the period of the Reconquest, in 1809, when Spain regained control of the oriental part of the island, Higüey was again Parish of the party of El Seibo until 1821. Then in 1822, year in which the Haitian occupation under the command of Boyer occurred, the region again became part of the Department of Ozama. And upon being proclaimed the Republic in the 1844, the Governmental Central Meeting appointed it common of the Province of El Seibo.
A year later, through the Law of Provincial