The first European Settlers were Jesuits in 1636 when they were granted a seigneury there. Agriculture first appeared in Laval in 1670. In 1675, François de Montmorency-Laval gained control of the seigneury. In 1702 a parish municipality was founded, and dedicated to Saint-François de Sales (not to be confused with the modern-day Saint-François-de-Sales in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean).
The first municipalities on the island were created in 1845, after nearly 200 years of a rural nature. The only built-up area on the island, Sainte-Rose, was incorporated as a village in 1850, and remained as the main community for the remainder of the century. With the dawn of the 20th century came urbanization. Laval-des-Rapides became Laval's first city in 1912, followed by L'Abord-à-Plouffe being granted village status three years later.
Laval-sur-le-Lac was founded in the same year on its tourist-based economy from Montrealers. Laval began to grow throughout the following years, due to its proximity to Montreal that made it an ideal suburb.
To deal with problems caused by urbanization, amalgamations occurred; L'Abord-à-Plouffe amalgamated with Renaud and Saint-Martin creating the city of Chomedey in 1961. The amalgamation turned out to be so successful for the municipalities involved that the Quebec government decided to amalgamate the whole island into a single city of Laval in 1965; however the passage of amalgamation bill was not without controversy.
Laval was named after the first owner of Île Jésus, François de Montmorency-Laval, the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Quebec. At the time, Laval had a population of 170,000. Laval became a Regional County Municipality in 1980. Prior to that, it was the County of Laval.
The 14 municipalities, which existed prior to the incorporation of the amalgamated City of Laval on 6 August 1965, were:
Laval is 68 km (51 min.) from St. Hyacinthe and 267 km (2 hrs. 45 min.) from Quebec City.