This part of the island had been inhabited for thousand years by indigenous peoples. Spanish explorer Diego Velazquez de cuella and co-founder Vasco Nunez de Balboa lived there for several years trying to raise pigs as a business. Balboa gave up that enterprise and left the town hiding in a barrel of a Spanish expedition. The area was uninhabited until the French colonial administration founded the town of aux cayes, so named due to the proximity with Ile a vache. The town was destroyed by hurricanes in 1780 and 1788.In 1818, Simon Bolivar came to les Cayes for support to his movement against Spanish colonial government in South America. In January 2010, the Cuban military set up a field hospital in the region.