Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley, together with Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental and Davao del Sur used to be a whole province simply known as Davao. This original province was split into three: Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, and Davao del Sur when Republic Act No. 4867 (authored by Representative Lorenzo S. Sarmiento, Sr.) was signed into law on May 8, 1967 by President Ferdinand Marcos.
Davao del Norte originally comprised thirteen municipalities: Asuncion, Babak (now in Samal City), Compostela, Kapalong, Mabini, Mawab, Monkayo, Nabunturan, Panabo, Pantukan, Samal, Santo Tomas and Tagum. On May 6, 1970, six more municipalities were created: Carmen, Kaputian (now in Samal City), Maco, Montevista, New Bataan, and New Corella.
The passage of Republic Act No. 6430 on June 17, 1972 changed the name of the province from Davao del Norte to Davao.
By 1996, Davao had a total of twenty-two municipalities with the creation of San Vicente (now Laak) in 1979, Maragusan in 1988, and Talaingod in 1991.
On January 31, 1998, President Fidel V. Ramos signed Republic Act No. 8470, which split the province into two, creating the province of Compostela Valley. In the meantime, Davao was renamed back to Davao del Norte. Together with the creation of the new province, two cities and one municipality were created: the municipality of Tagum, capital of Davao del Norte, was converted into a city (R.A. 8472); Samal, Babak, and Kaputian were joined into the city of Samal (R.A. 8471); and the municipality of Braulio E. Dujali was created out of several barangays in Panabo and Carmen (R.A. 8473). The province then had 8 municipalities and 2 cities.
Republic Act No. 9015, signed into law on March 5, 2001 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, converted the municipality of Panabo into a city. Republic Act No. 9265, approved on March 15, 2004 created the municipality of San Isidro from Asuncion and Kapalong.