Before the arrival of the Han Chinese, the Hsinchu area was home to Taokas plains aborigines, the Saisiyat, and the Atayal. After the Spanish occupied northern Taiwan,
Catholic missionaries arrived at Tek-kham in 1626. Minnanese (Hoklo) and Hakka came and began to cultivate the land from the plains near the sea towards the river valleys and hills.
In 1684, Zhuluo County was established during Qing Dynasty rule and more Han settled near Tek-kham. A Chinese city was established there in 1711 and renamed Hsinchu in 1875. It became part of Taipeh Prefecture. In the late 19th century, Hoklo people dominated the coastal plain area, forcing the Saisiyat and Atayal tribes to move to areas around Jianshi and Wufeng, while the Hakka and Taokas settled together in the river valleys and hills area.
Japanese occupation of Taiwan began after the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895. Hsinchu became known as Shinchiku and, by 1920, its prefecture covered the areas of modern-day Hsinchu County and City, Miaoli, and Taoyuan.
Republic of China
After the handover of Taiwan from Japan to the Republic of China in 1945, Hsinchu County was established on 25 December 1945.
The county's Xiangshan Township was incorporated into Hsinchu City on 1 July 1982.