First historic mentions about Chrzanów come from the 13th century. Chrzanów and its castellans were mentioned in documents from this period. According to the most probable hypothesis, the Chrzanów Castellany was started in the year 1228. However, this cannot be documented. The information about the beginnings of the town are also scarce. The exact date is not known, but it is certain that Chrzanów received municipal rights in the 14th century. The oldest recording about the town comes from municipal book dated 1408. For a long time Chrzanów was a private town. Its Owners were the Ligęzowie family from Bobrek. They improved the organization of the city, particularly in the sphere of trade of led ore and cattle. In 1641 Dębińscy came into the possession of the town and 13 years later it charged owership to the Grudziński family. The period of the Swedish deluge is the time of the fall of the town. The revival of Chrzanów followed in the year 1740, along with the new owner of the city Joseph Ossoliński.
From 1798 until 1809 Chrzanów was a part of the Olkusz District in the western part of Austrian Galicia . From 1809 until 1815 it was a part of the Warsaw Principality. Later it belonged to the Cracow’s Republic and since 1846 it became a part of Austrian Galice . The present coat of arms of the city comes from this time. The following owners changed: from 1804 until 1822 it was Prince Albert Kazimierz and from 1822 until 1826 Chrzanów belongs Archduke Karol Ludwik Habsburg based on the testament from 1816. Between 1826 and 1856 the owners were the Mieroszewski family, and from 1856 the partnership of Wrocław’s merchants. One of them, Loewenfeld, and afterwards his descendants, ruled the city until 1939. Most of the inhabitants took part in the struggle for independence. They fought in ranks of armies under the command of Tadeusz Kościuszko, Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, the armies of the Congress Kingdom, in November (1831) and Cracow (1846) uprisings. The well-known heroes of the uprisings were commander Józef Paterski and Antoni Lewicki. During the January uprising the National Committee, a hospital and dressing-stations functioned in the town.
The dynamic development of the town was aided by the rich resources of ores, and by modernising the ways of mining coal and its transportation. In 1847 the railway junction between Oświęcim and Trzebinia was started. Five years later, a new mine of zinc ores and lead „Matilda” was opened. In 1818 the Senate of Cracow founded large factories of broadcloth. The District of Chrzanów was created at the turn of 1853 and 1854. Its western borders were demarcated by the Przemsza river, the south one by Vistula and the north border was at the same time the border of Galicia and the Congress Kingdom. The eastern border with the administrative district of Cracow was situated to the east of Krzeszowice and Rudawa. The area of the administrative district covered 721 km2.
The beginning of the last age is the time of strong industrial development of the region. The greatest factories began then, among them : the first Factory of Engines in Poland and the Factory “Stella” producing fire-proof ceramic materials. Apart from that, 380 other firms and 400 business companies existed in the town. In 1923 Chrzanów Teachers Training College came into being. Between 1929 and 1933, the district hospital of Joseph Piłsudski was built. Chrzanów was occupied by the Germans since the fourth day of World War II. In November 1939 it was merged with Upper Silesia and consequently joined the Reich. The war time was especially tragic for the Jewish population. In 1940, the ghetto was created in the town which was closed down after three years and prisoners were transported to the concentration camp in nearby Auschwitz. In spite the danger on the part of the occupier the Resistance developed strongly. Home Army and the People′s Army emerged. Sabotage and diversionary operations were organized. On January 24th 1945 Chrzanów became liberated by the armies of the Second Ukrainian Front. The destructions of the buildings were not large, but the number of inhabitants lessened by a half, mostly due to extermination of the Jewish citizens. After the war, numerous industrial plants, communal companies and housing estates were started together with cultural and educational units.
The city possessing the district status was the center of Chrzanów’s terrain, strongly connected with Cracow. The administrative reform of 1975 eliminated the district of Chrzanów. Its terrain was divided . Chrzanów, Trzebinia, Jaworzno and Libiąż were then in the Katowice Province, Krzeszowice remained in the Cracow Province, and Chełmek became a part of the Bielsko-Biała Province. At the beginning of the eighties of the dissatisfaction from dividing the administrative district and joining it to Katowice Province appeared. On the base of the new administrative reform which came into force on 1st of January 1999, the administrative district of Chrzanów was created and became a part of Małopolska Province. However the area of the district was reduced almost by a half. From its territory some was cut out and the administrative district of Jaworzno was created and joined to the Silesian Province. The administrative district now consists of four town-village communes: Alwernia, Chrzanów, Libiąż, Trzebinia and one village commune Babice.