The first expeditions to the area date from 1670, when religious groups, mostly Jesuits, came from the Pacific Ocean through the Andes range.
Only in 1778 colonizers make their appearance, when by an order of Viceroy Vértiz, Juan de la Piedra and Francisco Biedma are sent to build forts and colonies.
By assignment of the British Immigration Society, L. Jones Parry and Luis Jones are sent to explore the southern territory, and in 1865 the Mimosa brought to Golfo Nuevo the first Welsh colonists who settled in the inferior valley of river Chubut, and in 1891, the first families of these people settled in the valley called 16 de Octubre, in the middle of the cordillera.
Among the primitive owners of the land we can mention three main aboriginal groups: AONIK KENK, GUNUNA KUNE, and ARAUCANIAN.
Among the best known groups rooted in the proximities of Esquel, we will mention Tehuelches, Chulilaken, and Mapuches, ancestors of some of the present settlers of the region.
Esquel originated in the measuring of Colonia 16 de Octubre, its foundation date being 25 February 1906, when the first telegraphic service started being operated by Mr. Medardo Morelli.