According to Augustinian maps of 1831 and 1834, Santa was founded in 1576. The Augustinian established missionary centers in the towns of Vigan in 1575 and Santa in 1576. On the founding of Bantay in 1591 as a pueblo, Santa was made its “visita” until 1713 when it became an independent vicariate. The prestige of the town was boosted in 1802 when the provisional diocese was established and was housed in the rectory of Santa until 1834.
The “Malong Revolt” disturbed the quiet life of the town in 1660-1661 when Andres Malong of Binalatongan rose in arms to protest the abuses in the collection of tribute and in the conscription of men for “palo y servicios”. Malong proclaimed himself “King of Pangasinan” and tried to extend his kingdom by sending his Count Pedro Gumapos in Ilocos.
Gumapos pursued the retreating Spaniards who sought refuge in Agoo (in present-day La Union). The Spaniards and the loyalists made their last stand in Pideg, Santa, Ilocos Sur. Pedro de la Peña, who was defending Pideg Pass, sheltered the great number of the rebels who camped in Narvacan and offered them free passage across Pideg Pass.
On December 14, 1762, Diego Silang led the “caillianes” (common man or townsfolk) in the most obstinate insurrection against the Spaniards in the 18th century. He crystallized the discontent of the “caillianes” caused by the imposition of tribute and forced labor. He proclaimed a “Free Ilocos” and made Vigan its capital.
When the Spaniards failed to stop Diego Silang in combat, Miguel Vicos, aided by Pedro Becbec, betrayed Diego Silang by murdering him. Gabriela, the wife of Diego Silang, with the help of her uncle, Nicolas Cariño, continued her husband’s fight, and defeated the Spaniards and their loyalist soldiers in the battle of Banaoang, Santa on August 24, 1763.
Disasters and calamities occurred in Santa. A destructive flood called “Layos Bungsot” (literal: “Flood of Rotting”) of 1852 eroded the first poblacion founded in 1576 and caused the town center to be transferred to a new site, which is about four (4) kilometers south of the first site. Fr. Pedro Torrices started the new church in 1849-1855 and Fr. Luis Lagar finished it in 1875.
In 1905, another destructive flood, “Layos Nawnaw” (literal: “Dissolving Flood”) motivated the people to transfer the poblacion to Pasungol in the southern part of the town in 1907.
Don Domingo Bueno y Ramirez, the Presidente Municipal, transferred the new government and the new poblacion was laid out. Circumferential roads were constructed. A hermita, made of bamboo and cogon, was put up and a one-storey primary school building was laid out.
On December 19, 1941, the Japanese soldiers landed in Santa. The people fled to the mountains where they suffered from privations, hunger and diseases. The Japanese soldiers held a garrison at the south of Quirino Bridge and massacred seventy (70) civilians in Barrio Rizal on January 26, 1954.
On 1945, local Filipino forces under the Philippine Commonwealth Army 1st and 12th Infantry Division, Philippine Constabulary 1st Infantry Regiment and the USAFIP-NL 121st Infantry Regiment liberated the town of Santa from the Japanese Imperial forces.
These turn of events, no matter how depressing and destructive they were, brought back the residents together to restore the present site of the local government.