The town of Szamotuły came to be thanks to an early medieval gord (fortress) named Osówka jst south of the present-day town of Szamotuły. Szamotuły began as a trading village on the right bank of the Sama River. The first known mention of the town comes from 1231. Szamotuły was granted town privileges sometime between 1394 and 1398. The town was the property of the Szamotulski family and remained so from the 15th to the 17th centuries, during which time the town grew into a prosperous center of craft and trade, well-known cloth manufacturing and its town fairs.

Szamotuły was one of the main centers of the Reformation in Greater Poland, with much activity of the Unitas Fratrum and Lutherans. In 1551 a Protestant school was established in the town, and in 1558 Ł. Górka established a printing press that printed protestant books in Polish and Czech until 1569. The town was destroyed during the Swedish invasions of the 17th century.

Szamotuły fell within the Prussian Partition of Poland from 1793 until 1918 (1807-15 in the Duchy of Warsaw). In the 19th century it was a town of trade, craft, and agriculture. It was home to a significant nationalist center Kasyno Obywatelskie. In 1848 the town gained its own railway line. The turn of the 19th and 20th centuries brought the processing industry to Szamotuły. It was an important center of the Greater Poland Uprising of 1918-1919. During German occupation from 1939 to 1945 it was incorporated into the Third Reich and its inhabitants displaced to the General Government.

Szamotuły served as a county capital from 1815 until 1975 and again from 1999 until the present. It is also known as the birthplace of Polish Composer Wacław of Szamotuł in approximately 1524.

This entry has been prepared based on PWN source materials.