In the year 1844, a Spanish captain by the name of Manuel Aniceto del Rosario was commissioned by the higher Spanish authorities to establish local government units on the northern part of Cebu starting from what is now known as the town of Compostela as far north as what is presently called the town of Borbon. Compostela was among the early barrios of the Municipality of Danao established by Captain del Rosario. The newly establish barrio was named Compostela upon the suggestion of Father Jose Alonzo, a Roman Catholic friar who, by some historical account, reportedly came from the town of Compostela in Spain and brought along with him the image of the town’s patron saint, Senor Santiago de Apostol, Subsequently thereafter, Father Alonzo was designated as the first parish priest of the newly established barrio of Compostela. Adopting Senor Santiago de Apostol as the parish patron saint, Father Alonzo spearheaded the construction of the parish chapel out of light materials. As the population grew, the Spanish church authorities decided to elevate the chapel into a church so that in the year 1866 the Roman Catholic Church was constructed in the same site replacing the old chapel. Since then up to the present time, the same structure continues to be the major place of worship among the Catholic faithfuls in Compostela.
The early leaders who served as barrio capitanes of Compostela were as follows: Juan Gesulga, Intoy Terrado, Carlos Perales, Felix Kanen, Severino Calo, Arcadio Bantilan, Segundo Gesulga, Bonifacio Librero, Lorenzo Castro, Gregorio Kanen and Mario Castro.At the turn of the 20th Century, the Americans gained control over the Philippines when they defeated the Spaniards in the Battled of Manila Bay. As a consequence, the Treaty of Parish facilitated the reorganization and reclassification of all local government units in the country in accordance with their population and income. The actual reorganization which took place in 1903 resulted in the secession of Compostela to the Municipality of Liloan. In the year 1918, Compostela was finally considered to be converted into a municipality when a special committee headed by Hilario Kanen, thru Cebu Provincial Governor Manuel Roa, made representations to Hon. Sergio Osmena Sr., Speaker of the Philippine Assembly, to sponsor a bill creating the Municipality of Compostela. A year later, on the 17th day of January 1919, Compostela officially became a municipality.
During the Battle of Guila-Guila on March 5, 1943, guerillas and male civilians organized as the soldiers and officers of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine CommonwealthArmy and its subordinate units the several Infantry Regiments, Field Artillery Regiments and many others and supporting of the local troops and officers of the PCA 3rd, 8th, 82nd, 85th, 86th and 87th Infantry Division and the local Cebuano resistance groups fought the Japanese. This battle, commanded by Major Fabian M. Sanchez, resulted in numerous casualties to the Imperial Japanese Army led by GeneralSosaku Suzuki and conservative estimates were ten (10